Clinic Day on St. Nicholas Day!
Today is the first Thursday of the month, which is Clinic Day! On first Thursdays I head down to the West Philadelphia Clinic in the late afternoon in order to volunteer as part of the ministry of the Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia. You can learn more about the Clinic here.
It is also Saint Nicholas Day! We all love Saint Nicholas – usually through his alter ego Santa Claus – but we cannot forget that as much as we love the “jolly old elf“, Nicholas was truly a great saint and defender of the Faith. Nicholas was a bishop in the city of Myra (in modern day Turkey) and, in that role, shepherded many people to a love of Christ.
Although Nicholas is remembered for his great generosity, virtue, and love of children – and all of the stories and customs that have developed therefrom – perhaps his greatest contribution to the Faith and the world was not defending the innocent or leaving goodies in stockings but in protecting, defending, and standing firm for Christian orthodoxy. Around the year A.D. 325 Nicholas attended the landmark Council of Nicaea with the world’s other Christian bishops. At that council, Nicholas staunchly defended orthodox Christian teaching regarding christology (i.e.: who Jesus was) and the Holy Trinity (i.e.: the nature of the Godhead). Indeed, Nicholas’ defense was so vigorous that the Emperor briefly imprisoned him. Through divine intervention Nicholas was eventually released and, in part due to Nicholas’ intervention, the Faith was preserved.
So, as we think of Nicholas today and on Christmas, let’s also remember that Nicholas was more than a jolly man in a red suit, but was also a man of firm and true faith in Jesus and defender of the same.
Just as a note of humor to end this post, I did see a pretty humorous Facebook meme about Nicholas which I enjoyed, here it is: