Today is St. Nicholas day. An Italian friend of mine introduced me to this tradition when my kids were young and I remember it every year. It is known as the Festa di San Nicola. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated by putting shoes outside the bedroom doors or hanging an empty stocking by the fireplace on the evening of December 5. St. Nicholas then comes during the night. On the morning of December 6, those people find their shoes/stockings filled with gifts and sugary treats.
St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop in the Catholic church. He was raised in a wealthy household to be a devout Christian. His parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to aid the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God. Bishop Nicholas became known for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Bishop Nicholas also suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.
Although my family does not celebrate St. Nicholas day, I enjoy remembering it because it reminds me to be joyful about giving.
“Be as generous with the Lord as he has been with you.” – Sirach 35:12
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