“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The person we know as Saint Nicholas (Saint Nick) was born around AD 270 to a wealthy Grecian family. Tragically, his parents died when he was a boy, so he lived with his uncle, who loved him and taught him to follow God. When Nicholas was a young man, legend says that he heard of three sisters who didn’t have a dowry for marriage and would soon be destitute. Wanting to follow Jesus’ teaching about giving to those in need, he took his inheritance and gave each sister a bag of gold coins. Over the years, Nicholas gave the rest of his money away, feeding the poor and caring for others. In the following centuries, Nicholas was honoured for his lavish generosity, and he inspired the character we know as Saint Nick or Santa Claus.
While the glitz and advertising of the season may overshadow our celebrations, the gift-giving tradition connects to Nicholas. And his generosity was based on his devotion to Christ Jesus. Nicholas knew that Christ enacted unimaginable generosity, bringing the most profound gift: God. The Lord Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And He brought us the gift of life. In a world of death, He “save[s] His people from their sins” (v 21).
God has given His Son Jesus authority over all flesh, to give eternal life, “that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). These verses alone demonstrate the Source of powerful prayer and God’everlasting authority over all people, though many reject it. But nothing brings pleasure to God more than when He hears His people pray for others—in His Name.
When we believe on Jesus Christ, sacrificial generosity unfolds. We tend to others’ needs, and we joyfully provide for them as God provides for us. This is Saint Nick’s story; but far more, this is God’s story.
Dear God, I want to be generous, but I do not always feel it. Help me to practise true generosity. For Christ's sake. Amen.