Here we are, greeting a 2019 Mykolaj! Despite planetary crisis, despite insatiable greed, despite corrupt leaders and senseless violence, we, nevertheless, are celebrating the actions of a bishop who lived almost 2 thousand years ago. Not because we have to, but because this most popular saint of all time reawakens our fun-loving goodness. In the dead of winter, when the nights are longest, Mykolaj pops onto the scene, reminding us that being human is full of wonder and (de)light. How amazing that you and I should relate to a 4th c wealthy Greek cleric. But we can because this man’s actions illuminate Christ—embodied Love. Christmas is the joyous recognition that our humanity, our universe, and our life in all its complexity, are truly sacred. It’s a fact that popular culture has used St Nicholas as a symbol of consumer culture and gift-giving at this time of year. However, I believe that we relate to Mykolaj because he, in his position of wealth and power, responded with compassion to ordinary people in his local community. He noticed individuals; he noticed what they needed and felt moved to do what he could to help. The legends describe not simply generosity, but rather simple human kindness: kindness shown in secret and playful ways. Kindness is its own reward, makes us feel good, makes us smile. Especially in these times of darkness, whether literal or figurative, kindness is a gift we all crave and we can give in abundance just by noticing those around us and sharing our smiles. We greet Mykolaj in each other. Happy holy-days!