10 Days Without A Coat

Day 6…

Have you ever wondered about the real story of St. Nicholas? Every year, as it gets closer to Christmas I always want to look it up, but I never end up doing it. Well this year I did, and I found out that we actually don’t know much about St. Nick. There are lots of legends and folklore surrounding his life, but not many historical documents that prove the stories true. Really, the only things we know for sure is that he lived, he was a follower of Jesus, and that he was very generous. As one article put it, “He took to heart what Jesus said [to the rich young ruler] about selling what you own and giving it to the poor*.” The most famous legend of St. Nicholas, the one that has the best chance of being true had to do with a poor man and his three daughters.

At that time (around 100 – 200 AD), if a man had a daughter that was marriable, he offered the husband-to-be a dowry. The wealthier and more extravagant of a dowry, the better chance the father had of marrying off his girls. Unfortunately, the father in our story didn’t have much money, and as a poor man the chances of his daughters getting married was slim-to-none. One night, however, a stranger passed by the window of their house and tossed in a bag of money — a dowry for the eldest daughter. The stranger repeated this act two more times, and ended up covering the dowries for all three daughters. This stranger was Saint Nicholas.

Considering this story shows up the most, there is a good chance that at least a part of this story is true. Regardless of the veracity, I just think it’s cool that a guy can be remembered throughout history as a very generous man who gave up everything for people in need.

What a huge challenge for us. What we will be remembered for 1,000 years from now?

Today, there will be thousands of families that wake up outside without a coat. Now in Colorado Springs, the temperature got into single digits last night which means even if you have a really nice jacket you will still feel the cold temperatures. I can’t imagine what it was like to sleep outside last night without a coat.

I’m not asking any of us to be as extreme as St. Nicholas and give away all of our possessions to the poor. I’m asking all of us to look at what we do have, and realize that we can live with less. Three days ago, I had 18 jackets. I don’t need 18 jackets. Sacrificing over half of them was not a sacrifice. But it means 11 homeless people will be warmer tonight because they have a coat.

Join me in providing coats for people in need. You can donate a coat directly to your local rescue mission or food pantry. If you can’t find a place to drop off your old coats, you can send them to me and I will distribute them to local organizations here in Colorado Springs. Drop the coats off at the Axis office or mail them to:

1935 Dominion Way Suite 203 / Colorado Springs / CO / 80918

If you don’t have an old coat to donate, you can donate money that will be used to buy coats for the homeless. Click here for more information. And when you do participate, please comment about it below so we can get excited with you!

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*stnicholas.org

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