Why We Are Not Pagans

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack newsletter, Hinternet:

Just minutes after St. Nicholas was born, on December 6, he stood up on his own two feet in the basin where the midwives washed him, and completed the task himself. Then the babe grabbed a knife from the table and severed his own umbilical cord. Through the rest of his infancy he refused to nurse more than twice a week, and only ever on Wednesdays and Fridays. As Nicholas grew older he developed a sharp hatred of sin, and wept whenever he witnessed it. Having inherited a great wealth from his parents, he decided to fight sin through what you might today call “effective altruism”. When he overheard his neighbor announcing a plan to sell his two daughters into prostitution in order to lighten his debts, Nicholas contrived to throw a sack of gold coins through the neighbor’s window in the middle of the night (the sled and reindeer, we may imagine, are later accretions upon the legend). After a life of such good works, when he died in 313 AD, oil poured from his head, and water from his feet, and continued to pour for some centuries after that from the site of his burial, when such things as this still occurred.

More here.