A St. Nicholas Day Celebration
This service recognizes Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th. It tells of Nicholas, a 4th century Bishop, and his unique way of giving, encouraging people to remember those in need during Christmas and through out the year.
As you plan this event, choose a leader and someone to play the part of Saint Nicholas. Allow enough time for them to become familiar with their lines.
You may use a robe and staff for Saint Nicholas' costume and gold coin chocolates if you wish to hand out candy at the end.
You might want to plan a meal or gathering after this play for people to discuss and plan for alternative gift-giving this Christmas. You could encourage them to bring a gift for someone in need to your Epiphany celebration (such as baby booties, warm gloves or food).
LEADER: December 6th is the feast of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas lived long ago in the 4th century far away in Myra, a part of Asia Minor. He was known for his kindness and generosity to the needy. He was so loving to people that eventually he was asked to lead the Christians in Myra as their bishop.
Some of you are actively following his example of reaching out to the poor and rejected. That's marvelous! You're keeping a proper perspective on giving at a time of year when we feel tremendous pressure to buy unnecessary things for one another, while more needy people go without heat, nutritious food and friendship.
It's difficult these days to remember the one whose birthday we will be celebrating soon. What kinds of gifts would Jesus want—our works of mercy and love? Imagine how this Christmas could be a truly Christian feast if we all followed Jesus' example like Nicholas did.
[Saint Nicholas enters.]
SAINT NICHOLAS: That would be wonderful! Yes indeed! Nicholas, Bishop of Myra at your service.
LEADER: Well, Bishop Nicholas, can you give us some ideas about gift-giving?
NICHOLAS: I think Jesus showed us the way. He always tried to give to people who were poor, sick or lonely.
LEADER: Who might that be in our area?
NICHOLAS: Well, sometimes it's someone in your own family, classroom, office or neighborhood who is feeling lonely or overwhelmed by a problem. They need your friendship and your time. You may not know the names of those who are struggling to heat their home, but they are right here in [name of city]. I hear that the power company has a way for you to help pay their heating bills to keep them warm this winter. Or you can donate food to the local food bank. And don't forget about helping people by donating to [church's giving fund].
LEADER: But if we use some of our gift money that way, we won't have enough to buy expensive gifts for our families and friends. They might be disappointed.
NICHOLAS: That's right. Sometimes it's hard to be like Jesus. Remember that he promised his spirit would be with us at times like this to help us make loving choices. You can explain it to your friends and relatives, asking them to use their money for the needy too, instead of buying you a gift.
LEADER: Oh, that sounds tough!
NICHOLAS: But it feels wonderful!
LEADER: Saint Nicholas, can you tell us of a time when you gave a gift?
NICHOLAS: Let me think a moment. Oh yes, there was once a poor couple who had three daughters who were ready to get married. According to the custom of that time, the family needed money to give as a dowry for the daughters to marry. Without the money for dowries, the girls would have no choice but to become slaves. I didn't want that to happen, so one night I secretly tossed some gold coins through the window.
LEADER: Did they ever find out it was you?
NICHOLAS: They thought it might be me, but I never told. That's half the fun of giving-keeping it a secret. Like Jesus, I love to give to those in need. And I love to give to children.
NICHOLAS: I have a gift for you today. Who can remember the gift I gave to the three daughters?
CHILDREN: [Leader can prompt if need be] Gold coins.
NICHOLAS: Right! And I have some for you today, not real gold, but with a treat inside.
[Nicholas passes out coin candy. This part can be deleted or adapted if you do not wish to pass out candy.]
NICHOLAS: Now, can you think of ways you might give a gift to someone who is lonely or poor?
[Allow time for response, especially from the children.]
LEADER: Thank you for sharing your time with us today, Saint Nicholas. Your ideas about gift-giving will help us to remember those who are truly in need this Christmas season.
Used by permission of ALTERNATIVES for Simple Living.
"Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly"
Resources for responsible living since 1973