Saint Nicholas, 270–310
Saint Nicholas was a bishop. One night, he went to the house of a poor family and threw a bag of gold coins in an open window. The family wanted to thank Nicholas, but he told them to thank God instead. Nicholas liked giving gifts in secret. People still give gifts on his feast day. Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children.
Discuss: What are some gifts that you can give to family members and friends today? Think of some things that don’t cost anything.
Saint Nicholas was a bishop. He lived in what is now Turkey. One night he tiptoed to the house of a poor family. The family was asleep. Nicholas threw a bag of gold coins in an open window. The next day, the whole family was very happy. They wanted to thank Nicholas, but he told them to thank God instead. Nicholas liked giving gifts in secret. He was so kind that people still talk about him today. Some people give gifts on his feast day, December 6.
The story of Saint Nicholas as gift-giver has changed over time so that he has become identified with Santa Claus, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. During a pilgrimage Nicholas to the Holy Land, the ship he’d boarded was caught in a storm. Nicholas prayed for the safety of all on board, and the waves were calmed. Many chapels have been built in seaport cities and towns.
Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, in what was known in his time as Lycia. The ruins of the basilica built over his tomb were excavated in the nineteenth century.
Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children, sailors, and fishermen. He was very short and had a broken nose.
Giving and Receiving
Explain that Saint Nicholas was a Saint who showed us how to give. Discuss with your child some of her/his thoughts on giving and receiving by asking the following questions:
Remind your child that the best gift we ever received was forgiveness and love from Jesus.
Together, pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all his many gifts, but especially for Jesus.