“Yeah, right.” Now be careful, I actually heard someone think that. One of the most addictive things about writing is how we connect from mind to mind, and as you read this article’s title, someone’s inner Ebenezer sent me a small dose of sarcasm.
But hear me out, I might not be asking you what you think. And I bet you have more in common with St. Nicholas than you expect. Catholic or not, join me in taking a quick look at Nicholas, before Santa, before Sainthood. Consider the man that lived in the city of Myra (along the southern coast of modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century.
Despite several legends about Nicholas, what fascinates me most is the fact that just by how he chose to live, he inspired his community, the Church and eventually the world to completely change the way Christmas is celebrated.
Now did he set out to do all that? No. He set out to be generous. He set out to help the needy. He used his resources to help others around him, and he got so good at it, that his influence took on a life of its own after his death. Today we still marvel at his example and attempt to emulate it.
At this time of year, my wife and I like to mention St. Nick a lot in our house. It’s important to us that our kids know all the commercialism around Christmas was inspired by a real person. My hope is they realize we all have a little of what Nicholas had in him, and if nurtured, it will surely grow. Generosity is combustible!
You may not have an abundance of resources, but everybody has an ability, or something at their disposal, that could benefit someone near. And you don’t have to be great with kids to see how the vulnerable among us need to be aided, protected. This is what Nicholas did, and this is all within our power, no sainthood required.
I know you’re busy and you’re stressed just like everybody else. But it’s been proven that the quickest way to escape your own burdens is to help someone else. It’s also documented that every time we freely give something to someone else we feel a surge of happiness in our hearts. Like I said, generosity is combustible. You want to ignite your world? Fire up your generosity.
And your efforts do not have to be grand. No kindness is too small to be felt. It is said that people may not remember what you say or do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
This week, Christmas will come and go, and then come around again before you know it. As you rush to and fro, remember it was generosity that initiated this bustle. The opportunity to give and serve with our time, talent and treasure is something we all have in common with Saints like Nicholas, who weren’t yet Saints when they were busy changing the world. Click here to see just one recent, amazing example!
Merry Christmas, friends!
“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
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