Advent Day 6 - St Nicholas

Nicholas lived about 1700 years ago. He was just a young boy when his parents died, so he went to live with his uncle, who was the leader of a large group of monks at a nearby monastery. This uncle was a wonderful role model and taught Nicholas all about God and His Son, Jesus and Nicholas learned to love God.
Nicholas’ parents died wealthy and left him a very large sum of money. Because he loved Jesus so much, Nicholas resolved to give his money to those he found in need, especially to children. As he grew up, he remembered the teachings of Jesus, that we should “give in secret” (Matthew 6:1-4), so he learned how to be very sneaky - but in a good way! Whenever Nicholas gave money to people, he would sneak around so they wouldn’t know where the money came from and this proved to be good fun! For example, one day, a man was selling rugs to pay his debts. His wife and children had no food. Nicholas bought some of the man’s rugs, paying him way more than they were worth. Then Nicholas made up an excuse and returned the rugs to the man’s wife without getting his money back. Nicholas had lots of fun sneaking around, helping people in secret.
One of the most famous stories about Nicholas is of three girls who couldn’t get married because their father’s business had lost all its money. In those days, the only way a girl could get married is if her parents had a big sum of money to give, called a dowry. But these girls’ father didn’t have money for a dowry. So, the only option for these girls was to be sold into slavery, or worse. Nicholas heard about this poor family and came up with a plan.

Late at night he tossed a sock full of gold coins through the oldest daughter’s bedroom window. People were surprised when, not long after this, the girl married a good husband. She told them that she was able to marry because she found a dowry in a sock on her floor. Soon after this, Nicholas again tossed another sock full of money through the second daughter’s window. Soon, she also married. But a few nights later, when Nicholas crept up to the house with a sock full of money for the third daughter, he found all the windows were shut. So he he climbed up on their roof and dropped it down the chimney, landing in the girl’s shoes, which had been set right up against the fireplace to dry. When she married she told everyone she’d found a dowry just lying in her shoe. People were amazed and said to one another, “This was truly some kind of miracle!" 
Nicholas became an ordained priest and later the Bishop of Myra which was a city in Ancient Greece. He always remained enthusiastic to tell people about Jesus… and he was always looking for ways to help people in need and especially children in trouble. He was even imprisoned for his faith until Emperor Constantine had him released.
Saint Nicholas died on Dec. 6th, 343 CE after a long life of faithful service to Jesus Christ. In Orthodox tradition, children all over the world put their shoes outside their door on the night before his feast day December 6th as they remember how Saint Nicholas dropped gold into the third daughter’s shoe. In the morning they discover that Saint Nicholas has come to fill their shoes with chocolate coins and little treats and gifts.