For a number of years, "St. Nicholas" has been a guest at our annual
Church Christmas Social. He has told stories about great Christians of the
past - aka "Saints" - around whom have arisen a variety of legends. Many of
these legends have become a part of our traditions and our celebration of
Christmas, or other holidays. In preparation for telling these stories,
there was plenty of research, and a handout was prepared about one of these
saints and the history and the legends about them.
These look at the legends and the real people behind them,
and include a number of links for further study. Eventually I hope to add
similar pages on other "legendary saints" such as Stephen, George,
Christopher, Francis, Augustine, Athenasius, Dominic and Bernard of
Clairvaux, and Patrick.
Christmas Services: Programs of Scripture Readings and Carols
Two Christmas Program / Plays I wrote: The Tailor's Shop (1990) which used Sawyer's This Was The Christmas (below) and The Bum's Rush (1991) and we staged at Lake Stevens Presbyterian Church.
A Gathering of Santas - A storytelling program of the Seattle Storytellers Guild featuring various "Santa's Helpers," such as Grandfather Frost, Frau Hulda, Father Christmas and St Nicholas with a list of other "helpers" as well.
Favorite Christmas Stories: both sacred and profane:
The Cribmaker's Trip to Heaven - A Christmas Morality Story adapted from a 1911 story by Reimmichl (Father Sebastian Reiger). It is found in the anthologies: Behold the Star, and Home for Christmas. A Reader's Theater version is in Speaking of Christmas by Matthew Powell.
Tom Bawcock's Eve or StarGazzy Pie A Christmas time story of how a fisherman saves the village of Mousehole and the celebration with a pie made with seven kinds of fishes. After telling this story at a Christmas potluck, I shared a pie with seven kinds of apples, and fish cutouts on the crust.
Sawyer was a gifted storyteller and a prolific writer, with a passion
for folk-tales and a great affection for Christmas stories. It seems
particularly fitting that her first book, This
Way to Christmas, was a collection of folk tales, bound
together by the surrounding story of a lonely young boy who is separated
from his family at Christmas-time.
The Long Christmas is another Christmas book by her, that includes Epiphany.
books include Newberry and Caldecott Award winners. Another Christmas
story, The Good
Night, a Finnish tale, will appeal to astronomers. The Legend of St
Elizabeth is a good Medieval Christmas story. Ruth Sawyer's The
Way of the Storyteller is a classic volume on the art of telling
that continues to inspire storytellers.
Several more I've adapted for use for the holidays:
Christmas: A Biography (2017) by Judith Flanders explores the Christmas holiday, from the original festival through present day traditions casting a sharp eye on myths, legends and history, deftly moving from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire, through Christmas trees in central Europe, to what might be the first appearance of Santa Claus – in Switzerland – to draw a picture of the season as it has never been seen before.
Christmas in America: A History by Penne L. Resta. (1996) Christmas has always been an ambiguous meld of sacred thoughts and worldly actions-- as well as a fascinating reflection of our changing society.
Santa Claus: A Biography (2007) In this engaging social and cultural history, Gerry Bowler examines the place of Santa Claus in history, literature, advertising, and art. He traces his metamorphosis from a beardless youth into a red-suited peddler. He reveals the lesser-known aspects of the gift-bringer’s life.
by Gerry Bowler
a Time For Singing: Regional Synod of Canada - Reformed Church in
America (The rest of this eight part series on The Growth of Sacred
Music by Herman Mulder includes also the early Church, Luther, Bach,
Handel, the Wesley's, and Newton can be found in the Archives forThe Pioneer
Christian Monthly archives for 1976-1978)