Protector of Children and Sailors
It is no wonder that in England, a country so concerned about her children and her navy, more churches have been named in honor of Nicholas than for any other saint. He was the Bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. Tradition has it that he was a nobleman who poured out his fortune to care for poor children. Countless legends surround his deeds of kindness to sailors. Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam called him Santa Claus. His costume and his image have been secularized and his beloved ships have been replaced by, of all things, reindeer. But his spirit of love for children remains. Clement Clarke Moore, a devoted churchman and professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York has left us a pleasant bit of fantasy called “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” Around the world at Christmas time St. Nicholas will not be forgotten in song and ceremony, but those who honor him best are those who honor his Lord and who work continually for the care and protection of children.
Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, 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 tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.