Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stockade, St. Nick, and Santa

Today Philip participated in the Honor Ceremony for our Stockade Program at church.  He received a Sentinel Achievement Award for being one of the top stockaders for the fall for completing his achievements such as memorizing scripture verses and things like looking up family genealogies, helping in home improvement projects, and learning some sports skills (modified for what he can handle).   I am so proud of him!

Earlier today Philip wrote about his beliefs in Santa Claus.  Yesterday I had asked him if he wanted to learn about St. Nicholas or the Pope.  He had picked Saint Nicholas.  Also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker, Nicholas grew up in Turkey and was a defender of the Christian faith in the 4th century when Christians were still severely  persecuted by the Romans under Emporer Diocletian.  Nicholas was imprisoned for his faith.  Nicholas was from a wealthy family.  After his parents died, he sold all he had to aid the poor and needy.  He was said to have saved 3 women from one family from a life of slavery or prostitution by throwing 3 bags of gold through the window of their home in the middle of the night.  The money was used to pay the women’s dowry for marriage, which was custom at that time.  Legend has it, the gold was tossed by the shoes that lay by the fire in order to dry.  This is where we get our custom of hanging our stockings by the chimney in which gold coins or oranges (representing gold) were anticipated to be given by St. Nick.  Nicholas later became the Bishop of Myra and participated in the Council of Nicea in 325AD in which much of the Christian faith was codified.  He was a staunch opponent of Arius, who claimed Jesus was not equal to God.  Nicholas was said to have punched Arius in the face in a heated argument.  Nicholas died on December 6 which later became the feast day of St. Nicholas and the original date for giving gifts to the poor in honor of Nicholas who lived his calling of defending the faith and helping the needy.

I asked Philip to write an essay about his belief in St. Nicholas or Santa Claus.  Here is what he wrote:

I believe in Saint Nicholas.  He was a bishop in Turkey.  He attracted some armies.  They arrested him for believing in Jesus.  He attracted notoriety because he argued Jesus was equal to God and punched Arius in the face.  Arius did not believe Jesus was God’s equal.  Nicholas gave his belongings to the poor and needy.  He is a good man to inspire others.  I am a fan of Nicholas.

“What about Santa Claus?” I asked.

Santa is not real.  He is ok.  I am not a believer in him and I am easy to please.  I am so lucky to haven’t had to make Santa a role model.

“Why is that?” I asked.

Because he has to get toys for every boy and girl.

I love Philip’s way of thinking.  So practical and true!

* Photo credits to Heather Hamilton and Paul Gulde.  They were faster than me!


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