St. Nicholas is in Town | Winter Solstice | Christmas | Yule

St. Nicholas is in Town | Winter Solstice | Christmas | Yule

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.”

~ Clement Clarke Moore

 

This post has been brewing since early this week, so please bear with the pre-xmas tools- read story. 🙂 

 

A Yule without Rules – Pre-Xmas Tools

I bet most of you are done putting up your Christmas trees. We finally managed to decorate our home early this week, thanks to my adorable nephew who now lives around the corner.

It’s actually our first empty nest Christmas. Both our birds have flown away. One is at boarding school, and the other on a work schedule. Christmas had never felt so quiet and lonely.

Christmas tree -home tree
Our Christmas tree at home

I thought I would cherish my solitude and continue to hibernate, minus all the hum-drum at home, which I had so gotten used to over the years. But the void was palpable and my petulant heart, sulked.

Post Covid everyone’s gone to work – after two years of being home. No WFHs (work from home) anymore, except for yours truly. I had taken a hiatus from freelance writing, but got back sometime ago. I thought I would be chuffed to have that space minus any distractions, but it hasn’t been so. Since I’m the only one at home; all the queries, door bell calls, couriers, plumbing issues, electricity emergencies etc. etc are directed to me.

Therefore, isolating myself and writing minus distractions is no mean feat. On some days I go plonk myself in the grass downstairs and I can work uninterrupted, surrounded by the sweet calm of nature. But Mishka, our cocker is having huge separation anxiety issues after everyone left, so I can’t be away for too long either.

Having said that I’m also learning to set healthy boundaries and park aside exigencies at home, by letting the help know that come hell or high water, she must not come to me with issues, when I am working. It seems she is getting the drift. Amen to that!

Okay, enough of the back story.

Yule in my Neck of Woods

Here’s what’s currently playing out in my neck of woods.

The tree and decorations at home look lovely. Our Book Club, Books & Beyond celebrated its 68th anniversary on Winter Solstice day. I met my two most adorable, rock solid friends from the yesteryears who now live in different parts of the world, but happened to be in town. It was balm to my soul.

The nest suddenly feels less empty.

We have family over for an X’mas barbecue tomorrow. And pssst! The DH and I will get some time together, hopefully. Not without forgetting that we do have a plant family and furry bubbas who sometimes vie for more attention than the girls do, when they are home. 😉

Winter Solstice

On 21st December, Winter Solstice I found this lovely spiced, magick tea which a few of you may like to make.

This tea by @lovebyluna hit the spot.

Give it a go. It’s a cosy hug in a mug.

Winter-tea-cat mug
Yule Magick Tea

The link to the recipe is here.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Since it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and Santa is riding around his sleigh, to bring us X’mas goodies, I have a question for you.

Do you know who Santa Claus actually was?

The big, fat, bearded guy who climbs down chimneys to delivers presents on Christmas eve?

The old, cheery dude with a long snowy bead who rides a sleigh led by Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer?

Is Santa Claus or Father Christmas- Saint Nicholas?

I bet many of you already know.

These questions were for the uninitiated. 😉

 

Saint Nicholas a.k.a. Father Christmas a.k.a. Santa Claus

The traditional model of Santa Cluas emerged from St. Nicholas. Saint Nicholas of Myra (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor (Greek: Μύρα; modern-day Demre, Turkey) during the  the Roman Empire.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint to sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, unmarried people, and students across the world. His legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”).

St. Nicholas is believed to have been born in the Greek seaport of Patra, Lycia in Asia Minor to wealthy Christian parents.

St. Nicholas of Myra

Today I shall take you on a sojourn of the St. Nicholas Church in Myra, Turkey, where he spent many years as a bishop and his mortal remains are believed to be buried here.

We ended in his beautiful church, by chance; thanks to our wonderful tour guide, Karem. Oh, well I know, nothing happens by chance, it’s all pre-destined. Karem was our tour guide from Antalya, the sunny destination by the placid Mediterranean sea of Türkiye.

We were out on a day trip exploring Myra and Kekova – the sunken city and Demre; when Karem who was sharing the rich history of Turkey and the surrounding locations of Antalya, spoke about St. Nicholas Church, on the go.

