TITLE: Saint Nicholas: The Story of the Real Santa Claus
AUTHOR: Mary Joslin
ILLUSTRATOR: Helen Cann
PUBLISHED BY: Pauline Books
PURCHASE: Abe, Amazon, IndieBound
Of all the Christmas books I've told you about in this all too short "Christmas in July", this one is the one most worthy of tracking down. It's been out-of-print for a year or so, but still easily found on Abe, or via IndieBound/Amazon (see links, above). And it is well worth your time, for it is a lovely retelling of the legend of Saint Nicholas, who becomes, of course, Santa Claus. There are several other books about Saint Nicholas (Demi's is beautiful visually, but leaves something to be desired story-wise; Julie Steigmeyer has one, and Dandi Daley Mackall wrote one as well), but this one, I love, because of the vibrant immediacy of the story, and the lovely illustrations.
We know the legend, right? There was a family of three daughters, and they were so poor that no one would marry them because there was no money for a dowry. They were good girls, and did not complain, worked hard, loved their father, and acted in charity and good faith, never despairing. Nicholas, their priest, rewarded their charity with a gift of his own: he threw gold coins down their chimney (and they landed in their shoes and stockings drying by the hearth).
Joslin writes the story from the perspective of the family, which allows us to see exactly how the legend began (without being pedantic about it). They are given this great gift, which will allow them to live comfortably, get married, and thrive, but they do not know who gave it to them. We carry on the tradition, either on St. Nicholas' Day or Christmas; we wake up to find our shoes (or stockings) full of candy and treats, anonymously given.
This lovely retelling of the legend of St. Nicholas will remind us, with its warmth, character, and cheer, that it hardly matters who gave us the goodies, since, as Nicholas teaches: all our gifts come from God.
|Yesterday at the Church Nicholas told me that all our blessings come from God. So today we shall |
thank God for this deed of kindness, and we shall look forward to making our lives happier.
|Nicholas crept along, chuckling like a mischevious boy.|