Christmas-Giving & Christmas-Living

heart-ornament-hanging-from-a-wire-fence-3840x2400-wide-wallpapers-netI recently read an essay by Henry Van Dyke that I wanted to share about the feeling of Christmas. It talks about the real meaning of “Christmas-Giving & Christmas-Living.” I am going to include the essay in this post, along with a beautiful song by Sara Bareilles, “Love is Christmas.” I am sorry I could not find her actually singing (besides moving live video, which can be annoying to watch), so I have included a lyrics video with her song. Please take the time to read the words and feel the meaning of the song. It is beautiful.

I think this song has especially touched me this season in particular because we had a job change & things this year are tougher financially than they ever have been. I think this song makes you feel that Christmas truly is about LOVE, not necessarily all the other stuff that is easy to get caught up in (the house being a mess, the chaos of stores, the gifts, the food, the expectations we put on ourselves, etc).

May this holiday season bring you the warm feelings of LOVE. And may you want this feeling to last throughout the year, not just a day. Merry Christmas. Love & Peace to you.

Here is the song & then I will attach the essay below.

 

And now the beautiful and meaningful essay by Henry Van Dyke. I took it from the lovely book, “It’s All About Christmas”

 

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Happy St. Nicholas Day

banner-largeI LOVE the story of ‘The Real Santa Claus’

Before the stores commercialized Christmas & it became all about the gifts, there was a man who truly did give gifts from the heart and brought Joy and Love to others, his name was Nicholas.

The real Santa lived a long time ago in a place called Asia Minor. It is now the country of Turkey. His name was Nicholas.

Nicholas’ parents died when he was just a teenager. His parents left him a lot of money which made him a rich young man. He went to live with his uncle who was a priest.

Nicholas heard about a man who had lost all his money. He had three daughters who were old enough to get married. But in those days young women had to have money in order to get married. This money was a “dowry” and it was used to help the new family get started. If you didn’t have dowry money, you didn’t get married.

This family was so poor they had nothing left to eat. The daughters were going to be sold as slaves because they couldn’t live at home any longer. They were very sad. They wouldn’t be able to have families of their own. And they would have to be slaves—no longer able to decide where they would live or what they would do.

The night before the oldest daughter was to be sold, she washed her stockings and put them in front of the fire to dry. Then all of them went to sleep—the father and the three daughters.

In the morning the daughter saw a lump in her stocking. Reaching in, she found a small, heavy bag. It had gold inside! Enough to provide food for the family and money for her dowry. Oh, how happy they were!

The next morning, another bag with gold was found. Imagine! Two of the daughters would now be saved. Such joy!

And the next night, the father planned to stay awake to find out who was helping his daughters. He dozed off, but heard a small “clink” as another bag landed in the room. Quickly he jumped up and ran out the door. Who did he catch ducking around the corner?

Nicholas, the young man who lived with his uncle. “Nicholas, it is you! Thank you for helping us—I hardly know what to say!” Nicholas said, “Please, do not thank me—thank God that your prayers have been answered. Do not tell others about me.”

Nicholas continued helping people. He always tried to help secretly. He didn’t want any attention or thanks. Years passed and he was chosen to be a bishop. Bishops look after their people as shepherds look after their sheep. And that is what Nicholas did. When there wasn’t any food, he found wheat; so no one went hungry. He always helped people in trouble. All his life Nicholas showed people how to love God and care for each other.

Everyone loved Nicholas. After he died, they told stories of the good and kind things Nicholas had done. Sailors took these stories about Nicholas everywhere they went. Some of the stories were about his special care for children—helping and protecting them when danger threatened. And so more and more people learned about good, kind Nicholas. They wanted to be like him. He is an example of how we should live. And that is why he became a saint.

This is the story of the real Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. To this day people say that St. Nicholas, or Santa, is the special friend of children.    [taken from StNicholasCenter.org]

I love that he was a man who liked to give, but had no need of attention for his giving. That is how giving should be.

Today, is December 6th and St. Nicholas is celebrated on this day. In celebration each year my small family  writes little love notes to one another on strips of paper and slips them into a special pair of wooden clogs throughout the day of December 6th. Then during dinner we take out the slips of paper and share the love with one another. Its a wonderful, loving, giving tradition.

This year I passed on the tradition to all my siblings in hopes that they will spend today writing kind things about one another and sharing their love around the dinner table.

In all we do, may there be love. Peace to you this day & every day.  -H