A Vist from St. Nicholas

Drop down, ye heavens, from above. And let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth a Saviour. (Respond, First Week in Advent)

Saint Nicholas visited the Melrose school, the sisters’ chapel, and the convent last Thursday, December 6.

Already in an Advent mood, the children received the visit with peculiar maturity. The children understand Mystery.

Why no drumming? No whistles, bells, clacking rattles, no dancing for our prelude? Why intense quiet? Because liturgy intensifies the mode of relationship to the Holy. We practice modes of relationship to the Divine.

Why so quiet? Because we are alert. We are watching. We do not know the day or hour. (Matthew 25:13)

What are we watching for? A mystery in a form so ordinary, surely we’ll miss it if we don’t pay extraordinary attention.

So these fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders quiet down, focus, concentrate. I won’t make any snarky comments about how church adults just don’t “get it.” Surely, the Reader thought it already.

Saint Nicholas came into chapel in a magnificent damask cope, and gave out golden geld filled with chocolate, to help us remember the secret generosity of that long-ago Bishop discretely saving three girls from prostitution by placing bags of gold in their window. I also mentioned that in the Nicholas legend he restored three boys who had been turned into sausages. I heard a murmur from the corner where the boys sit together in chapel. But the answer about mystery also came from that section. I love these children!

I am restraining myself from giving out marzipan eyeballs for Saint Lucy’s Day. But I amuse myself imagining the sound that might come from the sixth grade boys if I did. But I also imagine horrified parents, so … I won’t. Some people are just not religious enough to enjoy liturgical humor.

Geld appeared at our seats at Vespers in the sisters’ chapel. And the sister cook that day made “the Greek version of a Turkish mousaka” for supper, setting the table with the good dishes and the burgundy tablecloth. Before dessert, (made with our own sweet strawberries from the summer!) she gave us each a basket with presents wrapped in a holiday cloth napkin: handy office supplies, candy, and a Christmas tree ornament peculiar to each sister’s interest. Much laughing over a “fleece Navidad” sheep with a chili necklace, a “moo-ey Christmas cow,” a horse, a tractor, a singing angel, and for Bill, a Saint Nicholas himself. Bill made scrolls with a gift certificate for KIVA (see kiva.org) for each sister to administer personal loans to participants in developing countries. Much excitement over that, in the spirit of Nicholas’ generosity.

One Response to “A Vist from St. Nicholas”

  1. Nia Says:

    Found you! You should have told me you had a blog 🙂

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