Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra

Today, December 6th, is the long-awaited Feast of St. Nicholas.  The children all rushed downstairs this morning and found their shoes full of chocolate coins and surrounded by gifts - Playmobil Advent Calendars for the boys, a Playmobil fairy for Cecilia, a truck for the baby, and books for the elder children (including me!).  Elisabeth and I also got embroidery kits...mine is to embroider a pillow, and it's mostly ribbon embroidery, which I've never done before.

Anyway.  I'm supposed to be talking about St. Nicholas, not myself and my family.  He's rather well-known, so I don't think I need to give the whole story.  Suffice it to say that Nicholas was bishop of the city of Myra in Asia Minor in the third century A.D.  As with most saints, his feast is the anniversary of his death - St. Nicholas died today some 1,970-something years ago.

In case you're thinking that it's rather morbid to celebrate the day of someone's death, let me remind you that for the saints, it was definitely a joyous time!  Their deaths were just the beginning, and the Church has us celebrate them because the days on which they died were days when pure, unspotted souls rose straight to heaven.  If that's not something to celebrate, I don't know what is.

For more on St. Nicholas, here's a great article from Fisheaters on him.  They tell it better than I can, but for those of you who are too lazy to go clicking links (yes, I know you're out there!),  I'll quote the most famous tale here.  (This is from the 16th century book The Golden Legend):

And it was so that one, his neighbour, had then three daughters, virgins, and he was a nobleman: but for the poverty of them together, they were constrained, and in very purpose to abandon them to the sin of lechery, so that by the gain and winning of their infamy they might be sustained. And when the holy man Nicholas knew hereof he had great horror of this villainy, and threw by night secretly into the house of the man a mass of gold wrapped in a cloth. And when the man arose in the morning, he found this mass of gold, and rendered to God therefor great thankings, and therewith he married his oldest daughter.

And a little while after this holy servant of God threw in another mass of gold, which the man found, and thanked God, and purposed to wake, for to know him that so had aided him in his poverty. And after a few days Nicholas doubled the mass of gold, and cast it into the house of this man. He awoke by the sound of the gold, and followed Nicholas, which fled from him, and he said to him: Sir, flee not away so but that I may see and know thee.

Then he ran after him more hastily, and knew that it was Nicholas; and anon he kneeled down, and would have kissed his feet, but the holy man would not, but required him not to tell nor discover this thing as long as he lived.

I guess the man broke his promise and told, after all, because if he didn't, we wouldn't have this story. 

Well, happy feast of St. Nicholas, my dear readers!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the story! (I'm one of those lazies.... (; )


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