On Tuesday this week we celebrate the feast day of St Nicholas, to whom our church is dedicated.
Nicholas was a fourth century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (southern Turkey). His reputation as a worker of wonders was enhanced by a ninth-century author of his hagiography and he is now best known through these stories. Many of them concern his love and care for children, how he fed the hungry, healed the sick and cared for the oppressed. He saved three girls from a life of prostitution by providing them with dowries and so developed the tradition of bearing gifts to children on his feast day, a practice appropriated by the Christmas celebrations. Nicholas is one of the patron saints of Russia and is also the patron saint of children, sailors, brewers and pawnbrokers amongst other groups.
This is the collect for his feast day:
Almighty father, lover of souls, who chose your servant Nicholas to be a bishop in the church,
that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace:
make us mindful of the needs of others and, as we have received, so teach us also how to give;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
During this season of Advent, one way some people have chosen to be mindful of the needs of others is to create their own reverse Advent calendar. For each day in Advent they are giving one contribution towards their local Foodbank. If any of us choose to do the same it will undoubtedly contribute towards offering those in greatest need in our community a happier time over Christmas.
With every blessing