Today is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. I woke up early to say prayers, and to continue working on finding a place to live (we sold our house this weekend and have to move in 6 weeks!), cleaning out, selling things on Craigslist, taking items to Goodwill, etc. It saddens me a bit that I won't have time this year to decorate the house for Christmas and do as many festive activities as I've done in the past. But it brings me joy to pass on traditions as we move into another phase of life. Yesterday I packed up my Christmas china that I've used for about 35 years and shipped it to my son and daughter-in-law in Denver to use as their young family establishes their own traditions.
I also mailed my middle son and youngest daughter each a box of the Christmas ornaments they had been given since childhood by grandparents and friends, for use on their own Christmas trees now that they are both married. As I looked through the ornaments, I found a Christmas pickle, and laughed as I remembered watching the kids rush into the den to search for the pickle on Christmas morning, hidden deep in the boughs of the tree. I hope my grandchildren will experience that joy! (If you don't have a Christmas pickle, you can get one here.)
If you're interested in some serious reading about Saint Nicholas, the most extensive blog I've found on lives of saints includes this post from 2008.
When I was writing icons, I never did one of Saint Nicholas, but my friend, Sharon Meadows, wrote this beautiful icon of the saint during an icon workshop I led in 2006.
Holy Saint Nicholas, pray to God for us!