The Profound Generosity of John the Baptist and St. Nicholas
(Posted December 3, 2020)
“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.” ― St. Nicholas of Myra
(This Sunday we’re starting up Bible Magic with Mr. Gary, and it’s not too soon for his magic lesson to feature Santa Claus, as you will see by reading on. Also, the Bible Magic will happen this Sunday just before the rest of the service begins, so if you have the shorter version of young Christians around, they can watch at the beginning.)
John the Bapist and St. Nicholas
It’s really not such an odd coincidence that this Second Sunday of Advent with its story of the “wild man” John the Baptist falls on the very feast day of St. Nicholas – the patron saint of small children and of generosity. Both men took risks. Both men dressed a little, let us say, uniquely. No one could miss John with his camel skins and wild beard, eating locusts in the wilderness. And no one these days could possibly mistake the modern day version of St Nicholas, AKA Sinter Klaus in Dutch, AKA Santa Claus.
Church Services on Sunday
Sunday services are presented online via Zoom on Sundays at 10 a.m. To join, open this link.
You may also view our services on our Facebook Channel. The livestream will begin at 10 a.m. Replays will be available immediately following the service. Go to www.FaceBook.com/DanburyChurch/Videos.
Yes, Nicholas is a Catholic saint who lived in the 4th century, but even after the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church, Nicholas is one blessed figure that we Protestants continue to enjoy and honor –- especially in Holland. Unlike John’s scruffy beard, no one could mistake his snowy beard for anyone else. Unlike John, over the years St. Nicholas has turned into a rotund, well-fed fellow who’s consumed a Christmas cookie or two.
Paying the Ransom
But the biggest thing that both of them share in common is their profound generosity. Nicholas, although a bishop, sold all that he had and traveled the land, literally ransoming poor people from their fates. He came upon two young women who were to be sold into sexual slavery because they could not find husbands, and paid to set them free. Then Nicholas came upon two men who were to be executed because they could not pay the bribe to get out of jail, but Nicholas paid it. And all along his journey he gave little gifts to children. Along the same vein, John the Baptist was there, standing in the Jordan, and offering to ransom men and women from their sins through the free-flowing waters of Baptism. This one sacrament is the gift we first give infants and children in their entry into the Body of Christ.
So come join us online at 10 a.m. to hear the rest of the Gospel stories, and the fascinating way that Nicholas became the “saint of New York City.” Remember to have your own Communion elements ready, even if they may be Christmas cookies and egg nog!