Jolly old St. Nick: Still persecuted for being christian
If you are looking for typical CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) forensics on the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, read no further. You are not going to get it. Oral tradition is not a scientific resource. Not everything about early Christianity is contained in the New Testament.
Nicholas lived during the fourth century in Myra, Turkey, long before Mohammed existed. Those Christians had another scourge to endure: Diocletian.
As in our times, heresy was rampant in the Church and few stood against it. The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, made it easier for heretics to survive by allowing them to co-exist: if they worshipped him they were free to worship anything else that struck their fancy.
Nicholas was not given to such frivolity. Because he refused to worship the emperor (an early form of statism?) he was arrested and tortured by being flayed from his armpits down until his bones were exposed. The bureaucracy, not wishing to seem too punitive, did not kill its prey, but tortured the dissenters and released them.
Diocletian was succeeded by Constantine, a newly converted Christian. Nicholas lived for many years after his imprisonment and torture, revered as one of the last victims of the Roman persecutions.
Even before he became bishop of Myra, Nicholas was noted for his generosity. He sought out and looked after social rejects: prisoners, captives, mariners and unwed girls. The most famous oral history tells of a man who had lost his fortune and was considering selling his three daughters into prostitution as he could not provide the required dowry. Nicholas, after hearing of this, dropped a bag of gold through an open window, under cover of darkness, to provide for the eldest daughter. He did this for the other two as their time of eligibility arrived. The father discovered Nicholas when he was dropping the gold in an open window for the last daughter.
St. Nicholas had a reputation for miracles as well as great holiness. Another legend tells of his healing 3 lads who had been killed by a butcher.
Today the remains of St. Nicholas are in Bari, Italy, having been removed by its citizens after the Moslems took over Turkey in the eleventh century. It exudes the sweet smell of myrrh and is responsible for prodigies which still attract pilgrims.
Dutch Protestants secularized Saint Nicholas into the Nordic magician who presides over a very materialistic winter solstice celebration. Pagans and materialists are so jealous of this Saint and his devotion to the Christchild that they work assiduously to replace the truth with nonsensical humanistic clap-trap.
The irony is that the spirit of Diocletian is still alive, still persecuting Christians who refuse to worship his successors. As western civilization descends irretrievably into the maelstrom of functional atheism, the beauty, mystery and sacredness of this holy season is obscured by high-priced rubbish, obscene noise, envy and greed promoted by hucksters from hell.
Recently, in a fit of political correctness, the local news presented spokesmen for envious Johnny-come-latelies hawking simultaneous celebrations to compete with Christmas.
Kwanzaa is a bogus creation that should not even be mentioned. It was invented by a criminal-turned-professor by the name of Ron N. Everett , alias Maulana Karenga, and is marketed by his little group of black racists called The Organization US. Now I don’t want to spoil anybody’s fun, but if you want to have a party, have one. Just don’t try to pass off this witch’s brew of disinformation as a traditional African celebration. Mr. Everett has hit a home run with the politically correct, the truth be damned. And the always politically correct USPS has honored this sham with a stamp.
Ramadan has been lumped into the same time frame, complete with gift shopping. Needless to say, a featured website selection is entitled The Myth of the Cross, “documented” arguments against Christianity. Just ignore the fact that Mohammed was not scholar of Christianity and arrived 700 years after the fact. This is brought to you by the same cult that decapitated those in North Africa who refused to convert to Islam and sent the skulls across the Mediterranean to intimidate Christian Europe in the eighth century. So far, there have been no apologies or repudiations from that quarter. Their definition of peace seems to lack something. But they get their own stamp from USPS because we don’t want to offend those who have slaughtered Christians.
Chanukah is an interesting celebration. For years Judaism never recognized the two books of Maccabees. Now they are not only recognized, but Chanukah has become secularized. Like St. Nicholas, Judas Maccabeus refused to worship the gods chosen by the dominant government. (Does anyone wonder how the First Amendment arose?) Now instead of focusing on the victory of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil, many Jewish people find themselves using their holy week to compete with the Christian Christmas. Shop ‘til you drop.
The root words of holiday are holy day. December marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. December 6 marks the date of death of St. Nicholas. But December 25 is the most important feast, commemorating the birth of the Messiah promised to Abraham. What possibly could be more important than that? Why are we here except to honor and serve the King of Kings?
Warm-fuzzies are not the point of the holy days. They are a bonus. Nor is making merchants wealthy. This has replaced the money changers in the Temple. The celebration is that God kept his promise, even though his chosen tribe had been unfaithful to Him. He sent His Son, as promised, but into less-than-royal conditions. When the Messiah said to Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world he infuriated who wished otherwise. His invitation was rejected by the very ones to whom it had been promised.
We have come full circle. The current persecution of Christianity is not a novelty for its members. After two thousand years, what the Messiah taught is still being taught. He never wrote a book, made a movie or made big money. The world knows him and still hates him, as he predicted.
Salvation is at hand, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”