December 6. St Nicholas. The story of the original Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born into a wealthy family in what is now Turkey. His parents died while he was young. Following Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor” Nicholas used his inheritance to assist the needy, the sick and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God, became Bishop of Myra while still young and helped to reorganise the Church after the time of persecution. He also became famous throughout the land for his generosity and love for children. In parts of Europe this saint is venerated as a giver of gifts.

In the scroll of the book it stands written of me, “I delight to do your will, O my God, your instruction lies deep within me.” Ps 40. Led by the Spirit, the family circle is not only open to life by generating it within itself but also by going forth and spreading life by caring for others and seeking their happiness. AL 324. The gift of the earth with its fruits belongs to everyone. Those who tilled and kept the land were obliged to share its fruits, especially with the poor, with widows, orphans and foreigners in their midst. LS71. For reflection and discussion. It is sad that today, instead of a giver of gifts to the poor, St Nicholas has been turned into Santa Claus and although people genuinely want to give gifts to their loved ones and also to others less fortunate, the true spirit of generosity in gift-giving has become the most consumer-driven time of the year. How will your family celebrate this feastday and this Christmas season?