St. Nicholas Sermon-in-Rhyme

By Chris Beukman

St Nicholas with gold ballx
St. Nicholas German holy card
St Nicholas Center Collection
Forgive me when I take your time
For a sermon entirely in rhyme
And to introduce myself to you
Perhaps you will learn something new.
My name is Nicholas , I’m a saint
And don’t believe those who say I ain’t.
I’m the real St. Nick and this is my goal:
To unmask that imposter from the North Pole!
And on this day, the Sixth of December
It’s my name day as I hope you’ll remember
When each year they gather, both man and beast
To solemnly celebrate my great Feast.
I was born many years ago
In Asia Minor, they called it so
And because it’s so quaint and quirky
People nowadays call it the land of Turkey
And because my faith was deep and strong
To the church I wanted to belong
And serve as a Bishop in the name of Jesus
Whose words and teachings this day still please us.
Then arose a man of evil fame
An Emperor, Diocletian was his name
(you may Boo!! out loud when you hear the name Diocletian)
Diocletian hated those who love Christ
So I, Nicholas had to pay the price.
Diocletian himself put me in jail
For my faith I suffered to no avail
While the prisons were full with the people of God
They were in jail while the criminals were not
Diocletian finally let me go
I suffered in prison, I will let you know.
Then I attended the Council of Nicaea
Which I am still not sure was a good i-dea.
My life ended in a place called Myra
Where I was a Bishop whom you could admire
And because of my faith so brave and bold
Many stories about me are told.
I loved those who were weaker, and I loved the stronger
But even more so the ones that were younger
The babies, the toddlers, the kids and the teens
Were always closest to my heart, it seems.
I’ll tell you a tale that is told about me
How I cared for the poor is what you will see.
I once met a man who had three young girls
Merry and fair with beautiful curls
But sadly, they were too poor to marry
So suitors and boyfriend had to tarry
Until I appeared with bags of gold
And cast them through their windows despite the cold
Where they landed in their stockings or shoes. And why?
before the fire they were left to dry.
Some say I gave them apples of gold
That’s another tale that is told
That’s why the orange is my symbol
It is not too hard, it’s really quite simple
Now these girls could marry and be happy
They did not wait long, they made it snappy.
Now after I died things got truly hairy
They dug up my bones and brought them to Bari
In Italy, where I still find my rest
In a beautiful church along with the rest.
Children, students, merchants and bankers
And sailors wherever they drop their anchors
Travelers, murderers, victims and thieves
maidens and judges with tricks up their sleeves
They all adore me, they think I am cool
They think I am awesome, they think I rule
So everybody, the strong and the faint
For all of them I am their favourite Saint.
Now in every country both high and low
They keep my feast, I’ll have you know
Children get presents and poems to read
And are treated to good things to eat.
Now this Advent Saint’s actions are not his own
Even though he’s a man of great renown
But they point at Another, so peaceful and meek
Whom all of us to follow seek:
In the Season of Advent each year
We celebrate Nicholas, the Saint so dear
So that when Christmas comes around
We can truly worship Jesus with word and sound.
Amen!!

By the Ven. Chris Beukman, Archdeacon, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, preached at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Westwood Massachusetts, December 6, 2020. Used by permission.

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