Feast of St. Nicholas, St. Mark’s 12 step Eucharist, December 4, 2019
If you have been at this 12 step Eucharist previously on the first Wednesday in December, you have heard a homily about St. Nikolas. I apologize right now because you are going to hear about him now for the third time. I am powerless when it comes to St. Nikolas. He has just been a too important figure in my life. You might say that in December, I replace my addiction to alcohol for an addiction for St. Nikolas.
Very little is known of the life of Nicholas, bishop of Myra who lived in Asia Minor around 342. He is the patron of seafarers, sailors and more especially of children. As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York where he popularly became known as Santa Claus.
The feast day of St. Nicholas has been celebrated in our family as a major holiday since my sobriety. We have a big family meal together. My husband dresses up as Bishop Nicholas with a beard, a miter, and crozier and long red stole and comes to visit our grandchildren after dinner. He speaks Greek to the children and the adults. Speaking Greek is my husband’s favorite pastime, and of course you know that Nikolas was Greek. Nike the Greek! Then our grandchildren go into the bedrooms and leave their shoes outside the doors and Bishop Nicholas leaves chocolate coins and presents in their shoes. I won’t bore you with our pictures of this family event, but they are stunning.
Why am I sharing with you our family story? For the last several years on this feast day, I sit and watch this pageant and am filled with so much gratitude, for my sobriety date is close to the feast day of St. Nicholas. Each year I know that if someone had not led me to a recovery program, I would not be alive tonight. I would not be witnessing this wonderful blessing of seeing my children and grandchildren giggle with glee as they try to respond to a beautiful old man with a fake beard speaking Greek to them and secretly giving them candy in their shoes. For me it is a yearly reminder to keep working these 12 steps so I can be around for another feast day of St. Nicholas.
This is just a suggestion. Look at the calendar of saints. Find one close to your sobriety date. Learn about that saint. Observe that saint’s day in your home, in your life. You may just consider that saint as your patron saint. This is just one more way to remember how our lives have been transformed by our sobriety. Spend that saint’s day giving thanks for those before you who loved you before you were born with a love that only comes from the love of the God of our understanding. St. Nikolas reminds us that God uses every possible tool to keep us clean and sober. Give Thanks and Enjoy.