It is the second Sunday of Advent
We are almost half way there
It is special this year for Catholics
It falls on the same Sunday as the usual feast day of Saint Nickolas
Advent wins liturgically
But what do these feasts have in common
And what makes them special?
Here is some information about the real Saint Nicholas I found while browsing on the computer:
He was born of Greek descent and he grew up in the village of Patara, outside of Myra.
Nicholas name means ‘People’s victory.
He was one of the youngest bishops ever ordained.
He became Bishop when at just 30
It is a common legend that He put money in the socks of a poor man for the dowry of his 3 daughters when their socks were drying by the fire at night. He did not want to be seen giving the money away.
Yes, to be kind, to give alms is kind, helpful and giving.
His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.
St. Nicholas was buried in a tomb in Myra, Turkey.
Just like Lourdes France, water formed at his tomb that’s believed to have healing powers called the Manna of Saint Nicholas
Dec 19th is his feast day in Orthodox Churches. They use a different calendar for some feasts and holy days.
He is the Patron Saint of Sailors and Children and various other things.
He is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker.
When St. Nick went to visit the Holy Land by ship, it was nearly destroyed by a terrible storm, but he rebuked the waves, causing the storm to subside. Because of this miracle, Nicholas became the patron saint of sailors and travelers.
Another story has St. Nick resurrecting 3 children killed by a butcher who put their pickled remains in a barrel, hoping to eventually sell them off as ham. This is a legend that came to be part of his story as a medieval addition.
And of course, there is the story of St. Nick slapping Arius at the First Council of Nicaea. The scene of Nicholas slapping Arius is celebrated in Eastern Orthodox icons and episodes of Saint Nichola at Nicaea are shown in a series of paintings from the 1660s in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari.
How does this all tie in to the 2nd Sunday Advent?
The first Sunday’s candle lit represented Hope and this week’s candles represents Preparation.
St. Nick was helping to prepare hope in the hearts of others by giving away his earthly possessions, just like Christ gave away his life for us.
St. Nick was helping to prepare hope to the sailors in danger by helping to calm the storm, just like Christ did on the boat with the apostles.
St. Nick was helping to prepare hope to the children cut up by the butcher and brought back to life, like Christ assembles our shattered lives and puts it back together, as he will our bodies at the end of human history.
St. Nick was helping to prepare hope by slapping false doctrine in the face and making room for the truth of Christ in the church.
The second Sunday of Advent couldn’t have fallen on any better Advent Saint then good Ol’ St. Nick.
Let us prepare hope in Christ by giving away ourselves,
Calming the raging storm in people’s lives by kindness and love,
By helping bind the shattered lives of the wounded
And by confronting falsehood with truth.
One of the best movies on the life of St. Nick is presented in Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa
When I taught CCD I used to show it every Advent season. Its worth getting the DVD or you can watch it online at Formed.