Today we are talking about the true Santa Claus, a man, who legend tells us, focused more on giving than receiving. I really like focusing on him because it is a small way to combat the commercialism of Christmas.
We’re also talking about St. Nicholas today because it gives us the opportunity to talk about what it means to be “good” and “generous”. Plus, although we have Santa Claus come to our house each year and enjoy the mythology, we want the kids to know the real historical person who inspires all the traditions we love so much.
We read St. Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer and Chris Ellison last night before bed. The book tells a bit about where Nicholas came from and what he did for others, especially children. One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value (a dowry). Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. At that time, unmarried women were usually sold into slavery. After telling Nicholas about his predicament, mysteriously, three bags of gold appeared in the man’s home providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, landed in stockings or shoes hung by the fire to dry.
After the story the kids asked to set out their shoes by the window with the hopes that they would be filled with treats (I was hoping they would do that!).
This morning we read the story again. And we are sketching a picture of “goodness” and/or “generosity”. Molly asked why some people believe in St. Nicholas and some people believe in Santa Claus and why some people don’t believe at all. That was really great! We got to talk about Belief. And Faith. After trying to explain that (wow, NOT an easy task), I refocused the kids on St. Nicholas’ generous example of giving in secret to those in need. And today we are going to identify a “Nicholas deed” to do for someone else.
Before we do, though, we are checking our shoes, which I am pretty sure contain these genuine chocolate gold coins.
Don’t we feel rich? May you feel rich and share it today too.