St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (fourth century)

St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (fourth century)
Posted on 12/06/2017
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. ...
the stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there."
- Clement Clarke Moore

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of children.  He is protector of those whose lives and innocence remain threatened today, as they were in his time, by violence, poverty, and exploitation.  In many countries it is St. Nicholas who delivers presents to deserving children on his feast day.  In America and England this has evolved into Santa Claus bringing toys and presents to children on Christmas Eve.  
St. Nicholas was the hero of several legends one of which has him rescuing three young girls whose father, for want of a dowry, was about to sell them into prostitution.  Nicholas tossed three bags of gold through an open window, enough to pay the dowry of each of the sisters.  It is a tradition in German and Dutch households for the children to put shoes outside their bedroom door, which St. Nicholas would fill with goodies overnight.  

Pray for children, especially those who suffered from violence, poverty, and exploitation. Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him. (prayer from today’s Advent liturgy) St. Nicholas, pray for us.  St. John Berchmans, pray for us.  St. Ignatius, pray for us.

"Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus! There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence."
- Francis P. Church

"Once again St. Nicholas Day
Has even come to our hideaway;
it won't be quite as fun, I fear,
as the happy day we had last year.
Then we were hopeful, no reason to doubt
that optimism would win the bout,
and by the time this year came round,
we'd all be free, and safe and sound.
Still, let's not forget it's St. Nicholas Day,
though we've nothing left to give away.
We'll have to find something else to do:
so everyone please look in their shoe!?"
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl (She wrote the above as her family hid from Nazis Jewish hunters. Her family hid in the attic of their home for 25 months, until the Nazis discovered it and arrested the family sending them off to the concentration camps.)
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