Friday, December 05, 2014

The Tale of Arius and St Nick

Here is, as far as I'm able today, the Tale of Arius and St Nick.

I will be reading it for Geneva's "12 Hours of Christmas" today.

Merry Christmas, one and all!


Gather 'round children for a tale rarely told
of how Christmas was 'bout lost
save for one saint who was bold.
It all happened at the council called Nice
where they were debating long and hard
about the substance of Christ.
Was he man or God in the flesh
or some other angelic creature
caught up in human mesh?
The bishops and priests down Egypt way
had stirred up this controversy
and the Emperor wanted a say.
"Who cares," ol' Constantine said,
"innit enough that he was born, suffered,
and been raised from the dead?"
But Alexander and Arius had come to blows
for something greater was at stake here
greater than many would suppose.
For if Christ weren't God, how could he save
us sinful, fragile mortals
e'er bound for the grave?

So a council was called and some 300 drew near
to debate and to explicate
what had become so unclear.
Arius, the bad guy in this story,
stood up to recite his poem,
and deprive the Lord of His glory.
But, lo and behold, who should appear,
but Ol St Nick, episcopally vested
(he had no tiny reindeer).
And, oh it makes me want to clap,
he planted on Arius' blasphemous mouth
not a kiss, but a fine, resounding slap.
"No heresy from you today,"
that angelic bishop
only managed to say.
No sooner had he started to speak
but the King jailed him up,
his regal scruples far too weak.
"No symbols of office for that,
no, no staff and no cloak
and no bishop's hat!"
The small beam of light carried by a punch
seemed extinguished so quickly
with Dino's mind out to lunch.
No bells would ever ring, no stockings hung with care,
Christ was no longer a savior,
as Arius triumphed without St Nicholas there.

But, o Virginia, don't you let yourself cry,
for that night in his cell,
did our saint a wonder espie!
"Merry Christmas," Christ and His Mother did shout,
"here's all your episcopal fine
and from that cell come thee out!"
A miracle the wonder cannot be told
as St Nick walked back to the council
to applause a hundred-fold!
Airy did shirk, and Constantine did shudder
as Nicholas came back
to steer that ship's rudder!
"Ho ho homoousias!  One essence with the Father!
Christ is very God and very man,
Otherwise why bother?"
The Emperor, upon seeing, they do say,
changed his mind and his heart
grew two sizes that day.
So now, from atop his golden throne,
he championed that bishop,
and true orthodoxy alone!

And that, dear children, is the story true
of how one Saint Nicholas of Myra
saved Christmas for me...and for you.

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