Kindly Old St. Nicholas, And Points Of Light *Weekend Open Thread*


Thank heavens for this season in which we find ourselves, the second week of Advent, the eve of Hanukkah, and with Christmas not far away. After this past week of yet another radical Islamic attack on our shores, with our “esteemed” leader continuing his denial (I know, I know – just call him Cleopatra), and thinking we are buying what he is selling, a break is surely what I need. I trust you could use one, too. And since there has been such an attack on religious people – by the media, no less – this seems to be an appropriate topic for this weekend.

And not just because of the assault upon the Faithful. Because this Sunday is the day the passing of St. Nicholas is celebrated. Thanks to this good piece in The Federalist by Holly Scheer, we can examine the man, the myth, the legend:

The beginnings of the story of Saint Nicholas go back to the fourth century AD. Much of what we know about St. Nicholas is a blend of history, tradition, and myth. We know that he lived in Myra, Lycia, in what is now Turkey and that he died in 343. He was a bishop at the end of his life. During his time as bishop, he was widely regarded as generous, interested in helping the poor, and a staunch defender of Christian doctrine about the Trinity.

From Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus

Many Christians are familiar with the Nicene Creed. This set of belief statements date back to 325 AD, making it one of the oldest creeds in Christianity—and it was signed by Bishop Nicholas of Myra. At the Council of Nicea, while discussing what should be included in the creed, tradition holds that he argued with the heretical Arius over nature of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, Jesus. In some accounts, this became so contentious Nicholas struck Arius, and not with a candy cane. For this offense, he was removed from the proceedings until some of the other bishops present had dreams that he should be reinstated.

The most popular tradition about Saint Nick is that he gave a poor family money secretly at night. He did this three times for this family so they had dowries for three daughters to marry well and escape the hardships of poverty. Other generalized tales of his willingness to help the poor and disadvantaged are abundant, despite sometimes being short on concrete details.

It may seem strange that a former monk and bishop became the basis for the jolly gift-giving man we now describe as Santa, but many of our modern traditions have elements of the life and early stories of Saint Nicholas. Leaving stockings on the mantel to be filled in the dead of night ties back to the dowries for the three girls in Myra. According to some versions of the story, the bishop tossed a bag of coins into the home, and it landed in one of the daughters’ stockings.

It is amazing to consider just how these traditions like stockings hung on the mantel got started, isn’t it? Especially ones that go back over 1,600 years? Wow, that is just mind boggling. And pretty neat, if you ask me.

Scheer continues:

While traditions for honoring the life and kindness of Nicholas vary across the world, observing December 6 as the anniversary of his death is a long-standing and widely kept global tradition. It is from these traditions that Saint Nick—and later Santa—came to America. Commemorating Saint Nicholas remained particularly important for Dutch and German Christians. From these immigrants’ traditional pronunciations of Saint Nicholas came the American name for Santa Claus. A poem in 1823 helped shift the idea from a saint leaving chocolate coins in shoes on the anniversary of his death to the Christmas Eve gift-giver most of us know today.

The image of Santa has changed a lot since his first introductions. By the 1920s, his image was standardized to the jolly older man in a red suit, riding in a sleigh to deliver gifts to good little boys and girls. He is no longer most commonly remembered as a serious saint who angrily slapped a heretic over false teachings. Nor is the first image of Santa Claus for most people a church father quietly helping the poor.

It’s Okay to Celebrate Santa

Behind the cheery Christmas carols, movies, and greeting cards, does the modern Santa hold any value for observant Christians? Does setting up the idea of a mythical man in the remote North Pole, busy with elves making presents and watching over behavior, have a place in the lives of our children?

I say yes.

This holiday tradition is not going away culturally, and for good reason. Behind the elves, reindeer, flowing white beard, and red suit lie messages about faith and redemption. The story of Santa is one of generosity and blessing. It encourages children to wish and hope for things that normally are totally out of reach. Santa also helps provide a reason to consider how they treat others.[…](Click here to read the rest.)

I concur. I think it is a good thing, too, and for the reasons Scheer mentioned above, and in the conclusion of her interesting piece on Jolly Old St. Nicholas.

How can I not include a song about Santa Claus in this post? That’s right – I must. This is from earlier in the week and the CMA Christmas show. It is one of my favorite groups, and had me smiling from beginning to end:

I hope you like this version from Pentatonix, too. It does set the tone for Christmas coming soon, doesn’t it?

Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday night. How best to celebrate this remembrance of eight nights of light than with a great tune from the Maccabeats, am I right? Here it is:

Such a great group. And I wish a very Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and family.

What’s on your minds today? Are you getting ready for the holidays? Enjoying (!) some wintry weather? Trying to not think about all the craziness going on in the world right now? Whatever it is, feel free to share with us. This is the Weekend Open Thread.


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28 Responses to “Kindly Old St. Nicholas, And Points Of Light *Weekend Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    I promise myself that I will just relax and stop obsessing about politics. Then I read something like the following and that promise goes right out the window.

    D.C. Delegate at Mosque: ‘What Can We Do About Irrationally Negative Views of Islam?’

    D.C.’s delegate to Congress today asked “what can we do about the irrationally negative views of Islam and Muslims that have grown since 9/11” after a prayer service at Northern Virginia mosque Dar Al-Hijrah.

    The Falls Church mosque was home to imam Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born al-Qaeda recruiter whose videos continue to inspire jihadists today. Sept. 11 hijackers Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi attended prayer services at the mosque, as noted in the 9/11 Commission report.

