Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

St. Nicholas Day

Hey, did you know (or remember) that Wednesday, December 6th was St. Nicholas Day? I knew it and remembered it but forgot to post about it. Because I still don’t have a lot of time to post about it, due to busy Christmas preparations, I recommend this website to you and your family. Aside from being filled with beautiful artwork, it is extremely informative about the history of the man behind the whole idea/persona of our modern-day Santa Claus. In fact, on a page entitled “St. Nicholas and the Origin of Santa Claus,” I found this question:
How did the kindly Christian saint, good Bishop Nicholas, become a roly-poly red-suited American symbol for merry holiday festivity and commercial activity?
I don’t’ know about you but, as a teenager, I had that question (or some version of it) rolling around in my head almost every Christmas. Back then, I would have loved to learn something like this:
The first Europeans to arrive in the New World brought St. Nicholas. Vikings dedicated their cathedral to him in Greenland.
Or this:
On his first voyage, Columbus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas on December 6, 1492.
Or how about this:
The first Colonists, primarily Puritans and other Protestant reformers, did not bring Nicholas traditions to the New World.
Those pesky Puritans, what were they thinking? :-) My favorite part of the website, though, is “How to Celebrate.” There, I found this:
Why Celebrate St. Nicholas Day?
- To tell the story of a Christian saint, who model life inspires compassion and charity
- To reveal the true identity of Santa Claus and Father Christmas
- To focus on giving more than on receiving
- To emphasize small treats and family fun
- To provide a bit of special festivity early in the waiting weeks of Advent
- To offer a spiritual dimension to gift giving
- To help keep Jesus the center of Christmas
and this:
Why celebrate? To learn about the true St. Nicholas: the man of faith who lived his life in devotion to Christ. Saint Nicholas loved children and cared for the needy. He brings the love of Christ... When we honor this saint, following his example of selfless giving, we honor the Christ Child who selflessly gave the greatest gift of all --- himself.
And isn’t that the most important issue: remembering that Christ is our Savior?

Merry Christmas!

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