Thursday, December 6

This little test insists that if I were a work of art, I would be Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

It has discerned that I am extremely popular and widely known. Although unassuming and unpretentious, my enigmatic smile has charmed millions. I am a mystery, able to be appreciated from afar, but ultimately unknowable and thus intriguing.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra. Much of what we know about St. Nicholas is legend, but there is no lack of those legends. Some say the story of Santa Claus coming down a chimney is rooted in the story of St. Nicholas trying to help out a father of three daughters: And when his father and mother were departed out of this life, he began to think how he might distribute his riches, and not to the praising of the world but to the honour and glory of God.

And it was so that one, his neighbour, had then three daughters, virgins, and he was a nobleman: but for the poverty of them together, they were constrained, and in very purpose to abandon them to the sin of lechery, so that by the gain and winning of their infamy they might be sustained. And when the holy man Nicholas knew hereof he had great horror of this villainy, and threw by night secretly into the house of the man a mass of gold wrapped in a cloth. And when the man arose in the morning, he found this mass of gold, and rendered to God therefor great thankings, and therewith he married his oldest daughter.

And a little while after this holy servant of God threw in another mass of gold, which the man found, and thanked God, and purposed to wake, for to know him that so had aided him in his poverty. And after a few days Nicholas doubled the mass of gold, and cast it into the house of this man. He awoke by the sound of the gold, and followed Nicholas, which fled from him, and he said to him: Sir, flee not away so but that I may see and know thee. Then he ran after him more hastily, and knew that it was Nicholas; and anon he kneeled down, and would have kissed his feet, but the holy man would not, but required him not to tell nor discover this thing as long as he lived.

In elaborations on the story, St. Nicholas dropped the last bag of gold down the chimney. This version is from The Golden Legend, a medieval compilation of saints' lives.

St. Nicholas came to our house last night. David couldn't be bothered to put out a shoe, which is too bad, since, considering its size, he would have brought in quite a haul. Joseph put his shoe out, and this morning there was a little bag of Cheerios in it!

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