It snowed a little yesterday . . . not enough to stick, but it was nice when it was coming down. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but for any of you who don’t know, I absolutely LOVE snow. The only time I’ve had enough snow to make me happy was the one winter I lived in Northern Idaho. . . it snowed on Halloween and the ground was pretty much white until spring. I LOVED IT! The air was so cold that it made my cheeks sting, but every single day my daughter and I would bundle up and go for a walk, play in the snow, and bask in the beauty that was a white winter. It was my first ever white Christmas and one of the only white birthdays I’d ever had. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of waking up in the night and peeking out the window and see a winter wonderland bright and silent. I know that there are people across the country right now who went through, or are going through, a terrible snow and ice storm over night and I am praying for their safety and well being. Please don’t let my enthusiasm for the white stuff give the false impression that I don’t realize why others aren’t so thrilled with it.
St. Nicholas Day – Well the timing on this couldn’t be more perfect since I was going to talk about St. Nick/Santa Claus anyway! So the first thing I had to ask, was there really a St. Nicholas? The answer is yes. He lived in Greece just a couple hundred years after the birth of Christ. He became a priest, and later a Bishop, of the early Catholic church. He gave up all of his belongings to follow God. He was known very well in his community for giving to the needy, and especially focused on giving to children in need. Hanging stockings by the chimney? That started with Saint Nicholas! The ancient legend says that he would throw small bags of gold coins into the open windows of poor homes. After one bag of gold fell into the stocking of a child, the news got around. Children all soon began to hang their stockings by the chimney “in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there”. It really wasn’t until the 1800’s that the spirit of St. Nicholas’ life began to evolve into the creation of Santa Claus, and that happened in America. Santa Claus began to grow from the stories and legends of St. Nicholas, of being a kindly soul who was generous to children, but unlike “St. Nick”, Santa Claus is fairly non-religious. Saint Nicholas Day has been celebrated for hundreds and hundreds of years, and commemorates the death of this very special person, who brought much happiness to a lot of people. Because record keeping was not perfect at the time, his death is believed to have been in either 345 A.D. or 352 A.D. What it all boils down to, is that yes, the original Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, was indeed very real, and I’d have to say that the modern day Santa Claus, who encourages children to behave themselves and be nice to each other, is a lovely story that brings out the best in many of us. As long as the mistake isn’t made of putting him in front of Jesus, it really doesn’t – in my opinion – do any harm to appreciate his contributions to the Christmas season.
Mitten Tree Day – I’m not exactly sure what this holiday was intended to be, but I do like what has been done with it. This is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with, and for children! Set up a Christmas tree and have people donate new mittens by hanging them on the tree, then donate them to a shelter, or anywhere taking this kind of donation this winter! How wonderful is that?
Miners’ Day – Today is the fourth annual National Miners Day. In 2009, Congress proclaimed that each December 6th would be the day of remembrance of the 1907 Monongah coal mine disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 362 miners and became the worst industrial accident in American history. American miners play a much larger role in our lives that most people know. They mine a variety of raw materials that are components in products we use every day, like coal, copper, phosphate, silver, limestone, iron and zinc.
Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, is used by many homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement used to build the roads we travel on and to make them safer. The thousands of everyday goods we use that are from the hard work of miners is mind boggling. The miners put their lives on the line every day to do their jobs and deserve to be protected from workplace hazards that have killed tens of thousands of them, and injured hundreds of thousands more throughout our history. Today I hope that the American people will pause to remember the miners, both those who have been lost to this dangerous job, and those who are currently performing it. Say a prayer for their safety and if you know a miner, thank him or her for their contribution to our nation.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Gazpacho Day – Hailing from Spain, gazpacho is basically classic tomato soup served cold. Pair it with crusty bread on the side or go traditional and add a few chunks into the pot. I’ve never had Gazpacho, but to be honest, all of these pictures really remind me of salsa! If any of you have ever had it, can you tell me if it’s similar?
- Avocado Gazpacho
- Gazpacho With Garlic Cumin Sauce
- Mexican Gazpacho
- Gazpacho Verde
- New York Gazpacho
- Shrimp Cocktail Gazpacho
Heading out on this icy morning should be interesting. I’m just going to take it slow and get to work when I get to work! I know there’s no snow on the ground here, but it’s going to be a crisp and beautiful morning anyway. Merry Christmas, God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!