When I was a child, the feast day of Saint Nicholas had a hazy, almost mythical quality to it. My parents spoke of putting out their shoes at night and receiving gifts by morning on December 6, but they did not carry the tradition for us children. The feast day was something from the homeland, not something to be celebrated in the United States, and it bore little importance to real life.
December 6 came and went for many years of my life without much attention except for a vague thought in the back of my mind that "oh, it's the feast day of the guy who became Santa."
Then, I became a mother and learned about this patron saint of children. The hazy outline of Saint Nicholas became stronger, and his personality boldly marked. This was not a soft, cozy sort of apparition from the past. Saint Nicholas was a brave and fiery bishop during turbulent times.
After reading Elizabeth Foss's brilliant "Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home" book, my husband and I made a conscious decision to celebrate the liturgical cycle, to learn and grow and pray about the meanings of the different days the Church sets aside for us to celebrate.
Saint Nicholas came into our life then ... and we've never let go. This bishop, with his generosity and kindness and steadfast spirit, inspired his community so long ago and continues to inspire so many, many others today.
He's far more than this vague prototype of Santa Claus. He's not just an old-timey version of Santa. He was fiery in his faith and defender of the Church's teachings.
You can learn more about him through this brief video:
(And if you subscribe to Formed.org, don't forget to watch the short animated movie "Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa.")
As our family learned more about this saint, I found myself drawing him often. Here are a few printables of Saint Nicholas that I'd like to share with you:
|Download this Saint Nick coloring page!|
I also drew this small printable St. Nicholas notecard to color up and share with your friends and family:
May this saintly bishop bless you and your family today and always.