Monday, December 5, 2011

Saint Nicholas

No child really understands what they have in their family lines until they are cultured and mature enough to realize it later in life. Such is the case for me. My paternal grandmother is a born-and-raised German who moved here after she married my grandfather in 1958. She not only brought her thick accent and some wooden cooking spoons, but also her German holiday traditions.
Thus, I grew up celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.

Every December 5th eve, my sisters and I would run to find the biggest shoe possible to set outside our bedroom doors. We knew, without a doubt, that St. Nicholas would visit us in our slumber and fill our shoe with a new pair of socks, chocolates, and perhaps a small toy. One year I was even adamant that more goodies could be stuffed into a sandal than a regular sneaker. It goes without saying that we were always jealous of the size of Dad's shoe.

Saint Nicholas was the only son born to wealthy, Christian parents in Asia Minor. His parents died when he was just a lad, and he was raised by his uncle (also by the name of Nicholas). It is reported that Nicholas was interested in religious studies from an early age. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. The legend of Santa Claus evolved from the habits of Saint Nicholas.

There are a few weird legends reported about Saint Nicholas as well.
Catholics and Orthodox Christians have different views on his importance as a human.

My parents have instilled the tradition of Saint Nicholas in me.
After I moved away to college I would get a "St. Nicholas" package every first week of December.
And yes, my shoe is set outside my bedroom door tonight.

Though shoe-filling in our family is a mere tradition,
we can all be inspired by the memory of the man who secretly gave gifts.

1 comment:

Memoirs of a Bert said...

A very good post! I enjoyed it thoroughly!!