Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St. Nicholas Day: Do You Celebrate This Advent Saint?

I didn't grow up celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and we never truly celebrated it with our sons.  How do you celebrate this feast day? This year, we are celebrating.

Our sons did grow up listening to me read them a book called "The True Story of Saint Nicholas,"  (published by Pauline Books and Media) and so they always have known that Santa Claus once was a real man, a Turkish man, a bishop who cared for the poor.  Years ago, that book was a way to reclaim Saint Nicholas from the garish commercialization of what I call Consumer Christmas. This year, I am doing trying in earnest what I can to mark the Advent season in our home. Re-enter Saint Nicholas, amid the flurry of our boys' math homework, basketball practices, chamber music rehearsals and National Honor Society essays.

I've bought small gifts and candies for our teen sons' stockings. The kitchen right now smells of Speculaas Koekjes, or Dutch spice cookies. The boys can eat them after school on Thursday. Tomorrow I am making a Candy "Crozier" Coffee Cake we all can enjoy Thursday morning for breakfast. I swiped many of my ideas from the awesome website: www.stnicholascenter.org.

Our younger son's religious education teacher gave out candy canes (which are a symbol of his crozier) and prayer cards about St. Nicholas. I hope we will read it together Thursday night. I wonder if my family is too old to start some new traditions. I hope not. I do know of no teenaged boy, however, who ever turned down a sweet treat.

God of joy and cheer,
we thank you for your servant,
the good bishop Nicholas.
In loving the poor,
he showed us your kindness;
in caring for your children,
he revealed your love.
Make us thoughtful
without need of reward
so that we, too, may be good
followers of Jesus.

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