It is snowing and blowing this afternoon. Christmas music is playing while I wrap presents on the ironing board. I found an apple pie in the freezer and popped it in the oven so the house is filled with the aroma of apple pie baking. The oven has warmed the kitchen, normally cold when winter’s east wind blows. My world is cozy and peaceful this afternoon.
Some of the wrapping paper has pictures of Santa Claus. I’ve often tried to reconcile the religious part of Christmas with Santa Claus. This week, while researching a fall trip to Turkey, I was reminded of a special connection between Santa and religion, if not actually with Christmas. We will be visiting the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre, ancient Lycia, on the Mediterranean. St. Nicholas was the 4th c. Greek Bishop known for his miracles and gifts to the poor and to children. He is the patron saint of many groups including children, sailors and merchants. Several countries also claim him as their patron saint and he is especially revered in Russia.
St. Nicholas’ act of giving spread through many countries. People pronounced his Greek name differently, i.e. St. Nikolaus in Germany. Eventually his gifts, appearance and name evolved into the story of America’s Santa Claus. His house in the North Pole is far from where the original St. Nicholas lived in Demre on the Mediterranean, but the spirit and joy of giving is universal and is in all our hearts, wherever we are.
Now Del is waiting for his gift of warm apple pie.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays full of Joy!