From the Pastor's Pen


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Pastor W

December:  Pastor's Message


        Have you ever wanted to see an actual picture of jolly old Saint Nick?  It’s not possible – Saint Nicholas lived long before we had cameras.  But an anatomy professor and a forensic pathologist teamed up with a facial anthropologist in 2004 to create a realistic likeness based on his bones, which are buried in the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy.  And here he is!  Face of St. Nicholas


          Saint Nicholas (known to Dutch children as “Sinterklaas,” which English children in New York heard as “Santa Claus”) was born during the third century in a village on the southern coast of modern Turkey to Greek parents. His parents raised him to be a devout Christian, and when they died while Nicholas was still young, the boy remembered Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor” and he gave away his whole inheritance to assist his neighbors in need. He dedicated his life to serving God, became a pastor, and then was appointed as the bishop of Myra (also in modern day Turkey).

 

     Nicholas became known throughout the region for his generosity to those in need, and especially his love for children. There are many stories of him placing money and food in the shoes of needy boys and girls, which is where we get our tradition of hanging stockings for Santa or loved ones to fill with treats.

 

     We know that Bishop Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned for his faith while Diocletian was the Roman emperor. We also know that he attended the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 and signed the Nicene Creed (which we still repeat on Communion Sundays). Nicholas died on December 6 in the year 343. His bones were moved to Italy in 1087 to keep them from Muslim raiders.

 

     This year, the political news is being dominated by hearsay and rumors. And to be fair, Advent is always a time for lots of fanciful traditions and stories. But there are factual stories and they’re worthy to be celebrated – like the birth of God’s Son, and the life of a man who imitated Christ’s love.

 

     My wife, Julia, and I wish you and your loved ones a very blessed Christmas. Hope to see you in church this month!

 

                                                         Yours in Christ,

                                                           Pastor David J. Williamson      

 

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