Santa Claus

On  December 6 the Netherlands and churches around the world celebrated Santa Claus, or, to give him his correct name, Saint Nicholas, the 4th c. Bishop of Myra, in today's Turkey. This is  what my book 'Saints of the Isles: a year of feasts' (volume two of The Celtic Prayer Book) says: 'Nicholas was born of wealthy parents who gave much of their wealth to the poor, as did Nicholas. He wanted to help a formerly wealthy man who intended to raise income by selling his daughters into prostituion,  without embarassing him. So he he placed sufficient money for a dowry through a chimney. It fell into a sock which had been left out to dry. That is the origin of our Christmas stocking. Nicholas later embraced a life of solitude and prayer but was pressed to become bishop in Myra. There he opened his home to orphans and to overflowing hospitality. He was imprisoned during a persecution. <p>


Father of orphans, help us to give young people a good start in life and to hear their cries for help.' <p>


On Saturday I took a train to  Newcastle's Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where Archdeacon Geoff Miller led a retreat on Emotional Intelligence for ripened ordained people.  There, modern  Santa Claus's and figures of the original Saint Claus  mingled and merged in a splendid array. The Saint Nicholas Cathedral will shortly hold a Christmas Tree and Naming of Sorrows service.  Instead of dreading Christmas, as many lonely people do, people will be welcomed off  the streets to name people who have died, or  their lost hopes or their fears. These will be named and hung on the tree. The tree will then be surrounded with carols, prayers, love and benedictions. <p>


Santa Claus lives on.


Posted at 01:23am on 6th December 2017
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