“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Have you been socked? With this Christmas equivalent of Halloween’s “You’ve been boo’ed,” you’ll find gifts on your doorstep with an accompanying note: “You’ve been socked.” Then you pass along the season’s joy to another neighbor.
It’s the modern-day take on St. Nicholas, an Eastern Orthodox Christian whose wealthy parents died while he was young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell your possessions and give to the poor,” Nicholas used his inheritance to help those who were needy and suffering. When a poor man couldn’t provide a dowry for his girls, three bags of gold were tossed at night through an open window, providing a future for the man’s daughters.
This story would be neatly tied up with a bow if following his example meant we should be generous. However, following Nicholas’ example—who followed Jesus’ example—also means being willing to suffer. Bishop Nicholas was exiled and jailed for his faith by Diocletian, the Roman Emperor who jailed so many Christians that there was no room for true criminals. After his release, he attended the Council of Nicaea in a.d. 325. From this council, the church was given the Nicene Creed, and two thousand years later the church still declares these truths.
Today, on St. Nick’s Day, as we follow his example of generosity, we also follow his example of proclaiming Jesus—even when it costs us more than money.