December 6

Feast of St. Nicholas
Reflection

In the early days of Advent our spirits are lifted with the stories of St. Nicholas

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. 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. Let us recapture our sense of childhood wonder today and enjoy our candy canes!

Prayer

Open us to generosity of heart for those in need.

Action

Give someone a candy cane and brighten their day. Make a contribution to a Food pantry or Homeless Shelter.

Suggested Reading

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.
Luke 6:37-38

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.
Albert Schweitzer

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
Mother Teresa

You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
Anonymous

The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.
Leonard Nimoy

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.
Mahatma Gandhi

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
Frank A. Clark

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