Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas




Sneaking right up on us (this year it's this coming Friday!) on December 6th is the feast day of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. Last year I wrote up a post on celebrating this feast day, but I figured I'd add a few things that I've found, both that we have done and that we plan to try out this year. St. Nicholas is one of those saints I cannot wait to meet once I make it to heaven.

I imagine him to be one of those people who blend into society as a whole until you attack someone or something they love. In St. Nicholas' case, I'd say that something was his Faith. Underneath his sweet and giving nature, Nicholas also had a spitfire temper. Orphaned as a boy, Nicholas was raised by his uncle who was a Bishop in the Church. Nicholas put little stock in earthly treasure and instead, gave of his great wealth to bless others who were in need. He grew up following a call for the priesthood on his life and ended up as the Bishop of Myra.



One of my favorite tales about this great saint is from a story that tells of Bishop Nicholas attending the Council of Nicea in 325. Arius was there defending his claim that the Word was not always in existence (one of the basis for Arianism, which is obviously proven false by John 1:1). After listening to these claims for a bit, Nicholas couldn't take it any longer and gave Arius a sound punch in the face. Perhaps not the best display of action, but it definitely shows a whole new side of Nicholas' passion for the Truth.

Our Family Traditions

Every year on the Eve of St. Nicholas (so, yes tomorrow the 5th!), everybody places one pair of shoes outside their door. It's rather cold here, so we usually just place them outside the bedroom doors. However, this year we have a fireplace, so I will probably have each person put them there.

A 13th-century Egyptian depiction of St. Nicholas fromSaint Catherine's MonasterySinai

We then tell the tale of how St. Nicholas saved three young girls who lacked in a dowry by filling their shoes with gold coins in the secret of the night. In the morning everyone (including mom and dad) awake to a sweet treat hidden in their shoes. I found chocolate coins at Trader Joe's this year, which are a bit healthier than your typical foil wrapped chocolate, but you can often find them in many grocery's bulk section.

My boys will be receiving new slippers this year as well, an idea I got from Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas, who gifts her children new shoes each year. Shoes aren't as practical for us, but with my money saving plans of keeping the heat below 65 in the house, slippers will be a blessing all around.


Food

There are cookie, cake, and dessert recipes galore out there - Google and ye shall find!

If your palate desires something more savory, here is a perfect plan for dinner:

Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor D'Avila-Latourrette has a lovely vegetable soup, which is perfect this year since St. Nicholas Day falls on a First Friday. Here is a link from the St. Nicholas Center that features that recipe if you don't own the book. I don't yet, but it is on my Christmas wish list. =)




Crafts + Activities

Collect canned goods or winter gear for a local soup kitchen. Have your children decide on something to give away they don't use any more or often.

There are many coloring sheet options here at the St. Nicholas Center website.

And WOW, want to make a St. Nicholas figure to decorate your family home alter or other space? They also have a list of great ideas! Too. Much. Fun.


To Read




Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer + illustrated by Chris Ellison


I have not read either of these stories about St. Nicholas as of yet, but I have heard excellent things about both from several sources.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
as Christmas draws near we commemorate the feast-day of your beloved Bishop and Saint, Nicholas.
We love and honour his memory because of his tender concern for children and for the poor.
We thank you for the merriment that his feast has brought down all the centuries.
We ask you from the bottom of our hearts to help us to remember, on his feast-day,
that we should try to retain the innocence of childhood and a sincere faith in you all our lives.
Show us, too, how to share the good things that we have with others,
and to imitate St Nicholas in generosity and goodwill.
We ask him to pray for us from his place in Heaven.
Amen.

Happy Feast Day of St. Nicholas to you and yours! I'd love to know some of your family's traditions - old and new, so please share in the comments your favorite things to do on this special day.


Sarah


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This post Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 4 December 2013


2 comments:

  1. We are just starting to establish traditions at the Casa. One thing we do throughout Advent is slowly decorate our tree. On the night before St. Nicholas' feast, we have a special St. Nicholas ornament that opens up and is hollow. We put that on the tree and then I fill it with treats and coins for the kids (and maybe us, too). We hadn't started with the shoe tradition but that is on our radar too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds awesome! How did it go? It's hard to find fun St. Nicholas gear, but your ornament sounds great.

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