Feast of St. Nicholas
There are many stories 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.
These stories may be part of the mythology surrounding Nicholas, however the truth is that he was a Bishop whose people were important to him, a man of faith whose goodness and generosity grew out of his love for God. His life symbolizes that which is at the heart of the Christian faith: the ability to give, to love and to care. It is so contrary to those in power who claim to be Christians but are willing not to give but to take from the poor. In the midst of Advent, the memory of Nicholas reminds us of the real purpose behind what we are doing. It enriches our understanding of Santa Claus not by concentrating on commercialized giving but by showing the real historical person who inspired the familiar legend and traditions.
Open us to generosity of heart for those in need.
Candy Canes symbolize St. Nicholas’ crozier. Tell the story of St. Nicholas to
children in your family or classes and distribute candy canes.
Make a contribution to a Food pantry or Homeless Shelter.
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