Advent and Christmas Resources and Link Up

Feast of St. Nicholas

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St. Nicholas was a real person and in fact a real bishop! You can read his story here.

The story of Nicholas's conception is bible-like. His parents, Theophanes and Noona prayed for many years to have a baby. Finally, in despair, Noona poured out her hear to the Lord, just as Hannah did in the Old Testament. Her prayers were answered and little Nicholas was born in the year 280 AD in the village of Patara (in Turkey). Legend has it that even as a baby he could do miraculous things. It is said that he once stood up in his baby bath and raised his little chubby arms in prayer! His parents were wealthy and raised their son as a Christian. When Nicholas was a young man, his parents succumbed to an epidemic. He used his inheritance to take care of the sick and poor.

It is probably during this time that one of the most famous stories about the saint happened. A poor family in the village did not have enough money to provide dowries for the three daughters. Nicholas anonymously threw bags of gold up through the chimney of their house which landed in the daughter's shoes. The girls were able to get married, but Nicholas was unable to remain anonymous. Word of his generosity spread.

With is fortune exhausted, Nicholas entered the priesthood. During his studies, he made a trip to the Holy Lands. A huge storm came out that frightened even the most seasoned sailors. When most on board were certain that the ship would be lost, Nicholas knelt in prayer and asked God to spare them all because he was just starting out and had so much more work to do for the Lord. Immediately the storm calmed.

Eventually, Nicholas was ordained and came back to his town of Patara where he molded his priesthood under the writings of St. Polycarp. The people loved him and he was known for his holiness and kindness.

When the bishop of Myra passed away, there was some confusion about who should become the next Bishop. The bishops of the region gathered to choose the new bishop but could not come to an agreement. Finally, one of the older bishops suggested that whoever came through the doors after morning prayer named Nicholas, would be the next bishop.

Nicholas was in town to pay his respects to the deceased bishop. He opened the door and came in and was immediately named the new bishop of Myra!

Unfortunately, this was during the time of Diocletian, the emperor who had martyred and persecuted so many of the early saints. Nicholas was captured and imprisoned for many years. While in prison he continued to minister to the other prisoners and keep the faith alive, performing the duties of bishop as best he could from a prison cell.

Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in 325. He died on December 6, 343 AD.

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:

Spoon saint- St. Nicholas





Our assorted St. Nicholas statues come out today.


santas



 Izzy's famous pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.
St, Nick  cupcakes


It 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!



Our assorted St. Nicholas statues come out today.

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!
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See my other St. Nicholas links here!





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