On Sunday, December 6, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas! Saint Nicholas lived in what is modern-day Turkey during the third century. Raised in a wealthy family, he had special compassion for those who had very little. A story of generosity attributed to Saint Nicholas involves his secretly paying with gold coins the dowry of three young sisters so that they could marry. The coins are said to have been thrown through the window and landed in shoes left out to dry. Saint Nicholas, eventually a bishop, also had compassion for youth, making him the patron saint of children.
There are many traditions surrounding the Feast of Saint Nicholas. In our home, on the eve of the Feast Day, each member of the family gathers for family prayer with a pair of his or her shoes. All of the shoes are placed in a pile and each person takes two shoes belonging to two different family members. We sit in a circle and as we return each shoe to its rightful owner we say, “(Name), may you have a generous and compassionate heart, just like Saint Nicholas.” After asking for the intercession of the saint, we leave our shoes out to be filled overnight. Saint Nicholas brings each child a Christmas ornament, chocolate gold coins, oranges, and other treats and items to help continue the celebration of Advent, a special story book or a nativity play set.
Saint Nicholas, pray for us. What are your family’s traditions for this Feast Day?