Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On the Feast of St. Nicholas

German St. Nicholas postcard
 from The St. Nicholas Center
Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas.  I have been looking forward to celebrating this special Advent feast day with my kids for the first time.  In my mind, the Feast of St. Nicholas is a great time to reflect and revisit a joyful, grateful motivation behind the gift giving season.  I am hoping to share that gift giving spirit with my kids.  

This year, I decided that we would celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas by giving Salvation Army Angel Tree gifts to children in need.  St. Nicholas is someone who loves Jesus very much and showed his love for God by giving gifts to others in need, especially children.  How wonderful would it be, I explained to G-Bear and E-Bear, if we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas by sharing gifts with needy children the way he did!  I chose two Angel Tree cards that matched G-Bear's and E-Bear's age and bought two age-appropriate presents for each of them to give.  

I must admit that I am nervous about how this will go over.  I am obviously a novice parent in this regard.  The gifts I chose for our Angel Tree children are similar to ones that we are already blessed to have in our playroom, but (unfortunately?) just different enough to be novel. I want this feast day celebration to foster the joy of giving for my kids, not fester feelings of envy.

Yesterday, I showed the kids the gifts we would be giving.  I asked them if they thought the toys would be good presents for a boy and girl like them who didn't have any toys to play with.  They both agreed that the presents were great.  They were also quick to mention that they didn't have those toys either.  

So today, pray for my novice parenthood attempt, our trip to the store to drop off the gifts, and most importantly, for us all to have generous hearts like St Nicholas'.  Today, G-Bear and E-Bear will each get to carry their toy bag into the store and give it to the clerks.  We have discussed how happy the children's families will be when the store calls to tell them that G-Bear and E-Bear have brought gifts for the children.  We have also discussed how we will celebrate our feast day gift giving at home after our drop off: by making special St. Nicholas coloring pages and decorating Christmas cookies together.  And finally, we have talked about how, at the end of Advent, we will be so blessed to celebrate Baby Jesus' birthday (God's great gift to us!) on Christmas Day, together as a family, with presents for each other.

Thank you, Lord, for St. Nicholas and for the legacy he left.  May our hearts overflow with love for you and our neighbor.

1 comment:

lotsofjoyfulnoise said...

I think it is so great that you are doing this with the kids! What a blessing for them to learn generosity at such a young age, and what a blessing for the children who receive the gifts (and their parents).