Remebering Mikulas Day or St Nicholas Day

Remembering Mikulas Day

December 6, brings up memories of St. Nicholas’s visit in our home in Budapest Hungary. You may never have heard of the Saint Nicholas, but in Hungary, but for many Hungarian children it is a special day. December 6 th is the day when Hungary ’s Santa makes his rounds, traditionally, by a horse drawn sleigh. He is said to be accompanied by two helpers, a good angel who gives out presents to good children and a krampusz, a mean goblin who punishes bad children.

Santa is Szent Mikulás (Saint Nicholas) and 6 th December is Mikulás Nap (St. Nicholas day). He is similar to the Western Santa except that instead of a Santa Clause costume he wears the red robes of a bishop, a red miter on his head and carries a staff in one hand.

On the evening of December 5 we children polished our shoes and put them on the window ledge. By morning, if I had been good, judged my parents, Mikulás filled my shiny shoes with candy, tangerines, walnuts, apples, and chocolate Mikulás figures. I remember back then, the Mikulas candy was the figure of the saintly Nicholas who gave of his fortune to poor family’s children.  See more about  St Nicholas legends

Though many legends floated throughout Eastern Europe most relate back to Nicholas born to a wealthy family in Patara, Lycia (modern day Turkey). His parents died, and he inherited a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. In the most famous story is about Nicholas  throwing  bags of gold through the windows of three girls about to be forced into lives of prostitution as (as a child we heard the girls had no dowry and could not be married and would have been sold as slaves). This sounds more real to me than any other legend, It is not so different today, human trafficking is common is many parts of the world. Human trafficking, is the dark shadow of our culture, sadly,  it is among us, often unseen. See more about this Human trafficking, the dark shadow upon our culture

Getting back to my memories of one Mikulas Daywhen my family was invited to a Mikulas Day celebration. We were gathered at a friend’s house waiting for his arrival. We heard loud thumping outside the door, suddenly I was a bit frightened, just not sure what to expect. The door opened and he walked in tall, impressive in his bishop’s robe, mitered hat carrying a big bag in one hand and holding unto his tall golden shepherd’s staff. Behind him lurked the dreaded krampusz, with red horns in dark devilish red. I was spared the twigs and received a bag of candy and nuts.  Mikulas was stern, he warned us to be obedient to our parents and be good to each other. The memory of that one night remains vivid though I never knew who played the part Mikulas and Krampusz.  The night remain very real feelings of fear mixed with expectation of goodies. None of us moved to open our goody bags until Mikulas had thumped out of the room. At home, If I had been bad, my shoes would not have goodies, instead just a bundle of twigs usually with a krampusz-figure attached, indicating a beating is in order. Thankfully, I never got only twigs. I still recall fearing the morning of Dec. 6. Since I was never all good or all bad, I usually got a bundle of white twigs sprinkled with glitter and the goodies. Memories of Mikulas Day celebrations were fearful and wonderful.

Memories of holidays, celebrations and special occasions form the fabric of who we are. Our world view is shaped by these memories.  Psychologists call memories etched into the fabric of our being,  Episodic Memory. According to Swedenborg, memory is multi layered; we recall events in the exterior memory, but the most interior memory is shaped by God’s presence, where the very fabric of our being is maintained.  See more about this in Swedenborg’s, A C n. 2490. More startling are reports of many Near Death Experiencers’ (NDErs) reports about Life Reviews during intense Near Death States. People experiencing panoramic simultaneous recall of their life-events and the feelings associated with them are truly amazing phenomena that has life altering effects on those undergoing  life-reviews. Here is just one example of an NDEr’s  Life Review.

Sharing our holiday memories is fun, join us for a festive occasion on Sunday December 16 at 4:30 at 698 E. Wetmore Rd. suite 200B, Tucson AZ, a sharing of holiday memories.

St Nicholas or Mikulas

 

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Gabriella was born in Budapest Hungary. Some of her family still resides in Hungary. After escaping the Communist regime in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution, Gabriella's family settled in Cleveland OH. She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and attended college but did not earn a degree. She met her husband in Devon PA, and soon they were married and began family life in PA. Only a few years married, John and Gabriella moved to FL to be with Gabriella's aging parents. Two o their three children were born Florida. After the children began school, Gabriella volunteered in schools and libraries. Her love for swimming drew her into the world of aquatics. Part time coaching jobs evolved into career aquatic management. Her children out of the home, Gabriella worked full time as an aquatic manger, coach and swim instructor. In 2001, John and Gabriella's plans to ease into retirement in Tucson changed drastically when John suffered a heart attack in 2002. John’s amazing recovery after bypass surgery allowed Gabriella to seek a new career. It was a life changing experience for both of them. Gabriella returned to school at the University of AZ and John took over household responsibilities. A shift occurred in their lives. Gabriella felt called to become a spiritual care provider. Preparing for seminary, she chose interdisciplinary program, combining Psychology, Family and Religious Studies. She graduated with honors in 2006. Gabriella and John moved to Berkeley for her to begin seminary at the Pacific School of Religion. Gabriella was accepted on the ordination track in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Her goal was to becoming a chaplain. John's health crisis necessitated a move from Berkeley back to Tucson in 2008. Gabriella transferred to Earlham School of Religion to complete the Master’s program. In her senior year, working in required Supervised Ministry, Gabriella created a dual ministry; Circle Community, a sharing, praying and studying support group and worked as a crisis advocate in Tucson area hospitals. Most of her family was present in Cincinnati OH when Gabriella was ordained in July 2012. In July of 2011 she was ordained in the Swedeborgian Church and accepted a call to be the pastor of the New Church of Southwest FL. Soon after her ordination Gabriella accepted a call to become the pastor to the New Church of Southwest FL in 2011. John, a VA patient needed comprehensive medical care unavailable in Fort Myers. For Gabriella ministry begins at home. Once again new a health crisis changed their life. They moved back to Tucson AZ. Back in Tucson, Gabriella found ministry opportunities with Circle Community, did workshops and conducted weekly Prayer Meditations at Rincon U.C.C. She completed a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction. In mid October 2012, Gabriella began to work as a Chaplain for Harmony Hospice. The job all she had expected. She found great satisfaction working with patients and their families. Gabriella left the per diem position with Harmony for a full time job with Valor HospiceCare. Here too, she worked with grieving families, conducted grief support groups and lead Community Memorial services during the same time that her husband's health was spiraling downwards. Gabriella resigned her job to care for John in the last months of his life. John died in April 2014. Life became chaotic. An intense search a chaplain position in Tucson and other parts of the country was unsuccessful. Peers suggested Gabriella look into open churches with the Swedenborgian Church. She candidated in Kansas with two churches. She was called to pastor the Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches in July 2014. A new life began with the move to rural Kansas. In August 2014, Gabriella began to serve as the Pastor of the two churches.

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