ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
AMESBURY, MASSACHUSETTS

December 4, 2020
St Nicholas' Nose
for the week of December 6, 2020

What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with a transition time - Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc.) - a time to change gears

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.

3) Here are the appointed readings for December 6, 2020. Find them in your Bible, or click here: https://episcopalchurch.org/lectionary/advent-2b (also in Spanish).

Our focus for this class =
Not-so-jolly St Nicholas

You may already know about the real-life St Nicholas, notable for giving away his money, protecting children, sailors, and others, and for being an ardent follower of Jesus. (And if you don't, no worries - check out this week's Online Sunday School class, also emailed today!)

Did you know he also had a bad temper?! A righteous temper. . .

Forensic researchers used measurements of St Nicholas' relics to reconstruct his body (most of his bones - "relics" - are in the Basilica of San Nicola, in Bari, Italy - a whole other story). A forensic anthropologist recreated St Nicholas' face. He has a broken nose!
Image: Face Lab,
Liverpool John Moores University.

Read all about it in this great article from the St Nicholas Center website (check that out, too, a fabulous resource and a lot of fun). And read this article, too!

Watch a documentary, "The Real Face of Santa" about the process by clicking here (it's in 4 parts). Also, read a BBC interview with the forensic anthropologist, Dr Caroline Wilkinson: click here.
Where did that injury come from? There are a couple of speculations:

  • St Nicholas was persecuted and jailed for being a Christian. Was he tortured?
  • Records note that when he took part in the Council of Nicaea (the place and time - 325AD - where our Nicene Creed, which we say at Communion, was written!) - he punched another participant in the face! What! Why?

It had to do with a Council participant named Arius (or Arias). They say Arius stood on his chair and was making a speech, denying that Jesus is true God and true man - a heresy!

And Nicholas was infuriated and let loose.

Well! What do you think about that?

Nicholas was punished, immediately, for this behavior - stripped of his Bishop's robes and thrown into jail, and beaten, most likely - but miracles happened, legends say. Jesus and Mary came to his cell, gave him new robes and a Gospel book, and everyone was amazed. . . and forgave Nicholas for his brusque behavior. Nicholas apologized. And recovered from a broken nose - then, before, or after?

The Nicholas/Arius incident went down in history. Here are some fresh words to some favorite Christmas songs from bloggers in response to Gene Edward Veith's 2005 article in "World Magazine": "Slappy Holiday" - go ahead, sing it!

(To the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus”)
Here comes Santa Claus,
here comes Santa Claus,
right down th’ Council hall:
all the Fathers
startled by his
great display of gall!
Now, we know it wasn’t right
to smack ol’ Arius down,
and he’ll say sorry, but we know
why Nicholas went to town.
4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster: Top 10 Things I'd Fight For (note: Figuratively! Do NOT punch somebody). Take a pic; email me!

6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for" etc. And/or take 5 or more minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace & letting thoughts go. Breathe! Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud:
Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!
Come to a ZOOM CLASS
6:30pm, Friday, December 18: Zoom link will be emailed
Zoom class every third Friday!
LMK if you want the links to past classes.
I'll let you know how our donations box is coming along - and what happens next.

Sending prayers for hope, joy, love, and peace, Linda
Adults: Please share this email with youth. If you'd like me also to send these emails to the kids, please email me their addresses & your permission. Thanks! Linda