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December 06, 2005

St Nicholas, Bishop of Smyrna

Today is St Nicholas' day, the saint responsible for the frenzy of gift giving we indulge in at this season. According to the legend he was passing the home of a family which lacked the wealth to pay the dowry for the daughters of the house to marry and so secretly made up purses which he then had delivered to the house as a gift to each daughter. The legend has grown a little in the telling, but the fact is that he was known in his own time for his generosity to all in need and his willingness to give even what he needed to someone he judged in greater need than himself.

He was Bishop of Smyrna, now part of modern Turkey and is regarded as one of the best examples of Christian living of his time. Interestingly, in some parts of Europe, including Holland, St Nicholas' Day is the day on which gifts are traditionally exchanged and Christmas is kept as a feast dedicated purely to the Christ Child.

May St Nicholas give to everyone the gifts they need to deal with the year ahead.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 6, 2005 09:06 AM

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