On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do You Believe in Santa Claus?- Saint Nicholas Day

In some parts of the world (mainly Europe)today 6 Dec is celebrated as St. Nicholas Day. I don't know much about it personally but on the web I stumbled on a site that seems to be very complete into all things Saint Nicholas...St Nicholas Center.

Here is some info summarized from the site:

'The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.'

'Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.'

In Trinidad the idea of Santa Claus is more celebrated than Saint Nicholas and is mainly influenced by the North American traditions of Santa Claus. So little children are told that this 'mythical character' is real and then told later on or when they figure it out that really the gifts given are by their parents and not Santa Claus. Parents put gifts under the Christmas tree at night when kids are thought to be asleep. Some dads will even dress up as Santa Claus...perhaps the inspiration for the song "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus".

But do you believe in Santa Claus? Another website called The North Pole talks about the origins of the American Santa Claus image as follows:

'American Origins: (As sent to me by Brian Dodd)
Quote from ENCARTA 95

The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.

As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as "St. A Claus," but it was the popular author Washington Irving who gave Americans their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas. In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback (unaccompanied by Black Peter) each Eve of Saint Nicholas.

This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas by writer Clement Clarke Moore. Moore included such details as the names of the reindeer; Santa Claus's laughs, winks, and nods; and the method by which Saint Nicholas, referred to as an elf, returns up the chimney. (Moore's phrase "lays his finger aside of his nose" was drawn directly from Irving's 1809 description.)

The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast, who depicted a rotund Santa for Christmas issues of Harper's magazine from the 1860s to the 1880s. Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of the good and bad children of the world. A human-sized version of Santa Claus, rather than the elf of Moore's poem, was depicted in a series of illustrations for Coca-Cola advertisements introduced in 1931. In modern versions of the Santa Claus legend, only his toy-shop workers are elves. Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, with a red and shiny nose, was invented in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward Company.'

There's the history but here I ask a personal question again - DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS?

Well yes I do believe in Santa Claus...:) And why not? I know this is not a linear world and there are so many unknowns so just cause I don't have proof doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If we believe in the spirit world, the supernatural and the existence of God or something more that the material world we see before us, well...Of Course there can be a Santa Claus!

Perhaps he may not fit the image we have in our mind that we were fed by our traditions...which if you read about it above was more defined in the US by the writers and poets but then churned out in masses by the businessmen. Perhaps American commercialism has sullied the good old Saint's name but I think he does exist. Perhaps he is just that force or spirit of giving or perhaps he works in mysterious ways and puts gifts when they would not have been given. Can any of us wholeheartedly say we've not experience things we can't explain or don't wonder if there is something more?

So I agree with the editor of the New York Sun who in 1897 wrote...'Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus'
And maybe it's not that when we become adults our parents tell us the truth but that when we become adults we lose our childlike innocence. Think about it would our parents really be that good at make believe or fooling us normally? So it's not that they told us so and we believed but cause we knew something then that as we grew into this world we forgot. As Jesus says if we make our hearts like children only then can we enter the kingdom of heaven/God/The Father.

Perhaps when we see kids lost in their own world when <5 they are seeing something we don't...like in the film Polar Express...we stop hearing the bell...no discussion without Santa Claus would be complete I think without reference to the film Miracle on 34th Street and tonight I wish you all a good night and leave you with that clip where they explain about the sound of the bell and how adults can't hear it in the film Polar Express and a clip from Miracle on 34th Street. Believe...


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