Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Lean Your Ear This Way
SMM, I have been a volunteer child advocate through the national CASA (court appointed special advocate) program on and off for ten years. Is there a saint for advocates of children?
Of course! Jolly old St. Nicholas! Santa Claus is the patron saint for children. The story has a "Sweeney Todd" flair to it. It seems during a time of famine and evil innkeeper murdered three children, chopped them to pieces and put the pieces in the pickle barrel to cure.
He was planning on passing them off as ham. Perhaps they were chubby children.
But St. Nicholas came along and solved the crime. We don't know how he did that. Perhaps he fancied a pickle and lifted the lid to help himself. This is why, by the way, we have the "Christmas Pickle", a German tradition of hiding a pickle ornament somewhere on the Christmas tree. The child who finds it gets a prize. We have two Christmas pickles on our tree. I can never find them when it's time to take the tree down. No prize for me! And I'm the one who puts them on there in the first place.
St. Nicholas rescued the children and miraculously brought them back to life.
Now, while I'm dubious that any of this took place, I can imagine that you sometimes feel as though you are rescuing chopped up children hidden in pickle barrels. But that's not really happening to you, either.
It does seem to me that St. Nicholas had a sweet heart, or these legends would not have arisen around him. We don't have legends of sweet things done by nasty people or even crabby people. Legends arise from the heart, because of bravery, compassion, strength.
Here's to your bravery, compassion and strength. I hope Santa was good to you this year.