The Feast of St Nicholas, BC, IIIrd Class
Today is the Feast of St Nicholas. "Hurrah!" as my children would have said when they were younger. They got a gift on his Feast, their regular presents on Christmas morning (they got to open one after Midnight Mass, but I never got to sleep in on Christmas morning!) and another small gift on the Feast of the Three Kings. The whole idea of gift giving at Christmas seems to actually have come from these two Feasts. Of course, there is evidence that as a liturgical celebration, the Epiphany is older than Christmas, so in a way, it was just a transfer.
The Collect from the Roman Breviary:
O God, who didst adorn thy blessed Bishop Nicholas, with power to work many and great miracles : grant, we beseech thee ; that by his prayers and merits we may be delivered from the fires of everlasting torment. Through.
The Proper Lessons may be found here.
The article on him from the Catholic Encyclopædia.
From the Golden Legend of Bl. Jacobus Voragine.
From Tradition in Action.
From the Lives of the Saints, by Fr Alban Butler.
From Catholic Forum
(with other links).
From Medieval Saints at Yahoo!.
An Orthodox view from the Orthodox Church in America.
And the article from Medieval Saints at Yahoo! on the fun that was had by all at the Festival of the Boy Bishop, held on this day during the High Ages of Faith.