As we celebrate today the patron saint of sailors, children, unmarried girls, bakers and pawnbrokers, we take a moment to mention one of the (many) traditions associated with his legend.
When his popularity spread to Northern Europe, the celebration of his feast was marked by children leaving a shoe outside their doors, hoping for a treat in the morning. Perhaps the American custom of hanging stockings evolved from this European tradition!? In our school's homeroom bulletin for 5 December, students were informed that each homeroom could expect a surprise from the Student Government if one shoe (or boot, perhaps?) was left outside the door at the beginning of homeroom. Stay tuned for a report on the surprise!
Fun and games aside, St. Nicholas is honored for many miraculous deeds. The miracles attributed to him -- from saving sailors to delivering dowries -- point toward the kindness he showed those whom he served. Some legends recount the miraculous raising to life of murdered children; others suggest he battled Arius face-to-face. On this side of eternity we will not know the truth about this fourth century bishop of Myra, modern-day Turkey. We can be sure, however, that his fidelity to the office of bishop and his faith in Jesus Christ were steadfast.
For parents (and others) looking for a good Christian message and some balanced St. Nicholas vs. Santa resources, click here.