Monday, December 6, 2010

Feast Day: St. Nicholas and a big step on our Advent journey to Christmas

We love St. Nicholas' Feast Day!  This is a big step on our Advent journey toward Christmas.  This is the day that the good Saint fills children's shoes and hearts with the love and spirit of giving of the Christmas Season!

Now, this is how we do things around here [and please understand that this is what works for us and altho I enjoy your suggestions, please don't "dis" my way of doing things]:

On St. Nick's Eve (that would be last night) the family each put out a shoe (the bigger the better the younger you are) and a note to St. Nick.  The note details what the wishes are for Christmas ... and the older ones do a bit of an examination of conscience since only the good Saint will see the letter.  This is a good chance for all of us to think about how we can empty ourselves of the bad and re-fill with the good before the coming of the Christ Child. 
The next morning (that would be today) the letters are gone and the shoes are filled with some gold-covered chocolate coins (in rememberance of St. Nick's helping of the dowerless girls), a candy cane (to represent the Bishop Nicholas' crook), and a book -- either a push-the-limits reading book, an activity book, or a religious book.  This year the good Saint included:
St. Nicholas is WELL-LOVED around here.  He is also our Santa ... yes, we do still believe in Santa around here and would hope that all well-meaning adults and precocious children who think they know "the truth" would be sure and not tell our kids otherwise. 

See, we believe in the magic of the season ... that St. Nicholas is a model of goodness and charity and self-giving ... that St. Nicholas is the one who fulfilled the needs of the dowerless girls, the almost-lost-at-sea sailors, the nearly killed boys in the barrel ... and that he continues to bring goodness and charity at this time of year.  So yes, the family writes letters asking for Wiis or dolls or cameras or whatever ... and yes, on Christmas morning there will be surprises that engender comments like "no way, Mom and Dad got us that!"   This is all part of the Christmas Magic that I've always believed in ... and will continue to encourage in my own children. 

Now, obviously, as the kids get older, they "know" ... but they get into the spirit of the season and don't ruin it for their younger siblings.  And it truly is amazing to see the surprises that often end up under the tree ... or come during the season .... things that "no way we could afford" but would REALLY like ...

So, believe in the magic and celebrate St. Nicholas and his spirit with us from now thru the Christmas season!

BTW, we'll be making St. Nicholas Soup for dinner (thanks to Twelve Months of Monastery Soups), homemade crusty bread, and finishing off with St. Nicholas Purse Cookies and tea.  What more could you want on a blustery, early Winter evening? 

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