A Giving People

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

For many, the dominant personality of the Christmas season is not Jesus, whose birth is celebrated, but Santa Claus. His bearded face seems everywhere. He’s the star of films, TV programs, and advertisements, the hero for children, and for many, he defines the central themes of this season.

How ironic that the man behind this imagery in fact was a devout believer, whose life was focused on serving Jesus.

Saint Nicholas of Myra was born in 270 AD in what today is southern Turkey. Due to his commitment and consistent testimony, he was named bishop of the diocese of Myra. During his tenure, he stood against heresies that threatened to divide the church. He refused to compromise when opposition arose during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian resulting in his imprisonment and persecution.

His most lasting legacy was his compassion, particularly his love for the poor and children. Stories of his generosity were legendary and demonstrated the importance and impact of showing the love of Christ in practical ways. He took seriously the Bible’s command that “religion that is pure and undefiled” focuses on visiting orphans and widows” (James 1:27). And he displayed the kind of commitment Jesus commanded when He said, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me” (Luke 9:48).

One reason the early church had such impact was because believers like Nicholas demonstrated that same spirit. They were giving people, sharing with others, realizing that God had blessed them so they could be a blessing to others.

This is the spirit believers are to have throughout the year. We should think about how we can celebrate Christmas, in practical ways, and how Jesus has changed our lives.