Saturday, December 6, 2014

International Volunteer Day Project "For Bennett's Sake"

Casady Service-Learning YAC has selected our annual blood drive as the project for International Volunteer Day.  A YAC member delivered a KFC meal to Bennett and his family with a giant "Get Well Soon" poster made by our after school program children and teachers.

Bennett is at the Stem Cell Transplant Unit of Children Hospital.  He loved the chicken tenders and said that he soon will be able to get an artificial foot and he will be able to ride his blue bike!  Bennett loved the poster.  Blue is his favorite color.  Bennett is our everyday hero this week.

Casady Blood Drive 2014

Blood donations credit will be offered to the Family of Bennett Hanneman to help defer the cost of blood needed by Bennett.

Each donor receives FREE: a Health Screening, and Donor Rewards Points

16 and 17 year olds need signed parental permission.

Weight requirement: 125 pounds if 16-17 years old.  110 if 18 or older.

Eat a good meal and drink plenty of liquids.  Have a good night sleep before you donate.

Day 7: St. Nicholas

By Professor Carol on Dec 06, 2014 03:00 am
St. Nicholas
Nicholas de Myra
Today is St. Nicholas Day, December 6. It’s a long path from the historical 3rd-century Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, to the composite figure of our modern-day Santa. Let’s take that journey.
Various stories surround the Bishop of Myra (c. 270-346) and there is little reliable data in the historical record to help us sort them out. Most tell of a wealthy and generous man. His legacy describes him tossing three bags of gold into an impoverished house so that there would be sufficient money for the proper dowries of three daughters. This saved the girls, for it ensured them a respectable marriage and kept them from a fate described alternatively as slavery or life on the streets. Artistic depictions of St. Nicholas often show him with three bags of gold.
Another legend places Nicholas at the Council of Nicaea in 325, arguing forcefully against the Arian heresy – too forcefully. Nicholas is said to have slapped Arius. The other bishops, who would reject the heresy, were nonetheless outraged at Nicholas’s behavior. They stripped him of his bishopric and had him imprisoned. The legend says Jesus and Mary appeared to Nicholas in prison, and he was found the next day fully vested in Bishop’s garments. Emperor Constantine ordered his release and Nicholas was restored as Bishop.
St. Nicholas is extremely popular in paintings and icons. Many churches are named for him, especially in England and in Orthodox Christian countries like Greece and Russia.
There are too many cultural variations on St. Nicholas to do justice to them here. Some do help explain how he came to be connected with Christmas Day.
In German, the Baby Jesus is called Christ-Kindl (little Christ Child). Over time, you can see how Christ Kindlcould become “Kris Kringle.” Also, in German tradition, there was a helper named Belsnickel or Knecht Ruprecht who went with St. Nicholas on his gift-giving route. St. Nicholas left nice gifts for good children, but Belsnickel would leave the unpleasant gifts for those who weren’t so good. Belsnickel carried a sack, had a whip, and was dressed more like our idea of Santa, including wearing fur.
In Dutch tradition, “Sinter Klaas” comes by sea and then rides off in a white horse. His helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), goes down the chimneys to leave gifts in wooden shoes.
Before the 19th century, the celebrations of Christmas, especially in America, were nothing like what we see today. (You might enjoy reading here.) The Reformation had caused many Protestants to reject the celebration of Feast Days and Saints, and so Christmas and Saint Nicholas’ Day were not observed by Puritans and other groups of settlers. In contrast, the Anglicans, Catholics, and Dutch Reformed arrived in America with stronger, though varied, Christmas traditions.
Accordingly, numerous tales associate the modern St. Nicholas closely with the Dutch who settled in New Amsterdam (the city subsequently named New York). This association was cemented in Washington Irving’s satirical novel Knickerbocker’s History of New York(1809), which depicted a jolly St. Nicholas:
This was not the saintly bishop, but rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe. These delightful flights of imagination are the source of the New Amsterdam St. Nicholas legends: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St. Nicholas; that St. Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; that the first church was dedicated to him; and that St. Nicholas comes down chimneys to bring gifts. Irving’s work was regarded as the “first notable work ofimagination in the New World.”
Irving’s novel was followed by a Christmas poem in 1823 attributed to Clement C. Moore:
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, when all through the house. . . .
Santa – Thomas Nast
That beloved imagery of St. Nicholas inspired Thomas Nast to create a series of drawings forHarper’s Weekly beginning 1863, and Santa in America acquired the look that we know today.
The idea of gift-giving as linked to Santa Claus has part of its origin in the historic St. Nicholas. Bishop Nicholas is still celebrated for his charity, especially to those three poor girls. And he’s honored for standing with the downtrodden as well as with travelers.
For your little ones who may be enchanted with Santa, now may not be the time to draw these historical lines. But for the older ones who perhaps even deride Santa, it could be interesting to draw the historical line back to an early Christian who stood with the poor, was imprisoned for his faith, and kept a strong witness when widespread heresies threatened to derail Christianity.
The post Day 7: St. Nicholas appeared first onProfessor Carol.