Monday, December 5, 2011

As a child, December 6 was one of my favorite days of the year.  Growing up, we never wanted for anything, but extras were reserved Christmas, birthdays, and Easter.  And December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas.  I remember carefully placing my shoe outside my door on the night of the 5th, wriggling impatiently in my bed until I fell asleep, and then oh so quietly opening the door the morning of the 6th.  With great glee, I would shake my shoe until chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil tumbled out, along with a chocolate marshmallow treat and some pencils, stickers, or a new hair bow.  It was amazing how much St. Nicholas could cram into my shoe! 

St. Nicholas is, of course, more than the shoe-filling, list checking, red-suited wrestler of reindeer that society has turned him into.  He was the bishop of Myra (in present day Turkey) in the 3rd/4th Century.  Much of what we know about him comes from The Golden Legend, written in A.D. 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of  Genoa, and is reinforced by the simple traditions for children.  For example, my golden wrapped chocolate coins?  They were meant to remind us of the story of St. Nicholas providing a neighbor with gold for dowries for his three daughters, thus saving the poor young women from lives of ill repute. 

Tomorrow, we should remember St. Nicholas, reflecting on his life of charity and his love for Christ.  We should not forget that behind the a jolly man in a red-suit is a real man, a real saint who is worthy of our veneration.  Take some time today to read more about St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, seaman, brides, and many others.

Father, hear our prayers for mercy, and by the help of St. Nicholas, keep us safe from all danger and guides us on the way of salvation.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

More Resources:
  1. Feast of St. Nicholas
  2. Life of St. Nicholas
  3. St. Nicholas of Bari
  4. St. Nicholas

No comments: