As the son of wealthy parents, Nicholas had never known such need himself. But he knew the needy, and he helped them. He knew that it was immoral to ignore their plight. He had the means to help, and did. In this case, under the cover of darkness, having assembled small bags of money (in large amounts), he made his way into their neighborhood and tossed the bundles through an open window in their house, praying that the gift would be sufficient to prevent such a sin. Thank God, it was. Overjoyed by such grace, Nicholas repeated his secret efforts twice more for the same family and saved them from destruction. Later, in his generosity, he even rescued a city plagued by famine. Saint Nicholas (Feast day December 6) was Archbishop of Myra (Asia Minor) in the 4th century.
We all have so much to give—but we forget that it is not actually ours. Everything we have is given to us by God to be used by us to show the love of God to those who truly need it. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it [clothed the naked, fed the hungry, visited the sick and imprisoned, etc.] to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40ff). Jesus didn’t give new chariots to people or even grant them new clothing. Rather, he gave them health, healing, hope, and salvation—and in the end, he gave his life for them, for us. This is our calling.
St. Nicholas was an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. He quietly and humbly lived the Gospel, and did so without desire for or requirement of public thanks or recognition. He gave because, in his abundance he knew his responsibility as a human being to help the helpless and to give hope to the hopeless. Our call is no different. So, let’s ask a new question this year. Instead of “what do you want for Christmas?” let’s ask, “Who has needs this Christmas whom we can help?” And having asked the question, let our giving be, like St. Nicholas’, quiet, anonymous, given to the glory of God, than all may see these good works, and give glory to God in heaven.
“Fr. John Parker”