Who Is St. Nicholas the Wonderworker?

He has never been to the North Pole nor does he have 8 tiny reindeer. What he does have are millions who wait year by year for his arrival to help the weary be strong and the sad, joyful, even if just a flash in time.  

Each year, for the past 18 that is, I make my way through the Canterbury City center dressed as St. Nicholas and march to the Cathedral where Bishops, Clergy and people, young and old, greet me with glorious delight, especially the elderly, when I catch their eye and give them a holiday wave.

St. Nicholas, gift-giver and wonderworker, is a person we could do well to emulate in all aspects of our growing need in this world for unity of purpose in the bond of peace. The call for mutual responsibility and interdependence as followers of the Prince of Peace opens our minds, and God-empowering, our hearts to be the servants we are called to be.

Nicholas is our friend in heaven. He came from a wealthy family and marvelous acts came from his expansive generosity. Like us, he could not bear the sadness and poverty that reigned in those left behind in our often indifferent and uncaring world.

But when we do get it right, meaning in both relief of the poor and needy and development of the personhood of friend and neighbor, we are truly following the example of “jolly old St. Nicholas,” as the children’s song reminds us.

St. Nicholas, born in Turkey, exemplified through his life of valiant actions how the love of the Babe of Bethlehem can be manifest by people like us.

St. Nicholas used his voice to redeem, restore and reverence those whom the world avoids. Those that some simply cannot see in front of their very own eyes.

We are called to help bring people out of darkness. We then can sing loud and clear, Gloria in excelsis Deo as well as maybe Ho Ho Ho! St. Nicholas pray with us!


The Reverend Canon Dr. J.M. Rosenthal of Saint James Merton Church of England Diocese of Southwark is the Founder of the St. Nicholas Society UK.



Images: Top—St. Nicholas processes in the Canterbury parade; Video—St.Nicholas Center.

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