Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saint Nicholas Day a day for Social Justice

Today is St. Nicholas' Day. I think it is good on this day to take some time to reflect on generosity, love, care, and giving. But more than that. Today is also a day for reflection upon social justice and helping those in need.

Nicholas is remembered primarily as the protector of children and the poor, those who could not defend themselves and needed a protector. It is little remembered sometimes that St. Nick is not simply a figure who gives gifts to children, but who helps those who are socially marginalized and in real danger of slipping through the cracks.

The most famous story about St. Nicholas tells of his "gift" of gold in the stockings of three daughters. The gift prevented the girls from being sold into slavery! St. Nicholas did not simply bestow trinkets but battled for social justice. Another famous tale informs us that Nicholas raised back to life three abandoned children who had been murdered by an inn keeper. In both cases St. Nicholas comes to aid and protect those who have been abused and neglected.

Let us reflect upon those who suffer from injustice and poverty. Let us call upon the spirit of justice, care, and generosity that St. Nicholas embodied. Let us try to let that spirit live and work in us this holiday season.

Here you can see the Saint himself arrive to greet adoring admirers:

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