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The Legend of St. Nicholas

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

In many European countries, today is St. Nicholas Eve. No, not that St. Nick! Alive during the fourth century, Nicholas was born in Patara, an ancient seaport city. He traveled, he was imprisoned, even persecuted, but he survived. 

Nicholas' main goal in life was to be kind and generous to everyone, including the poor and needy. He has many legends attributed to him. A quick google search reveals that after his death, people attributed various stories to him regarding the assistance of sailors, children, the poor, and more. 

The reality is, we have few historical facts about his life, but we do know that he was very generous and kind. We remember his kindness and generosity on his feast day, the day that he died, which is actually December 06. 

The modern day Santa Claus is actually based off of the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, as he was credited to give to the poor and children whenever he could. He helped make sure that those without had food and clothing. 

Our Santa Claus' from around the world model kindness, joy, and even peace through acts of gift-giving and caring for neighbor. We actually get the title "Santa Claus" from the Dutch word "Sinter Klaas", which was once Sanct Herr Nicholas. 

In many parts of the world tonight, children will lay out shoes in hopes of finding gifts. Oranges, chocolate coins, little toys, and more may be found in shoes and stockings. 

Today is all about giving, rather than receiving. Giving hope, giving joy, giving a glimmer of love to those who are in major need during a season that can seem bleak and dark. 

How can you help someone in your community this week? Food Pantries, Angel Trees, Bill Payment Assistance, and much more are all great ways to spread a little bit of joy and love. 

Your kiddos can join in on the fun by asking them to pick toys they no longer play with, pick out clothing that no longer fits, make cards for those who physically can't experience the holidays, or visit a neighbor and offer to help set up their Christmas tree or decorations. 

No matter whether your household believes in the magic of Santa, or believes in the real life historical person St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, you can still spread a little bit of love and joy this season by being kind, being generous, and compassionate.

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