Feast of St. Nicholas today! More on the holiday here, and a lectionary blog here.
And for fun, verses 2 and 3 of Jolly Old St. Nicholas
When the clock is striking twelve, when I'm fast asleep, Down the chimney broad and black, with your pack you'll creep All the stockings you will find, hanging in a row Mine will be the shortest one, you'll be sure to know-
Johnny wants a pair of skates, Suzy wants a sled, Nellie wants a story book, yellow, blue and red, Now I think I leave to you, what to give the rest, Choose for me dear Santa Claus, you know what's the best!
What I love about this is how completely quaint it sounds to our ears. What kid asks for a sled or a story book for Christmas anymore? (My children, I think, still enjoy getting books, but even my electronics-deprived kids never ask for books from Santa.)
There are a few songs out there that deal with the real Saint Nicholas -- the bishop, patron of children and sailors. There's a lovely collection at the St. NIcholas Center, including one from poet Luci Shaw.
So, whatever you do for St. Nicholas Day, may it be simple in spirit, attentive to children and the poor. And while you're at it, utter a prayer for "those in peril on the sea."