Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy St. Nicholas Day

As Mahanoy at Street Prophets reminded us last night, today is the St. Nicholas Day. There are some stories about St. Nicholas on the Saint Nicholas Center web site. Tonight, at Advent candle time, I think I'll encourage the kids to think about how the stories can be "true on the inside"--what message these stories might have for us today.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

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 a young 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 for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
More here. The image of Saint Nicholas seen above is from the gallery on the Saint Nicholas Center web site.
Reposting the link to Rene's (Thankful's brother) candle page.

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