Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra

Homily by Meredith Ward
December 6, 2018
As we enter this season of Advent, these days of preparation and expectation, it is good to make time, as best we can in the midst of our busy-ness, to open our hearts to that true spirit of love and giving that is at the heart of the Christmas story – so that, as we race around buying gifts for family and friends (and maybe even ourselves) that our gift-giving feels less like a transaction and more like, well, like a gift!
Reflecting on the life of St. Nicholas, whose feast we celebrate today, is an opportunity to do that, to reclaim that spirit of gift-giving that our hearts yearn for. Because Nicholas dedicated his life not to acquiring things, but to giving them away.
Nicholas served as Bishop of Myra – a town in present-day Turkey – during the 4th century persecution of Christians, and in his role as bishop, he spoke out to those in power, demanding that they release the innocent from prison. Nicholas himself was caught up in the persecution, and was imprisoned and tortured because of his beliefs.
Probably the best-known story about Nicholas involves a poor man and his three unmarried daughters. The father didn’t have enough money to provide the girls with dowries, which meant they couldn’t marry and would likely end up as prostitutes. Nicholas walked past their house on three successive nights and each night threw a bag of gold through the window, providing dowries for the daughters and saving

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