Sunday, December 06, 2009
Happy Saint Nicholas Day!
St. Nicholas Day is a wonderfully Catholic way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Many cultures put out their shoes the night before to be filled with candy and sweets.
Some parents like to use St. Nicholas day as an opportunity to help kids focus on the true meaning of Christmas by "filling their shoes" with a Christian book, coloring book, or DVD related to Christ's birth. One I always found particularly helpful was Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa. It tells the story of St. Nicholas and how he grew up to become the bishop who's generosity has grown into the legend of Santa Claus.
It is important, in my opinion, to teach children that Christmas is not about getting presents and not even about Santa. From a religious, historical and cultural standpoint, Christmas, even the "Santa aspect" of Christmas is decidedly Catholic and religious and, therefore, points to Christ through His Church.
Today, our priest blessed candy canes (mentioning in the prayer that the shape is that of St. Nicholas' bishop's crook or staff) and gave them out to the children after Mass.
The Feast of St. Nicholas is one of the many beautiful feasts of the Church that ties in beautifully with the celebration of Christmas.
May his spirit remain in our hearts throughout the year.