feast of saint Nicholas
Genesis, Chapter 28, Verse 17
He was afraid and said, 'How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than the abode of God, and this is the gate of heaven!'
This verse is about Jacob, who was the grandson of Abraham and he was on a journey to the ancestral home of Abraham, Haran. During this journey he had a dream while sleeping in the desert that put him in a Holy fear. Almost all fear is destructive but holy fear is the beginning of wisdom and prepares one to do the will of God. A holy fear helps us to have a great respect for life in all its stages from the child that goes in the mother’s womb to the elderly that are approaching their end of life. Holy fear also encompasses a great respect for the earth and all its creatures. The earth in its grandeur reminds us of the awe of our God. Make plans to go out to some awe-inspiring place to experience heavens gates. Holy fear compels us to protect others and nature; realizing that the earth and each life in it are sacred and deserving of protection.
St. Nicholas Feast Day (270–343)—December 6
From the ninth century in the East and the eleventh century in the West, Nicholas has been one of the most popular saints in Christendom and in Christian art and is the patron of many countries, dioceses, churches, and cities. He was a Greek bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). According to folklore, he may have saved three girls from prostitution, restored to life three children who had been killed, and saved three unjustly condemned men from death. While some sources say that he may have been imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution, there is no historical certainty that he suffered persecution for his faith. Likewise, while some sources place him at the Council of Nicaea in 325, it is uncertain if he attended. His charity to the poor is commemorated in modern times by those who follow the tradition of stuffing a boot or a stocking with gifts on his feast day. “Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch form of his name, “Sinterklaas.” He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, and children.
Things to Do
· Today is a good day to teach your children the difference between Santa Claus and St. Nicholas. This story of the origin of will help you. Also learn all you can about .
· Read .
· Choose some of the recommended activities — a puppet show, a party, a visit from "St. Nicholas." Make sure to include in all the activities the story of St. Nicholas, virtues to imitate, and his significance in the Advent season. Read how different countries .
· To enhance your feasting, purchase a copy of the CD by the Anonymous 4 . This is medieval music, all in honor of St. Nicholas, done by four female vocalists.
· There are numerous recipes to enhance this feast, anything from a soup to dessert, so have fun in the kitchen trying different ones.
· St. Nicholas did his charitable works secretly. Suggest that your children do one hidden act of kindness in imitation of the saint.
· From the Netherlands we have the most popular recipe, speculaas (or St. Nicholas Cookies; Speculaus; Speculatius; Kris Kringle Cookies; Dutch spice cookies). You can find tips for using special by Gene Wilson. Try these sites for St. Nicholas Cookie cutters or molds: , , , and . You could also use Nativity Cookie Cutters, like these from .
There are three stages of man: 1st you believe in Santa Claus; 2nd you don’t believe in Santa Claus and 3rd you become Santa Claus!
Food and Drink
It should always be remembered that like Lent, Advent is a period of penitence and sacrifice. Prior to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, in fact, the Roman church observed a fast (albeit one much less demanding than the Lenten fast), and prior to Vatican II it continued to require fasting during the Advent Embertide. It is therefore a salubrious custom to practice some kind of abstinence (e.g. giving up a favorite food) during Advent as a sober reminder of the season. Yet because it anticipates the Nativity, Advent cannot help but be suffused with joy as well. Traditional treats, especially on St. Nicholas Day (December 6) and during the "Golden Nights" (December 16 to 24), have long been a part of Advent observance. These hints of celebration have nothing to do with the ungodly bacchanalia of the annual Christmas party at the office or on the block and can therefore be made part of a holy preparation for the Lord.
Cookies: traditional treat during Advent, especially on St. Nicholas Day and during the octave before Christmas. Springerles or Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse) are popular in Germany, Diples ("folds," for the infant Jesus' swaddling clothes) in Greece, and Speculaas cookies (on St. Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands.
Drinks: there are special holiday drinks to toast the imminent arrival of the Christ Child. Eggnog and Rum pots are especially popular during the Octave before Christmas or the Golden Nights (see ), while Swedish mulled wine or Bishop's wine is drunk on St. Nicholas Day (December 6).
Fruitcake: alcoholic content and heavy texture, fruitcakes are the preferred winter treat for many adults. Again, the kind of fruitcake will various according to nationality. Do not use this as a frienemy gift!
Advent is an excellent time to reflect and believe and reflect on the promises of God!
35 Promises of God
1. “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”-Ps 50:15
2. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”-Proverbs 3:5-6
3. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”-Jer 29:11
4. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”-Matt 11:28-29
5. “He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
6. “God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”-Phil 4:19
7. “Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”-Matt 6:31-33
8. “Those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”-Proverbs 1:33
9. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”-John 14:27
10. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”-Rom 10:9
11. “So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
12. “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”-1 Cor 10:13
13. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”-James 4:7
14. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.”-Ps 34:17
15. “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”-Is 41:10
16. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
17. “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
18. “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.”-Proverbs 22:6
19. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”
20. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
21. “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”-Is 54:10
22. “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”-Josh 1:9
23. “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.”-John 14:13-16
24. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
25. “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” -Ps 32:8
26. “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.”
27. “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”-1 John 5:14
28. “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.”-James 5:14-15
29. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”-John 3:16
30. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 8:38-39
31. “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”-Deut 31:6
32. “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away”
33. “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
– John 11:25-26
– John 11:25-26
34. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.”-Ps 84:11
35. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”-Ps 37:4
49 Godly Character Traits
As we begin the Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:
Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness
The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)
1723 The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love:
All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability. . . . It is a homage resulting from a profound faith. . . that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a second. . . . Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world - it may be called "newspaper fame" - has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration.
1728 the beatitudes confront us with decisive choices concerning earthly goods; they purify our hearts in order to teach us to love god above all things.
1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between "the two ways" and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets."
The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the "new commandment" of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.
The Way Heart
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
Tell me: is that... a friendship, or is it a fetter?
· Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy today.
· St. Nicholas was known for his abundant generosity to the poor, pray for an end to global poverty.
· Is there a Giving Tree or an Angel Tree at your church or office? Consider purchasing gifts for the less fortunate in your community this season. Make it a family adventure with a special shopping trip for those less fortunate than your family. Consider visiting fair trade shops in your shopping travels.