This past week at Central we began rehearsing for our pageants- the children are singing, and acting and playing their instruments to get ready for the big day. Our Sharing Tree is going up on Sunday- there is no denying it, Christmas is coming! One of the questions that we think about this time of year is the place for Santa in our traditions. One way to think about Santa is by thinking about the real world person that he is based on.
St. Nicholas day is December 6th, and children all over Europe will be putting out their shoes on St. Nicholas Eve, full of carrots (for St. Nicholas’ horse) to wake up and find their shoes stuffed with treats. St. Nicholas was born in the village of Patara in modern day Turkey. Nicholas grew up and joined the priesthood and later became a bishop- wearing a red pointy hat. What set St. Nicholas apart from other bishops was his generosity and care for his community, especially for the poor in his community. Everyone knew that if Nicholas came for dinner, that he would leave gifts that helped the family. If Nicholas heard that someone was hungry, he left food at the door. If someone was sick, he sent the doctor. Nicholas was so generous and thoughtful whenever something good happened for a family, they would say that it was Nicholas left it. Legend says that there was a family in his parish needed money for the weddings of their three daughters. Nicholas tossed three bags of gold into the window which are said to have fallen in their shoes, drying by the fire. If your family puts oranges in your Christmas Stockings it is because of this legend, as a reminder of St. Nicholas’ generosity.
So when you are thinking about Santa, don’t forget to talk to your kids about the real life St. Nicholas who continues to inspire us today. Can you think of people in our community who are like that today? Or can your family care for someone else the way that St. Nicholas did in his day?
For more information about St. Nicholas, click here: https://www.stnicholascenter.org/who-is-st-nicholas