Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Though the good man died on December 6, 343, he is remembered with adoration to this day. He is the patron saint of children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, pharmacists, archers, and pawnbrokers. He is a particular favorite of children, and of seamen as well.
Nikolaos of Myra was well-known for his generosity. He was known to leave coins in the shoes which were set without the door. He gave life-changing gifts to those in need; but he devised to give them anonymously so that the recipient would not be embarrassed as though objects of charity.
A case in point concerns the poor father of three daughters who had no means for their dowries. Thus, absent marriage, the women would be reduced to prostitution as means of support. Nikolaos devised a plan whereby he delivered a bag of gold for each of the daughters. Stories vary as to detail, but the one I favor is this. On the night before the birthday of each daughter on which she would reach her majority, the good man came by and tossed a bag of gold through the window opening of the house. After the second bag had been so delivered, the father planned to discover his benefactor by lying in wait for him; but Nikolaos, wise to the scheme, came around the back way and dropped the bag down the chimney. The daughter having washed her hosiery, had hung the stockings by the fireplace, and of course the gift landed in a stocking.
It is true to this day that small gifts often find their way into a stocking which is hung by a fireplace.
Nikolaos was also known as Nikolaos the Wonder Worker, not only because of the largess he displayed, but he was believed as well to have resurrected certain murdered individuals through intercessory prayer.
Truly the story of the works of this individual even to this day is much too long to tell in this space. But think on occasion about Sinter Klaas, or St. Nicholas.