Saturday, December 08, 2012

St. Nicholas Speaks (My 11th Christmas Poem)

St. Nicholas "Lipensky" (Russian icon from Lipnya Church of St. Nicholas in Novgorod): dated 1294


My name is St. Nicholas; and from the 4th century I do hail;
I was Bishop of Myra, on the southwestern coast of Turkey.
I spent time in the Holy Land, and also in Diocletian's jails;
Fought the Arian heretics at Nicaea, but my history is murky.

I was most known for helping the poor, under cover of night;
Dropping gifts down a chimney, landing in stockings drying.
I loved children and sailors: by grace aiding all whom I might;
Once multiplied wheat, to save many in a famine from dying.

My feast day is December 6th: the day I departed this earth;
My relics still exude sweet myrrh-like rose water every year.
Christians around the world celebrate the day with great mirth;
Lots of stories of my life, young and old alike do annually hear.

I was named Nikolaos the Wonderworker due to many prayers
Answered often through my intercession, with miracles as well.
The Dutch called me Sinterklaas, adding on legends by layers;
They say I leave coins in wooden shoes; maybe so: I won't tell!

The tales and fables grew through the centuries, far and wide;
Mostly in the countries where German and English are spoken.
As Christkindl or Kris Kringle: to Jesus' holy name I was tied;
Now I'm often called Santa Claus: in long tradition unbroken.

In America my legend, through Washington Irving and others,
Spread in folklore, "Twas the night before Christmas," and such.
Thomas Nast drew me as a jolly old soul, of all men a brother;
Of reindeer, North Pole, red suits, and elves were heard much.

At length, the fables became so secular, commercial, and obscure
That their initially Christian contents became shallow and hidden.
It's not Santa who sees all and rewards children good and pure;
But God the Father: the source of all graces and gifts we're given.

It's Jesus Who, dying for us, gave life such deep meaning and hope;
I am just His messenger, spreading His gospel of salvation and peace.
Without His sustaining power and love, surely none of us could cope;
This true joy of Christmas, till the end of the world will never cease.


Written on 8 December 2012: the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

[see also the "Protestant" version or Version II on Facebook: with a few theologically "controversial" lines changed]

[my other ten Christmas poems and many other articles are found on my Christmas web page]

 My four children: Christmas 2010


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2 comments:

GUE Grue said...

Brother Dave,

What a cool poem! I love Christmas so much. I had just posted something about Christmas at my Discarded Image Society blog.

http://discardedimagesociety.wordpress.com/?p=178&preview=true

Keep the great posts coming!

Happy Advent!

St. Worm

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks and same back atcha!