December 11, 2012

Christmas is a special time of year. The festive music, holiday parties, family gatherings, cookie baking, and of course the giving and receiving of gifts all make for a joyous season. Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, many of our traditions have come from the stories of the man called Saint Nicholas. I decided to do a little research on the legend of Saint Nicholas and found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you.

DSC03245It is said that Saint Nicholas was born into a privileged family in the land that is presently called Turkey. While he was still a child his religious parents died in an epidemic leaving him great wealth. It is believed that due to his religious background young Nicholas took to heart the scriptures that said “sell what you own and give your money to the poor,”(Matthew 19:21) because as the stories say he gave his inheritance to assist the needy, sick and suffering. He became known for his generosity to those in need and his particular love and kindness shown to children.

Very little is actually documented about Nicholas, therefore much of what is known has been passed down through stories. One story that stands out is of a family with three daughters. This family was poor and had no dowry for the girls which meant they would not be married and their future would be very grim. One night, the girls had washed their socks and hung them by the fire to dry. The next morning they each found a sack of gold in their sock which was believed to have been put there by Saint Nicholas.

It is said that such stories spread throughout the lands and encouraged many who were more privileged to give to those in need. It became a season of giving and celebration. It is unknown how accurate and true these stories may be, but the giving spirit should still stand out and be a reminder to all of us. The tradition of giving was shown as a kindness to those who needed something. Not wanted or liked, but needed. The gift made a significant difference in the lives of the receivers. You too can give such a gift through making a donation to SWAN and giving the gift of music to a vulnerable child.