St. Nicholas Day Modeling the Compassionate Life

Children of Nashotah House listening to ‘Saint Nicholas.’
Photo courtesy Christian Wood, ’16

In Against Heresies, Irenaeus wrote that God does not need us, but he longs to shower us with gifts. God wants to give us salvation. To serve God does not mean giving him any gift. He rewards those who serve him without deriving any benefit from their service, (AH 4, 25).


The Rev. Steven Peay, Professor of Homiletics and Church History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, dressed as St. Nicholas engaged the children of Nashotah House with a question along with a spray of candy canes, “What are you thankful for?” A quick response from a little one in the crowd, “Mama!” Many words of immediate thanks ensued from the more than fifty children of students, faculty, and staff, in attendance honoring St. Nicholas Day, December 6, 2013.

And then the gifts, cookies, hot chocolate, merry-making. The showering of gifts from a generous benefactor to the House reminded us of the gift of faith and becoming as a child.


Huntingdon, Clement, and Nicholas are models of the compassionate life whether feeding the poor in the streets of London, teaching orthodoxy, or giving gifts to children in the season as we walk the Advent path. In giving, we remember where we come from and re-telling the lives of the saints keeps our memories fresh. Why story and why legend? To point us to the True story — that of the Incarnation. Engaging in the majesty of Christ, all for the sake of Christ. As we move towards the festival that is Christmas, we remember to give compassion as it has been modeled for us.






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About nashotahhouse

Located in Nashotah, Wisconsin, Nashotah House Theological Seminary is the oldest institute of higher education in the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 1842 by a Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Nashotah House belongs to the Anglican tradition of worship, theology and spirituality. That is, Nashotah House traces her roots to the Church of England and locates herself within the worldwide Anglican Communion. Comprehending the fundamental disciplines of Holy Scripture, Theology, Church History, Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry, the curriculum at Nashotah House not only roots our students in the ancient wisdom of the Church, it prepares and empowers them to communicate the Gospel to the world today.