Thursday, December 06, 2012

Feast of St. Nicholas

st. nicholas

St. Nicholas was a real person, and in fact a real bishop! You can read his story here but an excerpt is below:

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

It's clear that Nicholas was a courageous and loving bishop. I can't imagine that he would have remained silent while a woman in his diocese was publicly starved to death, or that he would have sat by while civil leaders verbally condone the killing of innocents while receiving our Lord in the Eucharist with the same mouths. I think there is much to learn today from the strength and bravery of a saint such as Nicholas.

Here is a not-so-well-known story about the saint:

St. Nicholas Resurrecting Three Children (oil on canvas)

Three little children sought the plain
Gleaners of the golden grain.
They lingered past the angel-song,
And dewy shadows swept along.
'Mid the silence of the wood
The butcher's lonely cottage stood,
"Butcher! lodge us for the night,
Lodge us till the morning light."
"Enter in, ye children small,
I can find a place for all."
The butcher seized a knife straitway,
And did the little creatures slay.
He put them in a tub of brine,
In pieces small as they were swine.
St. Nicholas, at seven years end,
His way did to the forest wend.
He sought the butcher's cottage drear:
"Butcher! I would rest me here!"
"Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
You are welcome, St. Nicholas!
Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
There's place for you the night to pass."
Scarce had the Saint his entrance made,
He would the supper board was laid.
"Will you have of ham a slice?"
"I will not, for it is not nice!"
"Of this veal you'll take a bit?"
"No! I do not relish it."
"Give me of the little swine,
For seven long years have laid in brine!"
The butcher caught the words he said,
And forthwith from the portal fled.
"Butcher! butcher! do not flee,
Repent and God will pardon thee!"
St. Nicholas the tub drew near,
And lo! he placed three fingers there.
The first one said, "I sweetly rest!"
The second said, "I too am blest!"
The third replied, "Tis well with me,
In Paradise I seem to be!"

Saint Nicholas ::: Advent Saint: "How does St. Nicholas fit into all of this? He is an Advent saint because his December 6th feast day always falls in early Advent (Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas between November 27 and December 3). However, Nicholas is a good Advent saint for more important reasons than the date of his special day. Whatever he did, and it is said that he did many kinds of amazing things, what he did may not be as important as the way he did it. Nicholas became so popular because in his own life he was such a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. His life always clearly reflected the way each one of us is called to show God's love to others, especially those in need.
Celebrating St. Nicholas on his day in Advent brings a bit of fun and festivity into homes, churches, and schools. His small treats and surprises help keep the spirit of good St. Nicholas, especially when stories of his goodness and kind deeds are told and ways to express his care for those in need are sought. Yes, Nicholas is a good Advent saint




I really like to give my children a truer look at the lives of the saints and The Legend of Saint Nicholas
doesn't sugar coat it!
  The Legend of Saint Nicholas




Younger children or people who are just learning of the story of St. Nicholas will enjoy this animated film.  Nicholas:the Boy Who Became Santa [VHS]
Nicholas:the Boy Who Became Santa [VHS]

There are lots of great books to share with children and adults alike about St. Nicholas.  Bill Bennett has one that has become a holiday favorite.  (He is the author of the books of virtue).The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas
The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas


St. Nicholas throw
I have somewhat of a collection of St. Nicholas things that I have saved over the years.  This is a beautiful throw that I purchased last year at a tag sale at a great price, and it adorns our couch in the living room during the Advent and Christmas Season.



Be sure to visit the St. Nicholas Center today.
Also the Bounty of St. Nicholas Fair
My links for St. Nicholas on Diigo
and also my mega Advent links page!

A few years ago we made a  St. Nicholas Spoon Saint!

He turned out like this:

Izzy makes our newest spoon saint- St. Nicholas
Originally uploaded by elliemom.





Our assorted St. Nicholas statues come out today.  Here is one that Rosie and I made last year.


AdayinDecember 008 AdayinDecember 006
AdayinDecember 003
AdayinDecember 001

We have having  Izzy's famous pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. 
 We did these cupcakes last year!


As is our tradition to have the kids put their shoes out on the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas.  One year we did NOT fill shoes with candy on the eve of the feast. Mr. Pete worked very late and and was working all the next day  although the kids put their shoes out, they are not getting filled until the night of the feast. I write this as a way of saying it's okay to live the liturgical life, but with family and work responsibilities, it's also okay to be flexible in our celebrations from day to day and from year to year!
P1020477


See my other St. Nicholas links here!







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