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The Church Year holds December 6 as the Feast Day to remember and honor Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. Although widely venerated, little is actually known about him. Nicholas suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. It is possible this bishop attended the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325. Emporer Justinian honored Nicholas as a saint in Constantinople in the 6th century. He is famed as the traditional patron of seafarers and sailors, and more especially, of children. Legends speak to his acts of kindness, humility and unselfishness. One legend recounts him giving three bags of gold to three girls for their marriage dowries in order to save them from prostitution. Perhaps the most popular image of Nicholas is the institution of Santa Claus, which attained its present form in North America, where the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam united to it Nordic folkloric legends of a magician who both punished naughty children and rewarded good ones with presents. 

Every year, Bishop Nicholas comes to visit my church, Grace Episcopal in Alexandria, VA, bringing candy canes to the children of the parish. Candy Canes represent several symbols of Christ's Love in our world: White for the pure, sinless nature of Jesus; Red for the blood shed for all the world; and the crook at the top as the shepherd's staff because Jesus is shepherd to All. When we first started this "tradition", I was Nicholas. Here I am with my priest and Rector, The Rev. Robert H. Malm, sitting on my lap.