I have always loved St. Nicholas and “Make me a Channel of your peace” was my go to song from school days, and still continues to be. Of course, thenI wasn’t aware it was attributed to this incredible, kind saint.

Once we were done visiting the ruins of Myra, I persuaded mi familia, we make a minor detour to visit the church. The DH and older bubba choose to wait outside.

The 14 year-old and I explored the church with Karem, though it was mostly under renoovation, but I’m so glad I got Father Christmas’s blessings.

St. Nicholas Church in Myra and all about Father Christmas

The ancient byzantine Church of Saint Nicholas is in the city centre of Demre, along the Mediterranean, in the Antalya province. The ancient church site (now a museum) was added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1982 and welcomes over half a million pilgrims and visitors each year.

The present day building is not the original church on the site. The building we see today was built on the foundation of an older church after St. Nicholas died (December 6, 343) to protect his tomb and honour his memory.

In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, St. Nicholas is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them. Other early stories mention him calming a storm at sea, saving three innocent soldiers from wrongful execution, and even chopping down a tree possessed by a demon.

In his youth, he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after his return, he became Bishop of Myra. He was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian, but was released after the accession of Constantine. He died in Myra on 6 December, 343

Unfortunately, in 1087, tomb raiders from Bari desecrated the tomb believed to contain the remains of St. Nicholas and took the bones to Italy, leaving an empty sarcophagus in the church. (Interestingly, no one is sure where St. Nicholas was buried, so there is still a degree of uncertainty whether the remains the grave robbers took were actually those of much beloved St. Nick!

The church was most recently re-discovered in 1956 during excavation near the main square in Demre, and has drawn significant attention from archaeologists, historians, religious experts and the curious public ever since.

(References: Wikipedia and https://www.arkadaslik-yachting.com/)

 

st. nicholas- statue-myra-statue
The statue of St. Nicholas outside the church in Myra, represnts his love for children.

 

father-christmas-myra-santa claus-st nicholas- shop
Father Christmas in a store just outside of the periphery of the churc

 

Cat-black
His love for animals – a sleepy, angry cat
myra-st-nichoals-church
Karem on the go!

wall depiction-church
Some art work which continues to be restored at the church.

cafe-greek-st nicholas - church-cafe
A Greek cafe outside the church premises, the blue white, pristine prettiness.
Volswagon-Beetle-blue car
My dream car – a Beetle, parked at the premises.

]

 

St-Nicholas-church-anchor
Inside the church, St Nicholas the protector of sea-farers and sailors.
Dog-sleeping dog
A dog rests near Father Christmas’s tomb, a compassionate animal lover.

 

I wish you all the blessings of St. Nicholas or any other divine being you believe in.

May your Christmas be warm and cosy and may the 2023 bring in ease, peace, love, well being and good fortune your way.

Be blessed. Merry Christmas and a blissful 2023. 

 

Love, light, magic and laughter,

Natasha 

 

 

12 thoughts on “St. Nicholas is in Town | Winter Solstice | Christmas | Yule

  1. Darling Natasha, I’ve fallen behind this week. I apologize for the late visit. I’m delighted you joined the 4m party this week. Great post! Blessings to you in the new year, my dear!!

  2. I didn’t know all that much about St. Nicholas before reading your post, including the fact that he was from the present day Turkey. I love these kinds of historic sites. I was familiar with the John Lennon song but not at all with the first song, which was beautifully done. Happy New Year to you!
    Alana recently posted…South Hill Mural #WordlessWednesdayMy Profile

  3. We all love St. Nicholas. What a wonderful history lesson.

    I hope your Christmas was most blessed and wonderful and may you have a most wonderful 2023.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. Love and hugs to you, my friend. ♥
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  4. Hi, dear Natasha! <3
    I enjoyed reading about St. Nicholas! I had some information, many others I didn't.
    You had a nice day at Myra! I'm glad to learn that the church is being renovated – that's good news.
    I hug you with love! <3
    Merry Christmas!

    I recently heard a joke: "the new way of socializing: home alone!" 🙂
    Diana recently posted…Despre Crăciun si brad in citateMy Profile

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