    Besides D.C.’s Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) attended Friday’s prayer service to show solidarity with the local Muslim community.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I COMPLETELY understand, Marge. I was stunned when someone mentioned this on Facebook this morning.

      And not for nothing, but maybe, just MAYBE, there is a reason why a few Americans, as well as a number of Parisians, might hold a less than favorable view of Islamists. Just sayin’.

      This thing from the AG threatening to punish Americans for exercising our First Amendment rights abt Muslims is unbelievably disturbing, not to mention un-Constitutional as HELL.

      What is WRONG with these people???? Why do they continue to appease and kowtow? I just do not get it, Marge, I just don’t, ESPECIALLY after yet another terror attack on our shores! What craziness these Dems have wrought on our nation…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        AG Loretta Lynch is violating her oath of office when she threatens free speech. Evidently she has a much use for the 1st Amendment as for the 2nd. Guess that “so help me God” part doesn’t matter much to people like her either.

        “I (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and
        defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
        foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to
        the same; that I take this obligation freely without any mental
        reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully
        discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Uh, yeah – it apparently means nothing at all anymore. From where I come, your oath is your word, and it is a contract between you and those with whom you made it. To break it or violate it says a LOT abt one’s integrity and character.

          That is to say, seems Lynch is just one more Obamaton, and I resent the hell out of those Reps who voted for her…

          • kenoshamarge Says:

            I resent them too. You may not win a fight but at least let us know you are in the fight!

            My Dad taught me when I was very young that if your word is no good then neither were you. Mom had the fastest bar of ivory soap in the country for lying or cussing. I seldom, if ever got “soaped” for lying. Cussing? Often.

      • lyn Says:

        It’s disgusting that Obama and his minions have no problem hating Republicans, conservatives and gun owners, but you will be prosecuted if you say something bad about Muslims.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Isn’t it amazing?? The top Dem. candidate for POTUS gleefully announces that Republicans are one of her biggest ENEMIES, not Iran, not Russia, not ISIS, Republicans. There is something so, so wrong abt that.

          As is the removal of our free speech. People need to wake the hell up already…

    • mcnorman Says:

      The day that the moderates stand against the radicals is the day that I will take their words seriously.

  3. foxyladi14 Says:

    The “land of the Free”
    Ain’t so free any more. 😡

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    DNC: Anti-Refugee Rhetoric Is Same As Turning Away Jews in 1939

    With the likes of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, and Jan Schovovsky as elected members of their party you have to wonder how even they have the chutzpah to call Sarah Palin stupid.

    Look up stupid in any reliable dictionary and you’ll find DWS and Pelosi looking back at you. Which is a horrible thought.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      NO KIDDING. I assume they began that meme to deflect from how idiotic they are..

      To make that correlation is so wrong on so very many levels, it isn’t even funny. And not for nothing, but I imagine it is hugely insulting to the Jews whose families were fleeing persecution from the Nazis to make that comparison. A more ACCURATE comparison would be the Christians and Yazidis who are being persecuted and killed.

      Wow – I continue to be amazed at how I was a Dem. until 2008. Thank heavens my eyes were finally open…

  5. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Judge Jeanine laid Geraldo out – he deserved it, especially when he sanctimoniously made a comment abt countries like Lebanon, to which she responded, “I’m Lebanese!!” Loved it:

  6. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    No connections to terrorist groups, huh? That was the claim Obama made:

    We are now learning that the wife had a LOT of online connections to terrorist groups in other countries. But one need look no further than Farook’s MOTHER to see from where he got his mindset:

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

    By their “tweets” shall you know them. This one single tweet tells you all you need to know about Howard Dean.

    Howard Dean on Yale controversy: Respecting others is better than free speech

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Why do Dems keep wanting to give up our RIGHTS?? I loved Jake Tapper’s response to him…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        I loved Tapper’s response too. He is mostly still a reporter unlike most of the rest at CNN. I suspect when he’s biased its at the instigation of his bosses. That said, a man of character wouldn’t allow himself to be muzzled.

  8. kenoshamarge Says:

  9. kenoshamarge Says:

    Editorial: Harvard cowed by a word

    OK, so some Harvard students have been griping that the title of “master” for the faculty members in charge of the dormitory complexes that make up the undergraduate “houses” is racist because it echoes the days of slavery. Pampered youth will always embrace a fad, such as the current — albeit wrong-headed — proposition that American colleges are insensitive to race.

    What’s disturbing is that the Harvard authorities, including the 12 masters concerned, agreed with this objection without apparent objection and will introduce a new title.

    Good grief. How will these hothouse flowers fare in the real world?

  10. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This man was a real-life hero during the recent terrorist attack:

  11. kenoshamarge Says:

    Harris-Perry: By Showing Malik in Hijab, NYT Suggesting ‘This Is What Terrorism Looks Like’

    You have to wonder if liberal idiots like Harris-Perry ever listen to what they say. The NYT showed a picture of Malik in a hijab because that’s what she wore you stupid twit. I know it’s difficult to take a woman that wore tampons as earrings seriously but she keeps trying to top her last asinine statement and frequently manages to do it.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      WTH is wrong with these people??? She IS/WAS a terrorist, and tgat us EXACTLY what a terrorist looks like!!!

      Not for nothing, but the American Al-Jazeera editor complained that it was disrespectful for them to not show her in a burqa.

      Seriously, there is something so wrong with these people…

  12. kenoshamarge Says:

  13. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This highlights why Obama’s poor attempts to claim this is not flat out ISIS in America is so flawed:

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