Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kind Old Man St. Nicholas Dear....

...Come to my house this year! Aidan was anxious to get started shining Papa's shoes last evening. The rest of the children joined in later.

For years now this first full weekend in December has been a very busy one - this year is no exception. It is always the date of our youth orchestra's winter concert and Ed facilitates a student group at the local high school that puts on a prom for the senior citizens. Today there are rehearsals and auditions for state honor choir, oh, and a garden pickup too... and Mass! Whew!

Today will be busy but once again St. Nicholas has brought us something special that will certainly help keep a smile on our faces. To get us through we'll have dried cranberries, figs, and cherries. We'll be sure to take a few pieces of the candied ginger with us too. And to start us off Papa awoke in the wee hours to get some St. Nicholas boots ready for us to go with the usual citrus fruit and mixed nuts the good Saint brings for breakfast.

To help keep Mama sane today as we drive around from here to there and all around I will enjoy this CD I purchased with some other music for the Advent season. It is beautiful! And finally when all is done we will snuggle up with the book with which I first fell in love with St. Nicholas - St. Nicholas' Travels by Hertha Pauli. I first found this book in our local library but I finally bought a used copy of my own. After all is said and done today we'll snuggle in bed and hear the story of when St. Nicholas met Constantine the Great, and of their attendance at the Council of Nicaea.

In this story we hear how this good Saint, who is so associated with the Feast of Christmas never had a Christmas - the bishops at the council were in doubt as to when the observance of the Nativity should take place - it had happened "in the days of Herod" - but could it have been a spring day? the shortest day of the year? the day when the Magi visited Bethlehem?

"The Bishop Nicholas of Myra did not live to see the question settled. He never saw a Christmas. He died as he lived, a faithful servant of God. He prayed on his deathbed as he had prayed in the cell at Nicaea, and here, too, the light of Heaven was suddenly round him and the three angels descended again, to receive his soul."

Is it any wonder then that the good Bishop comes each year to teach us something about keeping Christmas!

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