Saint Nicholas Speaks to the Children

by Michael Howard

In the Fall 1984 Newsletter the Waldorf Kindergarten Association printed an article by Dr. Helmut von Kügelgen of Stuttgart, containing the words which St. Nicholas might speak to children in the kindergarten. That article ended with the lines, "But the inner, true intent of these lines may stimulate or inspire every St. Nicholas. Whoever wishes to follow this intent should read the text several times — and then find the words and language which suit the children to whom he comes. Filled with his spirit and flowing from his heart, his own language must stream to the children through the mouth of St. Nicholas." In working with these lines, Michael Howard of the Waldorf Institute, found a way of speaking them to the children at Green Meadow School, and here is his revised version as an inspiration for those who take on the noble deed of being St. Nicholas.

Dark green Saint Nicholas
Needle-felted Waldorf figure
by Mel Orr, Etsy
St Nicholas Center Collection

Greetings dear children!
God greets you through my word.

I have journeyed through all the heavens,
Where the stars and the good moon glow,
And the great Sun of the spirit always shines.
There in a starry meadow, I met the Heavenly Mother,
Who spoke to me saying,
Dear Nicholas,
Soon it will be Christmas again,
When in the darkest and coldest hour of the earth's night,
The Holy Child is to be born.
I shall weave a garment from the rays of the stars
To protect my child from the dark and cold.
But one thing is missing, she said.
The warm light of love
From the hearts of all the children of earth
Must also be woven into the Holy Child's garment.

The Heavenly Mother then said,
Dear Nicholas, please do me this kindness.
Walk over the earth,
Through meadows and forests,
And from town to town.
Seek all the children who will give the love of their hearts
So that the Holy Child may be born on earth again.

Thus did the Heavenly Mother speak to me
And I have done as she asked.
I descended through the heavens
Down to earth
Where I found my friend Ruprecht asleep in some bushes.
And so I woke him;
Otherwise he might have slept through Christmas.
Together Ruprecht and I have journeyed over the earth,
Through meadows and forests
And from town to town
To gather the rays of love from all the children.

I see the loving thoughts in your hearts,
I know all that is good in what you say and do.
I see also those silly thoughts
Which sometimes cloud the light of your hearts,
That they might shine like the Sun.

Nicholas walks among the children, polishing their hearts with a pine branch taken from his staff. To each child he says,

Polish your heart.
Now I will open my golden book
To see what is written there.

Nicholas reads what has been written for the whole group to hear or for each child, individually, depending on what seems appropriate.

Now, children, sing me a song, an Advent song,
That the love in your hearts may stream forth
For me to gather and bring to the Heavenly Mother.

The children sing a song.

Thank you children!
Your song fills me with great joy
For now I can tell the Heavenly Mother
That I have found children on earth
Who have made a crib of love in their hearts.
Where the Holy Child may be born.

Golden Walnut

The Heavenly Mother has asked me to give a gift to each of you.
Cherish this golden nut,
That it remind you of the light in your heart,
Which like this seed may grow into a mighty Sun of Love.

The children, each in turn, stand up and a golden nut (attached to a gold ribbon necklace) is placed over their heads, so that the nuts rest over their hearts. To each child, Nicholas says, "Grow in love."
After all the children have received their golden nuts, Nicholas says,
Dear children, I bid you farewell.
I must continue my journey over the earth
Until I return to the Heavenly Mother with your gifts of love.
God greets you, dear children,
God greets you through my word.

By Michael Howard, from An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten: Articles from the Waldorf Kindergarten Newsletter 1981–1992, Waldorf Kindergarten Association of North America, Fall 1993. Used by permission of the author.

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