by Elizabeth Hanna Pham

Illustration by Cecilia Vu, senior at the Academy of the Holy Family, Baltic, Connecticut
Coloring picture to print

Feast Day: December 6

It was going to be a sad winter.

My mother and father barely had enough money to buy our daily bread. Certainly, there would be no grand or merry midwinter's feast.

Worse, these were the last few weeks I was to spend with my mother and father and little sisters. To feed the rest of the family, my father planned to send me far away to work. It would not be easy work. I would be lonely and would miss my sweet, warm home and my loving family.

Then, one evening as I lay awake, praying that I might be rescued from my terrible fate, I heard a faint sound coming through the howling wind. Footsteps. They were heavy—a man's footsteps.

I was afraid. Did he mean us harm?

I lay still and listened.

Suddenly, I heard the footsteps stop. Then, a rustling sound, a gruff voice, and something jingling— almost like bells! I sat up in bed, opened the window wide, and looked out.

Just as I did, a tiny red bag soared right past me and landed in front of the fire.

The footsteps rushed away as I peered into the darkness to see who it was.

I was too late.

So I sat down by the fire and opened the little bag. Inside were more gold coins than I'd ever seen in my life! I jumped up with joy and ran to wake my family.

My parents used those gold coins to feed our family and, years later, to pay for my wedding.

In fact, I was married by the man who was my secret gift-giver, Bishop Nicholas, the most beloved man in all the land. It turned out to be such a happy winter!

It's now been many years since Bishop Nicholas saved my family. He went on to bring faith, hope, and love to hundreds of other people . . . and he still does today.

But I will always be the first little girl to have received a gift from Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas

Born in what is now Modern-Day Turkey,
about A.D. 270
Died in A.D. 343

Saint Nicholas was the bishop of Myra. He was well known for his generosity to the poor, children, and those in difficult situations. He is beloved all over the world and often goes by other names, such as Santa Claus and Father Christmas.

By Elizabeth Hanna Pham, A Storybook of Saints, Sophia Institute Press, copyright © 2020, pp. 2-5. Used by permission. 

Storybook with simple narrative stories introduces 50 saints. Focus is on a major incident in the saints' lives, told in a contemporary mode.

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