Near the start of every Advent, we celebrate the feast assertive that has perhaps had the largest influence of Christmas aside from Jesus himself. Saint Nicholas may be the man, myth and also the legend of Christmases present and past.
A man who through his passion for Christ spent his life generously helping others, we celebrate St. Nicholas each year on December 6. A bishop, friend, and penitent soul, the stories and legends left in the wake make us look to him in wonder.
If you're looking this season to split up the man in red from the birth of Christ, celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas is a great starting point. While he may indeed happen to be holly and jolly, there is lots more towards the real St. Nicholas than his rosy red cheeks and hearty laugh.
A little history on the big man
Born in the third century, in modern day Turkey, St. Nicholas lost his parents in a early age. He used the wealth he inherited to help the sick and poor in his village. He was especially generous with children. Giving generously and anonymously, he became well known for his good deeds.
St. Nicholas had an incredible life. He would be a bishop, endured prison and exile, as well as signed the Nicene Creed. But he's been memorialized around the world as a jolly old man with a long beard and red suit.
There are many legends of excellent deeds made by St. Nicholas which have helped shape traditions of celebrations over the years. Families, couples and individuals all over the world enjoy spending the 4 weeks of Advent celebrating good deeds.
Why celebrate St. Nicholas's feast day?
Leaving shoes in the hallway to fill with special trinkets is among the most popular activity to celebrate the feast of St. Nick. But are you aware that this fast day isn't intended to be celebrated by children alone?
St. Nicholas helped people of all ages, and would be thrilled to know that people to this day keep on the generosity of Christmastide. By celebrating him, we turn outward from ourselves and open our hearts more fully towards the coming of Christ by serving others.
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Celebrating St. Nicholas prepares our spirits for a season of giving. By serving and helping others, we mold our hearts to become unselfish and prepared for that coming in our savior. It's really a fun method to prepare for Christmas in a way that is centered on giving for the right reasons.
Celebrate with someone special
Church gatherings and homeschool groups aren't the only real ones having all the St.Nicholas fun this year! There are a lot of ways to celebrate the feast day like a couple, if you are a couple talking on an online dating app! Some activities to complete together include:
- Pray this prayer of impetration to St. Nicholas together
- Print off copies of this St. Nicholas prayer and challenge one another to depart them all over town
- Have a tournament! Print a St. Nicholas wordsearch and find out who finishes it first
- Pray this beautiful St. Nicholas Novena together
- Make and send your person some delicious St. Nicholas cookies
Feast days tend to be more fun when celebrated together, so don't hesitate to develop fun ways to do so. Advent is the best time to grow closer, if you are internet dating, to the person you're understanding.
Give back to the community
One of the most famous St. Nicholas legends is a story about three ladies who were going to be sold into slavery simply because they were too poor to marry. Without a dowry, these sisters had no promise of finding future spouses.
The story says that St. Nicholas tossed three bags of coins through a window one evening and they landed within the socks hanging over the fireplace. The girls' lives were changed forever for that reason one good and generous deed.
To truly inhabit the spirit of St. Nicholas this Advent, make a list of ways you are able to give back towards the community. Doing this with friends, family or a spouse can help allow it to be even more fun.
Nudge your web dating partner to join in the task too.
- Volunteer inside a soup kitchen
- Participate inside a giving tree at the Church
- Gift a relative or friend something anonymously
- Start a Secret Santa group, but refer to it as a Secret St. Nicholas group instead and share about his life
- Get a small group of people together to go caroling
Liven up your liturgical life
Are you upping your Mass attendance this Advent? Adding more rosaries to your calendar? Prayers for you day?
In Lent there isn't any lack of missions, and special offerings carved out especially for us to prepare our hearts for the passion of Christ. Are you benefiting from the same types of offerings in Advent?
They might not be as obvious because the stations and fish fries advertised throughout Lent, but they're there. Masses, rosaries, novenas and time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament are good methods to celebrate Advent.
St. Nicholas spent enough time focusing on his faith. It was through his time with and serving Christ, that he was given the spirit to help and share his generosity with other people. Use his feast day as a kick off for an Advent season like you haven't experienced before!
End the entire year on a positive note
What difficult this season continues to be. So how incredible it is to send it out on a high note. This Advent, let St. Nicholas lead you by his example.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, keep his spirit of giving at the heart of the Christmas season. Find joy by giving joy to others. You won't be disappointed.
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