Why are there so many Nicks (and other variations)?! Why is St. Nicholas so well loved?!
Most people know that scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the non-Greek parents meet the Greek family. It might be the truest thing from the film. How many “Nicks” are there?
Even in my family, we have five people named “Nick Lionas,” not to mention my mom’s side and all the other Nicks who don’t have the same last name.
The Church is blessed with so many Saints with all kinds of different names, yet there are so many people connected to St. Nicholas and St. Nicholas churches around the country. Why? Who is this Saint that get so much playing time?
Some of us know his story, and some of us know him only as Santa Claus. For me, he’s so much more.
When I was a kid I was told that St. Nick helped some girls get married by secretly giving them money for their wedding, and that he was honest and told the truth at First Ecumenical Council. Yes. very sweet. Very jolly.
It wasn’t until I was in undergrad that I realized how watered down that version of history was. St. Nicholas didn’t just help out a family of daughters so that they could get married, he saved (at least) three women from a life of sex slavery. The sad reality of the situation was that if the father of these women could not provide a dowry, they would be forced to become prostitutes. St. Nicholas battled the sex trade by giving these women freedom. He also did it without desiring any sort of thanks in return.
St. Nicholas stood against things that were wrong and divisive. At the First Ecumenical Council there was a bishop named Arius who claimed that Christ Jesus, as the Son of God was not God as well, and that there was a time when He did not exist. This is false and heresy. However Arius forcefully made his point to the council. The passionate St. Nicholas put an end to the heresy when he slapped Arius across the face! As a result St. Nicholas was thrown in prison until the Theotokos and Christ appeared to him and the council and said that he was right. He served his penalty but was also proven to be right.
Now, I don’t advocate striking someone, but St. Nicholas was not a push-over and yet he was the kind and generous man who saved women from slavery. Let's be honest here, he didn't get to strike someone and get forgiven because he was known to do such things. He was a man of good character with a lot of credibility, not known to act in such a manner. You can't go picking fights and being a jerk and expect anyone to take you seriously when you make a real point. St. Nicholas made a point and it was taken seriously.
In that council St. Nicholas wasn't just standing up for what he thought was right as we often do. He was standing up for what the Church believed. Recently it has been an ongoing saying to, "Speak your truth." There is no "your truth." There is only THE TRUTH. We all have different perspectives, and that's good, but the truth is the truth. St. Nicholas wasn't just getting on a soap box to tell people what he believed he was standing up for what the Church believed.
Don't get caught up in silly arguments or fight people over what ONLY YOU think is true. Test your thoughts against what we know is good and true. Test it agains millennia of what the Church has called true.
St. Nicholas is also continuously working miracles for people today. He is bold and passionate for what is right and true, and yet humble and loving in profound ways. He is the total package. So do I want a saint like that interceding on my behalf to God for my salvation? Heck yes. I do.
St. Nicholas is the real deal.