Puppet Planet

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Promoting the Good, Saint Nicholas!

In anticipation of the feast (December 6) of the great bishop and saint, Nicholas, I’d like to pass a great website on to you.

The St. Nicholas center at www.stnicholascenter.org delivers an array of ideas and activities to revive an interest in this beloved saint.

St. Nicholas and his modern iteration, Santa Claus, is beloved by people in not only the Catholic Church, of which I am a lifetime member, but also by folks in Orthodox and Protestant denominations, people from the East and the West. He’s a saint who can truly bring people from all over the world together to celebrate that which is our reason for living – preparing for and heralding return of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

As the folks at the Saint Nicholas Center put it:

“As a saint, Nicholas is a pattern for faithful living. As a cultural icon, he reaches beyond the church into the culture. Discovering the truth about Santa Claus—a person of faith whose love for God led to concern for the needy and vulnerable—can assist those searching for more meaning in the often stressful and frantic holiday seasons. St. Nicholas helps us all to focus beyond ourselves.”

Read you children one of their stories like this popular tale on the kind, generous bishop who gave us our modern day Santa Claus.

St. Nicholas and the Thief

by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, collected in Deutsch Sagen

In the town of Greifswald, in medieval Pomerania, there was a statue of Saint Nicholas in the Chapel of St. Gertrude. One night a thief broke into the chapel to rob the poor box. The thief called to the saint, “O Holy Nicholas, is it my money or yours? Let’s race to the poor box and whoever gets there first will be the winner!”

With that, the thief started to run towards the box. However, the statue also ran, beating the thief to the box.

The thief cried out, “My Holy Nicholas, you won fair and square, but the money is of no use to you. You are just a piece of wood, you don’t need anything. I will take the money and make merry.”

Not long after, the thief died and was buried in the churchyard. The Devil came from Hell, took the body out of the grave, and threw it down by the empty poor box. Then the Devil took the body out of town and hung it on a windmill. There it blew around and around, going against the wind. This windmill was still standing in 1633 and always turned in the opposite direction from the other windmills that were driven naturally by the wind.

Legend tells that wherever the devil’s foot touched the ground, the fresh grass was scorched and deep footprints remained. When followed, the tracks stopped abruptly and grass never grew in them again. Eventually the whole church and graveyard, which had been a major pilgrimage site, was buried and became part of the fortress walls.
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, #134 “Der Heilige Niklas und der Dieb,” Deutsche Sagen, Zeno.org. German text is public domain.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!!

Yours,

Karen J.