There once was a young boy named Nicholas, who was born during the third century. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need.
One story of St. Nicholas tells of a poor man with three daughters. This poor man’s daughters, who had no dowry, were 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 for St. Nicholas.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating St. Nicholas Day:
- We could all stand to be a little more like St. Nicholas. Here is a boy, whose world dramatically changed when his parents died. He could have let this beat him down. He could have drowned in self-pity. Instead, he relied on his faith and did whatever he could to help those who were even less fortunate then himself. Let’s get good at turning life around and focusing on what we have, and less on what we have lost or don’t have.
- Today, we have the image of Santa Clause and we give gifts to the people we know and love. But what about our giving to those less fortunate then ourselves? Canadians are donating less each year. The average annual amount per donor is less than $500 with the median amount under $150. With the economy the way that it is, the demand within most charities has increased while their donations have decreased. Make a difference in the lives of someone less fortunate than you. It doesn’t take a lot to have a huge impact.
In 1998, my youngest son was due to arrive on Christmas Day. We decided that boy or girl, their name would honour St. Nicholas as he was our blessed gift. Nickolas arrived safely on December 22. Gifts are all around us, but it is up to us to recognize them in our lives.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!