This year we did it... We put stockings up for St. Nicholas. It was a nice treat. It's our second holiday decoration up... first being the advent calendar.
We are "late" in putting up our decorations this year. Not because of any sort of political statement but just because homework is a chore in this house and I think that it would be easier for the boy to concentrate on homework if the house looked like business-was-usual. But mid week, next week, is a half day and the Winter Vacation begins! Then it's up to the attic to bring everything down.
Although I do like waiting until we are closer to Christmas to decorate... I like to enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas without the feeling of being "over it, already."
I love my Christmas décor and can't wait to see it again. So many memories. We've established a tradition where we buy an ornament a year. The ornament usually reflects a big trip or event from the year: First Christmas, New Home, a Baby... And the little things like our visits to the Alamo, the Pilgrim Plantation, and Washington DC. This is one of our better ideas and usually makes tree decorating take that much longer. All those memories... even the sad ones. We love the happy memories but we also don't shy away from the sad ones.
A few years ago, we were still deeply mourning the loss of a dear family member and everything was slow moving, when it came to celebrating. No one was in a hurry to put the tree up. I am finding that once your heart breaks that deeply, although the heart repairs, it's scars are forever tender. We miss our dearly departed family members. May their memories be eternal.
Cyclical events like Christmas have a way of returning memories to the forefront... bringing things up again and again. The good and the bad all come back to give you another chance to process it until you've either overcome it or it becomes a natural part of you.
Imagine St. Nicholas. He didn't have the best childhood. We understand that he was a young boy when his Christian parents died and left him an orphan. He must have had a very lonely life. I imagine he missed his parents constantly. Being an only child, St. Nicholas must have often felt very alone, were it not for his prayers. We can see by his deep faith and his life's story that he was close to God. With the Grace and Love of God, St. Nicholas has now adopted all of us as his family. His examples of piety, charity, and devotion to the true faith have been a beacon for us. His love for mankind has made him a man of legend... One of the most loved legends of all, Santa Claus!
The church offers this beautiful Hymn to St. Nicholas:
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A model of faith and the image of gentleness,
the example of your life has shown you forth
to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance.
You obtained thus through being lowly,
gifts from on high, and riches through poverty.
Nicholas, our father and priest of priests,
intercede with Christ our God
that He may save our souls.
I am anticipating the celebration of Christ's birth in the next 3 week... but for now, as we are still in the time of preparation, it's nice to take a break and celebrate St. Nicholas.