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Saturday, December 5, 2015

St. Nicolas Day

Growing up we always celebrated St. Nicolas Day (December 6th) by placing our shoes on the doorstep and waiting for St. Nicolas to fill them with little gifts. My brother and I would try to "catch" my mom or dad filling the shoes but we never once did. 

"St. Nicholas is Nicholas of Myra, whose life spanned from the late third to the mid fourth centuries. He lived in present-day southern Turkey. 

The reputation of being a man of good deeds preceded him throughout the Christian world; some of the acts attributed to St. Nicholas include him providing dowries for three young women to save them from falling into prostitution, saving innocent people from execution, and feeding the poor during famines.

He strongly lived out Jesus' command to 'give all you have to the poor' and he did so, helping those who were most vulnerable: women and the poor. He lived the command to 'love your neighbor as yourself' by example." (source)  

St. Nicolas was said to have dropped little treasures in shoes of the poor when they were left at the door step at night, hence the reason so many use shoes, though several others fill their family stockings, instead of waiting until Christmas. The tradition varies with each family, with each culture.

We put the shoes on the doorstep or under the tree. It's filled with simple little trinkets, really. This year it's a piece of chocolate, some warm socks, and chap stick. And yet the kids love it. We tell the story of St. Nicolas beforehand and the excitement is palpable.

It's a way to make advent a more important time than just focusing on Christmas Day. What are some of your family traditions?    

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