Karin Mittman

On December 6, many countries in Europe celebrate the tradition of St. Nicholas. Every child cleans and polishes a shoe and places it outside his or her bedroom door or the front door of the house. St. Nicholas comes during the night and, if the child has been good, leaves gifts and small treats in the shoe.

devozine St. Nicholas3 TSP 139903363Who was this St. Nicholas, who has now morphed into our modern day Santa Claus? During the third century, Nicholas was born in a Greek village to wealthy parents, who died when he was young. Nicholas took to heart Jesus’ command to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:12–25: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor.” He dedicated his life to serving God and used his entire inheritance to help the destitute, sick, and suffering. Nicholas was named Bishop of Myra (in present-day Turkey) and was known for his generosity and his love for children. He died on December 6, 343 a.d. and was buried in his cathedral church.

“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:21c (NIV)





WALK IN THE SHOES OF ST. NICHOLAS: Today is St. Nicholas Day! Think of ways to be intentional about giving away some of your stuff, giving to the poor, or being helpful to others this Christmas season. And consider starting a new tradition with your family members. Tonight or sometime before Christmas, ask each of them to place a clean shoe outside his or her bedroom door. Then fill the shoes with small gifts and treats.

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