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Saint Nicholas brought us stockings full of fruits, nuts, and candies last night.  Did he visit you?

CNA STAFF, Dec 6, 2009 / 04:47 am (CNA).- Today, December 6, the faithful commemorate a bishop in the early church who was known for generosity and love of children. Born in Lycia in Asia Minor around the late third or fourth century,  St. Nicholas of Myra is more than just the inspiration for the modern day Santa.

As a young man he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt in order to study in the school of the Desert Fathers. On returning some years later he was almost immediately ordained Bishop of Myra, which is now Demre, on the coast of modern day Turkey.

The bishop was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution and only released when Constantine the Great came to power and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

One of the most famous stories of the generosity of St. Nicholas says that he threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man’s daughters, who otherwise would have been sold into slavery.

The gold is said to have landed in the family’s shoes, which were drying near the fire. This is why children leave their shoes out by the door, or hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hopes of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast.

St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas because of the tradition that he had the custom of giving secret gifts to children.   It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German, his name is “San Nikolaus” which almost sounds like “Santa Claus.”

In the East, he is known as St. Nicholas of Myra for the town in which he was bishop. But in the West he is called St. Nicholas of Bari because, during the Muslim conquest of Turkey in 1087, his relics were taken to Bari by the Italians.

St Nicholas is the patron of children and of sailors. His intercession is sought by the shipwrecked, by those in difficult economic circumstances, and for those affected by fires. He died on December 6, 346.

Church celebrates feast of St. Nicholas, the ‘original’ Santa Claus.

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Oh! I thought the title was The Search for God IN Guinness. My bad.

So some of these posts just write themselves.  This is one of those posts. 

For today’s Tis the Season of … Books!  entry I bring you ==>>

It’s a book

It’s a book about God and Guinness

‘Nuff said.

Remember boys and girls:  Good things come to those who wait.**

 

** see also

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..and for you emergents: this.

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Tonight I took my son to see Family Force 5’s Christmas Pageant.  Omigosh, did we have fun!  I am not sure that any band performing today is as much fun to watch as FF5.   There is absolutely no way you can NOT dance at one of their concerts.  Or smile.  Heck, I can’t keep from jumping up and down for an hour straight.   Anyway, the pageant was great: nice stage, great music, fantastic energy and a bit of worship thrown in.  Each of the guys wore a button shirt, a black wool vest, ties and top hats:  they looked straight out of A Christmas Carol.  They blew snow from the stage and had different costumed characters coming on and off stage.  They played at least 6 Christmas songs from their new Christmas album, including the best rendition of My Favorite Things that I have ever heard.   They also played Earthquake and Love Addict and uh…something else that I can’t remember.    It was awesome! Their encore was the Charlie Brown song Christmas Time is Here, done FF5 style.  Yeah yeah, I know:  “they’ve lost the Crunk and it’s too hip hop!”  I hear you and I understand but they still have the best concert show around.  In concert, they are still crunkalicious

I love Remedy Drive, as some of you might know already from this and this.  But in a small venue, their sound was pretty lousy.  I don’t know why exactly but my guess is that it was a mixer issue because all the other bands sounded great, but I couldn’t hear RD’s keyboard or the lead guitar, which with the loudness sorta made them sound like one big cacophony.   It’s too bad because at Lifelight, RD completely ruled!  They still had the usual energy.

House of Heroes and All Left Out were also good. 

The concert was at this mega-church outside of Grand Rapids that was bigger than most liberal arts campuses.  My son said, “This is a church?”.    All I know is I’ve been in hospitals that were smaller than this building.  Wowza.  I’m not sure that a church needs a cafe, bookstore and cantina, but this one did.  It also had several bathrooms, one of which had more bathroom stalls than the women’s rooms at The Joe.  That’s alot of toilets.  I’m jes sayin’….

Overall, we had a fantastic time.  It was my son’s first concert and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

This site has several videos of the bands and also the mp3s of the Pageant album.  Enjoy!

(I can’t tell you how much I wanted to title this post “Ugly People Put Your Hands Down” but since few would get it…. /sigh)

Updated:  DrivebyMedia has pictures from the show!

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