Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters' weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor's house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.
We have four Nativity sets in my house: not out of overindulgence but out of sheer necessity. One set is for my five year old, who likes to take a more 'interactive' approach to the Nativity, including putting Disney princesses and Barbies into the Biblical narrative. Last year when I asked why the baby Jesus was in Barbie's convertible, she responded, 'Barbie is baby-sitting, Daddy… the trip to Bethlehem left Mary and Joseph very tired.'
You may have a Nativity set beneath your Christmas tree or on a table inside your house. You almost certainly have one on display somewhere around your local Church…
To God everything is exposed: all of our faults, imperfections, personal secrets but also all of our talents, traits, successes and achievements … that's the good news. The even better news is that God is always seeking you and me.
It's a good thing I go to Mass, because that seems to be where God always tells me what blog about. And the question that's weighed on my heart so far this week is this: 'Am I eagerly awaiting Christ?'
So it's almost Advent – a time of preparation. In other words, a time of waiting. I don't know about you, but whenever I have to wait around somewhere for a while, I start to notice things I'd never see otherwise. Whether it's the doctor's office or a train station, when we are forced to sit and wait – we can see an entirely different world. Sometimes it's just noticing the quiet of nature, or the subtle sounds of what's going on around us.