****reprinted from last year. I'll move it to archive dating later. - KFB******
In honor of the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th (which starts in 13 minutes here as I write this), here is a short story I wrote about three years ago. I hope you like it. - Karen
by Karen Funk Blocher
The bishop of Myra returned to his prayers with satisfaction, wonder, and guilt. Satisfaction, because the girl had awakened at the sound of the bag of gold hitting the dirt floor, and received it joyfully. The dowry meant that she would marry, and have a good life instead of one of degradation. Wonder, because only the Almighty knew the source of the gold. Guilt, because he had accidentally seen the girl partially unclothed. What if that was not what the Lord had wanted him to do?
Nicholas prayed for an hour or more, and went back to bed. Dawn would come soon, and with it morning vespers. In his dreams he was no longer a clergyman, but a toymaker. He had a wife, but no children except the world's children. He wore strange red and white garments to keep out the cold, for he lived in a place of snow and ice. He drove a chariot without wheels, pulled by strange deer never seen in Asia, and gave toys, not gold, to children who called him by dozens of names.
When he awoke, he wondered: was this a prophetic dream, a nightmare, or both? He got up, pulled on his cassock and slippers, and stepped outside for the short walk to the church. The dawn air was still and warm, and the stars were fading into the growing daylight. Nicholas heard a jingling bell that was not a church bell. A single snowflake fell from heaven into the bishop's hand.
St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus