A SONG OF SAINT NICHOLAS
There was a good bishop who lived long ago
His memory is glorious, His legends are bold
We call him St Nicholas, a servant of Christ
Who loved little children and taught what was right
He is Father Christmas and Santa Claus too
He helped many people, the stories are true
At Christmas he calls to us, both young and old
To see that the story of Jesus is told
The gifts that he brings us are signs of the love
That comes down at Christmas from heaven above
We see Mother Mary, the babe in the stall,
With Joseph, the wise men and shepherds and all
O blessed St Nik'las we hail you today
The patron of many, you show us the way
To be good and generous, to help those in need
To be kind to others in both word and deed
Suggested tune: ST DENIO (Welsh)
written by JMR2000
Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (from Lesser Feasts and Fasts)
Who was St. Nicholas?
The story of St. Nicholas offers a possible way of dealing with the "Santa Claus" problem, to parents who do not want to lie to their children, even in fun, but do not want to say simply: "Bah, humbug! There is no such thing as Santa. Forget about him."
Nicholas was a native of the western part of what is now Asiatic Turkey. He became Bishop of Myra in the fourth century, and there are many stories of his love for God and for his neighbor.
The best-known story involves a man with three unmarried daughters, and not enough money to provide them with suitable dowries. This meant that they could not marry, and were likely to end up as prostitutes. Nicholas walked by the man's house on three successive nights, and each time threw a bag of gold in through a window (or, when the story came to be told in colder climates, down the chimney). Thus, the daughters were saved from a life of shame, and all got married and lived happily ever after.
Because of this and similar stories, Nicholas became a symbol of anonymous gift-giving. Hence, if we give a gift to someone today without saying whom it is from, it can be called "a present from Saint Nicholas (or Santa Claus)." Some parents explain this to their children and invite the child to join them in wrapping a toy (either something purchased for that purpose, at least partly with the child's allowance, or else a toy that the child has outgrown but that is still serviceable) or an outgrown but not shabby item of the child's clothing, or a package of food, and then going along to donate it to a suitable shelter that will give it to someone who will welcome it. This gift is then called "a present from Santa," so that the child understands that this is another name for an anonymous gift given to someone whom we do not know, but whom we love anyway because God does. (Presents within the family can be "From Santa" or "From Santa and...")written by James E. Kiefer
from Lesser Feasts and Fasts