Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Two Sundays of Advent have passed, thus two candles of the advent wreath have been lit.
The advent calendar accompanied by evening readings have begun.
The Christmas tree is decorated and Maceo has had his Christmas choir performance.
Today we woke to our first snow and we ventured forth in the snow to view a performance of 'A Christmas Story' at our community theatre. It was well done and verrrry funny!
And now, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day!

Nicholas was born toward the end of the third century and died in Myra in the year 342.
He was born to wealthy parents who raised him to be a devout Christian. His parents died in an epidemic while he was young. "Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering." He devoted his life to serving God and was known for his generosity to those in need and for his love of children.
There are many legends surrounding St. Nicholas. "One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value - a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that the woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home - providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols of Saint Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver." (stnicholascenter.org).

We celebrated this day with a little pizza (always a favorite around here). I added a 'miter' to the pizza to tie it in to the St. Nicholas 'theme'. In order to have a more balanced meal, I also served raw vegetables.

For dessert we had St. Nicholas sugar cookies and almond speculatius.

As gifts for the boys, I made chocolate Santas into St. Nicks by adding a miter and a crozier.
They make me smile!

I also provided a basket of traditional goodies - candy canes, oranges, and bags of chocolate coins.

It was delightful!
And we pray that, as St. Nicholas did, we will be mindful of the needs of those around us and will seek to meet those needs with a generous spirit!

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