Santa Claus – The Man the Legend…

The Legend of St. Nicholas
The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland. (ref. http://www.history.com)

Throughout the years and across cultures, St. Nicholas has taken on new looks. After the American Revolution, the term Santa Claus was adopted by Americans from the Dutch. Artists and poets began to paint the picture of a jolly giving man with a red suit.

My favorite image of Santa is the praying Santa. This for me encompasses the truth and the fantasy we find at Christmas. Please praying santaunderstand that the MOST important reason for any celebration at Christmas is the miraculous birth of the Lord; that being made the priority, consider how Santa can fold into this time and celebration.

As stated above, the man of Saint Nicholas was a faithful, giving man who looked out for “the least of these.” He gave up his wealth in caring for others. Sounds like characteristics he modeled from Christ.

As far as allowing our children to believe in the “jolly elf” who comes down the chimney, ask yourself this: in our world there is so much joy-robbing, negative, fast-paced, cynical information and attitudes why not allow our children the magic and fun of Santa Claus coming to bring gifts? We allow our children to have imaginary friends and pretend tea parties; why not allow them to enjoy the fun of Santa? As our children mature they outgrow those wonders of childhood anyway. With the right guidance there will be the appropriate shift from the fantasy of Santa to the forgiveness of Christ.

I do believe in all that Saint Nicholas lived for and the Savior he followed. I have learned to manage the hustle and bustle of this season to make room to remember the wonder of Christ’s birth; to truly take in the profoundness of His birth that set motion a new destiny for eternity.

Think about it,
KK

6 Things I’m grateful for – One at a Time – Number 1

sqeasy vegetable soupThanksgiving Soup

I’ve been thinking a lot about what todays grateful item would be.  Reading over the previous five I am hopeful that much more of what I’m thankful for has been woven throughout.  I didn’t want today’s post to be the typical things like faith, family and friends.  You did read those things into the other posts, right?  If not, here they are; I am very thankful for my faith the holds me steady, my family that always stands firm with me, and my friends who encourage me and add so much to my life.

Today’s post is what I like to call Thanksgiving soup – a bunch of little things that are full of goodness and laughter that come together to give great flavor to my world.  It’s the simplest of things and people I encounter each day.  Times and encounters that can’t be plan, Fate brings them together.  We need to be paying attention to catch them.

This morning I got up to watch the Macy’s Day Parade – a Thanksgiving tradition of mine for many years.  Jay got up with me and we enjoyed a cup of hot tea, the Rockettes, and marching bands from all over the country.  About half way through, Cole got up and joined us.  There the three of us snuggled on the couch, laughing and playfully enjoying some fun.   It is these moments I have grown old enough and wise enough to cherish in my heart.  You can’t trade them.

I won’t bore you with the hundreds of other examples of the simple pleasures in life for which I am thankful.  But I will encourage you to slow down enough to enjoy a few for yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving.

All the best,

KK

I Caved…

So you know I feel strongly about giving Thanksgiving its due honor.  I do.  Our lives can get so cluttered that we don’t slow down often enough to give thanks.  In protecting this 24-hour vigil of gratefulness, typically I don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  Let’s face it, Christmas music the day after Halloween is a plot by retailers to get us shopping early and often (just ask Lucy from the Peanuts).

Well, this year I caved.  The second week of November I was flipping radio stations and there was one of my favorites was playing, “What Child is This?” – such a wonderful melodic song describing the gentleness of our Savior.  I was drawn in and then I was hooked.   So many of the Christmas songs are as praiseful as many of the worship songs we sing in Church.

Sunday in church we had a guest worship leader, Michael O’Brien, an outstanding pianist and man of God.  The pre-Thanksgiving michael oChristmas music listening slope steepened when I found out that his Christ-mas CD was available.  UUUGGGHHH.  Let’s face it, I didn’t have a chance, there was no going back.  The CD is great, and full of Christ-centered music that celebrates His arrival.  Check out all of Michael’s music at www.michaelo.org (free shipping).

True confessions, my iphone, ipod and ipad are now fully loaded with Christmas music.  You will find me in traffic (when alone in my car) singing at the top of my lungs as if I’m right there with the likes of Margaret Cloud while she sings one of my other favorites, “Oh Holy Night” or with Whitney Houston singing “Little Drummer Boy.”  Ok, full confession is that when I’m alone cleaning (or cooking) it’s the whole singing and dancing thing.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for the joy that music brings and the transformational message of Christmas.

All the best,

KK

P.S. — The Christmas movies stay in the box until the 29th!  I think.  I’m going to try…