Today is the feast of St Nicholas. The human who gave rise to many legends that have become, among other things, Santa Claus. What the legends of St Nicholas have in common are both a compassion for the poor and a wit of execution. The Old St Nick, apparently had a knack for cleverly executed charity, sometimes with a little cheek. Sneaking gold dowries to the daughters off a poor man though an opened window, or more famously leaving gifts of one kind or another in stockings or shoes of those who needed them most was entirely his style.
So the legend of Santa Claus has sustained some key elements… not so much the cookies and pipe stuff. But indeed there was a guy who used to break in to people’s lives to give to them. It was no less a crime in his day than in ours (though if he did load up the shoes when they were left outside it was misdemeanor trespass and not breaking and entering. Big diff.) Nevertheless, the small material bits of hope that this saint left behind took some conniving
This is often the nature of hope and why it is not the same as optimism. It is not unusual for hope to require cunning, while optimism requires little sacrifice. Hope is something that may come like a gift but must also be forged to be the right tool in that time and space. Like for instance, a can of spray paint…
Six members of St David’s Episcopal Church in Austin Texas have been on a year long journey of spiritual and theological development and they wanted to deepen people’s experience of Advent. Long story short: They graffittied their church, or rather they had one of the teens do it. It was planned but it still raised some eyebrows and hopefully some awareness. The police were called upon twice in one week to investigate so I guess it worked. The message that cause all this commotion? “Light is Home in You.”
Now is that worth all the trouble, all the attention and hand wringing? Well, In this narrator’s humble opinion, it was worth it for no other reasons than the artist, a teenage member of the congregation, found out he had the means, motivation, and opportunity to change his congregation, the building, the people, and its neighborhood.
I think Santa Claus does exist, or has been recently in, Thu Ley Wah an 18 year old immigrant born in a refugee camp in Mae La, Thailand and Artist who was the main culprit and the 6 other conspirators that put the can of spray paint in his hand. The light is home in you.
And that is the writing on the wall