Friday, September 18, 2020


Home Opinions Digging Deeper into Grace (12/14/2016)

Digging Deeper into Grace (12/14/2016)

During the Christmas season it has become traditional for us to spend a lot of time and energy and money on giving and receiving of gifts.  How did this get started?

Much of the tradition of giving gifts during the Christmas season traces back to the person of St. Nicholas.  Nicholas was born around 280 A.D., in the town of Patara which is along the south western coast of present day Turkey.  He was the only child of wealthy Christian parents who died when he was young, leaving him with a large inheritance.

From a young age, Nicholas dedicated his life to Christ.  He saw a similarity between himself and the “rich young ruler” whom Jesus admonished to “sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven,” so Nicholas made it a habit throughout his life to give rather than to horde.

It is difficult to differentiate legend from history in Nicholas’ life, but the story about Nicholas that is most well-known had to do with his compassion for a poor family with three daughters.  Their father did not have enough money to pay their dowries, which meant that they might end up being forced into servitude or prostitution.  Nicholas snuck over to their home one night and tossed a bag of money inside for the older daughter’s dowry.  According to some traditions the money landed in a stocking hanging near the fireplace.  Other traditions say the money landed in a shoe.  Therefore, in some countries it is common to put gifts in stockings on St. Nicholas Day, which is December 6.  People in other countries leave gifts in shoes on St. Nicholas Day.  According to the stories, Nicholas repeated the same act of charity in following years for each of the daughters, before being caught by the father the third time who thanked deeply.

Jesus taught to do acts of charity not for the praise of others but anonymously.  Nicholas tried to follow that counsel throughout his life.  I think he would be mortified over the attention that is focused on him today.

A second thing he would be mortified over is the modern claim that Santa keeps a list of who is naughty and who is nice and that he gives only to those who are good.  Nicholas believed strongly in the grace of God, that Jesus died for us even though we are sinners.  God’s love is extended to us not on the basis of how good we are but on the basis of Christ’s forgiving love for us.

A third thing he would be mortified over is the idea of hiding away from the world at the North Pole.  Nicholas was not a recluse but was very engaged with people in day-to-day life in the world.  The times he was pulled away from the community were not times of his choosing but various times he was locked away in prison.  He served as Bishop of Myra during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who ruthlessly persecuted Christians.  It was said that during the reign of Diocletian there were times that the prisons were so full of bishops and priests and deacons that there was no room in the jails for murderers and thieves.

May we learn to give like Nicholas, not to gain the praise of others but out of true care for persons—especially those who may be in greatest need.

—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at

Pastor Tom Tripp
Pastor Tom Tripp
Tom Tripp is the former minister at First Presbyterian Church in Colusa; and is currently the pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Sun City, AZ. You can send him a message at:

More News

Three killed on I-5 in two separate accidents 

Three people were killed on Interstate 5 in Colusa County over a five day period in two separate accidents.  A Yuba City couple were killed...

Coaches Corner: Dan Kiely

Soccer in Colusa County has a long history of competitive play and a major contributor to that tradition is Colusa High School boys’ soccer...

Garden Club Plant Sale

The Garden Club of Colusa County hosted their fall plant sale in the Davison Pavilion in Colusa on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event, which...

First Patriot Day ceremony held at Williams Elementary School

Students who attend Williams Elementary School were not alive 19 years ago when hijackers used airplanes as weapons of destruction to kill nearly 3,000...

Distance learning raises questions about home imagery

Editors Note: The article has been updated from the print version to correct the spelling of Tiffany Sines. Distance learning seems to be more challenging...

Local Government

County appoints new Airport Advisory Committee

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 1 appointed seven members to the newly restructured Airport Advisory Committee. The previous committee of about 15...

Colusa Police Department: July 2020

The City of Colusa Police Department responded to 382 calls for service, up from 311 in June. There were an additional 31 calls to...

City of Colusa adopts strategy for economic development

The Colusa City Council last week adopted the final Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a report that will serve as a roadmap intended to diversify...

Public & Legal Notices

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2020-0000072 Date filed: September 11, 2020 The following persons are doing business as: GULLATT RANCH Business Address: 6880 GREENBAY ROAD, ARBUCKLE, CA 95912 Mailing...

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2020-0000071 Date filed: September 1, 2020 The following persons are doing business as: C & C ENGINEERING Business Address: 2081 LONE STAR ROAD,...

Notice of Lien Sale

NOTICE OF LIEN SALE SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 AT 5:00 PM 423 SIOC STREET, COLUSA, CA 95932 8’  3’ GOLD WING 09/16/2020 • WPR #2020-1142


CIUDAD DE COLUSA AVISO DE AUDIENCIA PÚBLICA AVISO SE DA A LA PRESENTE QUE la Comisión de Ciudad de Colusa y  Planificación llevará a cabo un...


CITY OF COLUSA NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Colusa and Planning Commission will hold public workshop on Wednesday, September...