How St. Nicholas Chooses the Most Worthy for Gifts

retold by Michael Roman

In our research we found a story describing how St. Nicholas selected the most worthy to receive his gifts. The story, which is worth remembering, goes like this.
St Nicholas carrying very large sack
Vintage postcard: Hungary
St Nicholas Center Collection

Good Saint Nicholas came upon ingratitude when he left gifts for people. So the next Christmas he decided to test the good will and gratitude of those whom he wished to honor with his presents.

After distributing gifts to those he knew to be deserving, he packed the rest of the presents in a large sack. And what a big pack it was!. It contained money, food, toys for the little ones, warm clothes for those who needed them, and comforts for the aged.

St. Nicholas then picked up the sack and went out beside the road to a little village. He put down his sack and sat by it in the snow.

To each passerby he cried aloud, "Friend, will you please help an old man carry his heavy sack?"

But most of those who went by were too busy with their own affairs to heed him. For that matter, they just kept going, burdened with their Christmas things and few deigned to answer St. Nick's appeal.

However, St. Nicholas was not dismayed. As the people passed him, he continued to cry out, "Friend, please help an old man to carry his heavy sack.

A fat, rich merchant came by and answered, "Ah, old man, instead of sitting there at ease, you should carry your own burden."

Then came another person with a goose tucked under his arm and he spoke roguishly, "Ah, and while I bend over to lift your sack, it would be easy for you to snatch my goose and run away with it. No, thank you."

And so it went on, until a poor woodcutter burdened with his bundle of sticks, wearily dragged along towards St. Nicholas, who pleaded, "Friend, will you help an old man to carry his heavy sack?"

"Yes, I will, dear neighbor," replied the cutter, loading the heavy sack on his own bundle. "Where do you want it taken?"

"Lead on," said St. Nicholas, and when we reach the place I will tell you and give you my blessing."

So the poor old man plodded forward with the saint beside him, until they reached a tumbled down cottage on the edge of the village.

"Here I live," smiled the man, "but after I leave my sticks I will carry your sack to your journey's end with a good heart, for it is Christmas when all men should help their fellowmen."

"My journey ends here," said St. Nicholas, "the sack and what's in it are for you. my son, because you well deserve the gift."

St Nicholas of Myra

From Saint Nicholas of Myra: More Blessed to Give than to Receive by Michael Roman, GCU Honorary Editor and Knight of St. Gregory the Great, Greek Catholic Union of the USA. Used by permission.

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