Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Nicholas which lightens our spirits with the stories of his generosity.
There are many myths about St. Nicholas and his reputation for secret gift giving. The most well-known is the one of Nicholas secretly providing money for three young women because their father was too poor to provide them a dowry. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. It is this story that is believed to have led to the custom of children hanging stockings awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.
The candy cane is also a treat often associated with Saint Nicholas. It represents the shepherd’s crook he carried as a bishop. In some places, Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated with the blessing and sharing of candy canes.
These stories may be part of the mythology surrounding Nicholas, however the truth is that he was really a Bishop whose people were important to him. His life symbolizes that which is at the heart of the Christian faith: the ability to give, to love and to care. In the midst of Advent, the memory of Nicholas renews our understanding of Santa Claus. In these days of separation and concern, let us recapture our sense of childhood wonder today and enjoy our candy canes!
Open us to generosity of heart for those in need.
There are many people suffering from food insufficiency this year. Make a contribution to a Food pantry or Homeless Shelter. Include some candy canes. Tell children the stories of St. Nicholas.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others – something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King Jr
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
Frank A. Clark