Today our church celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas, a third century Bishop that lived near modern day Turkey. He is most remembered for his love and kindness to the children of his region and his habit of secretly leaving small gifts for many children. His impact and legacy continues to live on in our world today by the millions of young children who patiently await the joy and excitement of Christmas morning and the chance to open presents and toys lovingly and secretly left for them by Santa.
There are many skeptics in our world who do not believe in or embrace the magic of Christmas Eve. Sadly, they miss the beauty, innocence and faith of children who enjoy unconditional love and waking up to a world, where dreams can come true, if only one believes. While “Santa” or “Old St. Nick” may have many helpers who assist him in making those dreams come to life, his impact is no less magical.
While we continue on our Advent journey, may the spirit of St. Nicholas come alive in each of us so that we too might bring some joy, happiness and love into the deserving hearts of children of all ages in our own lives.
Each year on Thanksgiving night, I watch one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street (the original version). In the movie, the question of whether Santa Clause is real or just a legend unfolds in this holiday classic. One line in that movie always reminds me of the importance of this special time of the year, “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
I believe in miracles, in the beauty and potential of young people and that love, and God’s grace will always allow us to overcome the many difficulties and challenges that life will throw at us at any given moment. Sometimes common sense might suggest that obstacles or problems cannot be surmounted, but that is where faith must takeover and trust in our God that we are not walking this journey alone.
The legend and inspiration of St. Nick is also an invitation for us to somehow find simple ways to make our world and the world of those people in our lives a little brighter and more joyful by our secretly engaging in some random acts of kindness.
Brother Dan O’Riordan
Br. Dan, FMS, has been a Marist Brother for over 27 years. His new book, Never too Young to Change the World was released on December 1st, 2020. You can find out more information about his most recent book and find the link to purchase on https://brdanbooks.com/. We all need to be “Amazed by Young Heroes of Today.”
He has coordinated more than one hundred mission service trips allowing many young people the opportunity to serve the least favored in communities around the world. He has also led numerous pilgrimages and continues to be a featured speaker on youth retreats and youth gatherings, where he encourages young people to find ways to answer God’s call and use their gifts and talents to respond to the many needs of our world.
Br. Dan has many passions in life including writing, painting, running, hiking, golf, Yankees baseball and most of all spending quality time with his family, friends and his Godchildren.