Friday 6 December — Feast of St Nicholas

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.


Isaiah 29.17-24 | Psalm 27.9-17 | Matthew 9.27-31 |


Nicholas Roerich. St Nicholas (1916)


Eternal God, in your great love you gave your servant Nicholas a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea.
Grant that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor and the help of those who are tossed by tempests of doubt or grief;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Will the Real St Nicholas Please Stand Up? And Indeed He Did,
by Ogden Nash

Once there was a saint called St. Nicholas of Myra,
And his reputation for veracity was better than that of Ananias and Sapphira,
So when he recently called upon me with his complaint,
Well, I knew I was listening to a truthful saint.
He was also an angry saint, he was spoiling for a rhubarb or a scrimmage;
He was indignant over the vulgarization of his public image.
He said he hardly dared step out of Heaven for very shame
Because some obese buffoon known as Santa Claus had mis-appropriated his good name.
He said wherever he might go
He was confronted by this Santa Claus or one of a thousand facsimiles bellowing Ho! Ho! Ho!
None of whom had any decency or pride
Because they wore their red flannels outside.
He said if people wanted a Santa Claus that was all right with him,
He just didn’t want them to confuse Santa Claus with St. Nicholas, which was like confusing Walt Disney with the Brothers Grimm,
Because he believed in spare the rod and spoil the child, and let reward be contingent on good conduct previous,
Whereas Santa Claus was of the permissive school and showered his gifts indiscriminately, even upon the most unregenerately mischievous.
Anybody misled by the similarity of the two names was not a homo sapiens but a most insapiens homo,
Just as likely to confuse Lindbergh with Strindberg or Pericles with Perry Como,
Yes, they would find a hundred ways to be vague in,
Mixing up Yankee-doodle with Der Dudelsackpfeiffer and Eugene O’Neill with Eugene Onegin.
He said this was a humiliation he had been forced to endure
Mostly thanks to one Clement Clarke Moore.
He said he had no recourse, that he was like a lion toothless or a porcupine prickleless,
Although the so-called hero of the Moore poem was really Santa Claus masquerading as St. Nicholas.
He said this was obvious because, if he did say so himself,
He was an authentic saint and nobody’s jolly old elf,
And if further proof were needed that the identity was a transposed one,
Why, he had never seen a reindeer in his life, much less was he, as had been whispered lately, dependent on the good will and sagacity of a red-nosed one.
He said Mr. Moore had compiled the first Hebrew and Greek lexicon published in the U.S., and had written a biography of Scanderbeg, too,
So he was perfectly capable, before composing his monstrous poetical tarradiddle, of checking his facts in any hagiological Who’s Who.
By this time his indignation was such that he had lost the ability to reason well or think well;
I believe he must have confused me with Clement Clarke Moore, because he picked me up and dipped me in the inkwell.
He thereupon departed with his mitre cocked jauntily and quaintly.
I cannot help feeling that, St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, his behaviour was only faintly saintly.

"Lasst uns froh und munter sein", ("Let us be happy and cheerful") German Christmas carol from the Hunsrück/Taunus region, traditionally sung on St Nicholas Eve. Jazz version played by Michael Gundlach

Lasst uns froh und munter sein
und uns recht von Herzen freun!
Lustig, lustig, tralera-lera,
bald ist Nikolausabend da,
bald ist Nikolausabend da!

Bald ist uns're Schule aus;
dann zieh'n wir vergnügt nach Haus.
Lustig, lustig, …

Dann stell ich den Teller auf,
Nikolaus legt gewiß was drauf.
Lustig, lustig, …

Wenn ich schlaf, dann träume ich:
Jetzt bringt Nikolaus was fü mich.
Lustig, lustig, …

Wenn ich aufgestanden bin,
lauf ich schnell zum Teller hin.
Lustig, lustig, …

Nikolaus ist ein guter Mann,
dem man nicht g'nug danken kann.
Lustig, lustig, …

Let us be happy and cheerful
And really be happy in our hearts!
Jolly, jolly, tralala-lala,
Soon Nicholas Eve is here!
Soon Nicholas Eve is here!

Soon our school day ends,
Home I'll go with all my friends.
Jolly, jolly, …

Then I put the plate out
Nick'll surely put somethin' on it.
Jolly, jolly, …

When I sleep, then I dream:
Now Nicholas brings me something.
Jolly, jolly, …

When I am woken up,
I run quickly to the plate.
Jolly, jolly, …

Nicholas is a good man
Whom we can't thank enough.
Jolly, jolly, …

Tom Lehrer's (in)famous A Christmas Carol (1959)

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602