Joy, sharing gifts – Saint Nicholas Day

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

saint nicholasAs you may know, “Saint Nicholas became a priest, and later, a Bishop of the early Catholic Church. True to the Christian concept of giving up belongings and following Christ, St. Nicholas gave up all of his belongings.

“He was well known for giving to needy people, especially children. There are many stories and tales of him helping out children in need.”

What I had somehow missed, though, was that St. Nicholas Day commemorates his death on December 6th.”

Arthur linked to the Vlogbrothers’ call for more celebration. The AmeriNZ writes: “These days, people don’t celebrate enough… Most of us ignore the little things, and not so little things, that go on all the time. We need to celebrate the little things, the small victories, because they make the bigger ones possible.”

I think this is fundamentally true. And maybe it’s because the world is scary, and life can be difficult, I think it’s more important than ever.

Arthur also linked to an Apple video called Share Your Gifts. “In the ad, a young woman is creative, but won’t share her gift with the world until the dog intervenes. I have found this can happen in real life…

He wondered if “a certain subset of Americans would be outraged that the ad is called ‘Holiday’, but it really has nothing to do with any one particular holiday, does it?”

Well, maybe someone will take offense. But the Bible is filled with Scripture that discuss sharing gifts.

For instance, in 1 Corinthians 12 – that’s cited as 1st Corinthians, BTW – “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit…”

My Saint Nicholas Day wish is that we express joy, appreciating our gifts and the gifts of others. These could be wonderful presents that cost nothing in terms of money, but may pay dividends nonetheless.

St. Nick, the Real One

Is Saint Nicholas Day celebrated where you are?

I’m so fascinated by the various iterations of Christian gift-giving days, which stretch from about December 6, St. Nicholas Day in parts of Europe (it’s flexible) to January 6, Three Kings Day. Those dates, BTW, are the very earliest AND the very latest I’ll play what’s come to be known as Christmas music. Also intrigued by the guy who, at least partially, inspired Santa Claus.

From the Wikipedia:

“Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus. He was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra in Lycia, now in the Antalya Province of Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious man with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.

A great gift, indeed.

He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Germany) he is still portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari, wanting to enter the profitable pilgrimage industry of the times, mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Christian Saint and procure the remains. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was desecrated by Italian sailors and the spoils, including his relics, taken to Bari, where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout, thus justifying the economic cost of the expedition. Saint Nicholas became claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers and children to pawnbrokers. He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Liverpool, among many others.

The Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of St Nicholas’s bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that St Nicolas himself wanted to be buried in his episcopal town. They also state that his remains were illegally removed from Turkey.

Is Saint Nicholas Day celebrated where you are? I vaguely recall that, when I was growing up in upstate New York State, the kids of central and eastern European ancestry had another holiday before Christmas, which made me jealous, but I did not yet have the intellectual curiosity to get the details.
Oh, and remember You’re never too old to sit on Santa

Cookie Monster’s Letter to Santa

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