Here is the cover of a book I wrote, illustrated by Chris Ellison, published by Concordia Publishing House. It is called St. Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend.
St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) always sneaks up on me because it comes just on the tails of Thanksgiving. But it's a great day to celebrate, especially to share with children the gift of giving.
While many legends and myths surround the person of St. Nicholas, we do know a few things about him for sure. We know he was a Christian pastor. We know he was a Christian bishop. We know he lived in what is modern-day Turkey around A. D. 200-300s. He is best known for his generosity and his gift of gold to a family with three daughters in need of dowries.
I think it's safe to say that he practiced generosity as an extension of the compassion and grace he received from God. This motivation to do good because good has been done to you is what I love best about Nicholas. It's not a call to works of charity because of duty. His example serves as a model for us to give back from the good we've received.
On the night of Dec. 5, encourage your children to set their shoes beside their beds, ready to receive a treat from St. Nicholas. Give them some gold chocolate coins or a small treat. Remind your children that all good gifts come from God and serve as reminders of that best gift of all--the redemption God gives through the gift of His Son.