Friday, December 3, 2010

I Do Believe....

As many of you know, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day in our house. We go to church for the vigil and liturgy and we have stockings of things and a mini family gift exchange. Katherine believes that St. Nicholas brings her some of her things, which has been a funny bit in and of itself. She can see him in icons, hears the prayers about his life and we read his story, so she knows of him. In my family, he is very close, we celebrate a sort of family 'Slava', since my maiden name is Nichols (derivative of Nicholas). In any case, she is adamant that he comes and brings her things and I haven't the heart to tell her otherwise, because in some sense, he does. Our hope is to have her give things in secret, to each other, friends, etc. and keep explaining that the selfless spirit of Christ is in St Nicholas and that is what we celebrate and so we give things in this way: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." ~Mt 6:1 (There are really many different facets of this, but tonight, this will have to do and I think you get the drift.)

What made me think of all this? Well, last night we were driving home from swim class and Katherine blatantly asked me, "Why do people believe that Santa Claus is still alive?" It had never occurred to me that this would EVER come out of her little mouth. She apparently put a couple things together and realized that, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day, but we also know him to have fallen asleep in the Lord centuries ago and is a Saint. She is also aware that the modern day Santa is just a different image based on St Nicholas for many other people, though their belief's vary. I had to think of where to begin, good grief!!! Ok, so I started with discussing how not everyone believes the same things as we do, nor do many people believe the same things about death as we do. Some people believe that when we die, that is it and other's don't really believe in much at all. I went onto say how we pray for people who have reposed and also ask prayers to God of Saints for us and others, understanding that there is a thin veil between life and that which follows. Mind you, I did not have all the eloquence of some of what clarity I may now possess, but it was along these lines. Anyway, since some people believe that when we die, that is the end, it would stand to reason that people have to make believe that he is still alive because otherwise it would not fit their ideals of what follows this life. In short, told her that in order for some people to believe, they have to imagine him still alive.

When asked if all of that mumbo jumbo made any sense, she gave me a little shrug, as if to say, "I guess." I imagine that she was trying to grasp why people have to imagine something, or someone, to be something they are not in order to believe in their life and virtues, which is, IMHO, somehow the endpoint of those seeking a logical way of explaining things away, though it seems to me, that the most logical thing would be to know the history and truth and then communicate it as effortlessly as possible (which is NOT my strong suit!)

I still believe in St. Nicholas and how we will always be tied together through Christ and all His Saints. He is a dear and staunch great grandfather of Christians, a devout and unwavering example of Truth in all circumstances. I believe in St. Nicholas' undying love of Christ and his perseverance in the face of all adversity and his leadership in the early days of the Church. Because I believe in St. Nicholas and his memory, in Christ, I will do my very best to preserve his service, story and courage in the mind and heart of my daughter. To the glory of God, the Father, Amen.


Marfa said...

My girls think Santa is funny...but have never thought he brought them gifts. I like to be truthful.
So good to hear of Kat's reflection on Santa.
I look forward to celebrating St. nice that it falls on a Sunday this year!