Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas. Nicholas is beloved in many parts of the world, and often invoked interchangeably with Santa Claus. I came to appreciate the life of St. Nicholas when I attended St Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston, IL. Early December was filled with activities based on the life of our patron saint. Also during those years we hosted an Ursuline Sister from the Netherlands for whom December 6th was a most festive celebration of gift-giving, delicious treats and surprise acts of kindness. That experience has lived with me ever since.

We’ve probably all experienced giving or receiving “random acts of kindness.” That santa-stuck-in-chimneywas what St. Nicholas was known for. As a young man, he used his inheritance to secretly help villagers when they were struggling to make ends meet. Families and individuals would find bags of gold coins at their door or tossed down the chimney. As I reflect on this, I wonder what secret acts of Advent kindness I could do for someone? I’ve got a few ideas. What about you? I invite you to join me in a conspiracy of kindness during these next weeks of Advent and beyond.

About this photo: Last week I visited St. Ferdinand’s school in Florissant, MO. Artwork from the Pre-K classes adorned the hallway. This one tickled my fancy. I think Leo definitely has the spirit of St. Nicholas!