Little is historically known of the real Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who lived in the fourth century. He is the legend of many miracles, and the patron saint of many nations, cities, and human realities. But what we do know is that many Catholics--east and west--have venerated and honored this great man, and his charity was so bold as to inspire the loving character of Santa Claus.
Yet, the charity of Nicholas, manifest in jolly old Santa, is really born of a babe.
"And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone…they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel." Isaiah 29:17-24
This sounds so good, doesn't it? It did to the ancient Israelites, victims of exile and foreign oppression--not forgetting the part their own sin played in their predicament. But, it can sound just as good to us! Post-Christian America isn't exactly a picnic. Christmas, once again, is a time where the babe, accompanied by the Blessed Virgin and the humble stepdad, bathed in the song of angels, can come quietly to the forgotten cave, in our town, our home, and our hearts. God works Christmas wonders in little babies in the darkness of the night--quite often without the world even noticing. God also works wonders in a beaten, disfigured, and seemingly insignificant Galilean nailed to the Cross.
And both wonders are born of God's Christmas boldness!
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?" Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
'Merry Christmas' is an appropriate greeting for a Christian on fire with the emboldened Love of the Christmas Christ. Nativity scenes, boldly placed in front of church's and businesses, are expressions of our bold hope in God. If 'the Lord is my light and my salvation,' should I fear the Politically Correct? If I am loved by the Creator of the Universe, loved so much that He came at Christmas, suffered on Good Friday, and Raised humanity on Easter, should I fear the opinions of mere faulty men and women?
"'Let it be done for you according to your faith.' And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, 'See that no one knows about this.' But they went out and spread word of him through all that land." Matthew 9:27-31
Let's get one thing perfectly clear, our disobedience to the Lord is not boldness--it's sheer arrogant stupidity! But, can you blame these newly seeing men? Come on! They're blind, and this wonderworker of God heals them. God heals them! Yes, Jesus sternly requested that they keep it a secret for practical purposes--so that Jesus would not be swarmed like a rock star, unable to preach, teach, and save. But Jesus, in His Divine Wisdom, had to know these guys were going to leap around like little kids, proclaiming God's Christmas goodness. And, I am sure, they proclaimed it boldly!
Can't you see the smile on Jesus' face when they did?
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