Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend: Julie Stiegemeyer

Books Worth Reading

December 4, 2018

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A beautiful book about the historical figure Saint Nicholas, whose kindness and generosity inspires the tradition of giving Christmas gifts.

Reading Level: Ages 4-12.

Read aloud time: About 4-5 minutes.
Length: 32 pages.

About the Author: Julie Stiegemeyer has authored more than twenty books for children. She has also written for magazines, newspapers, and devotional books. Julie also teaches writing at Concordia University in Irvine, California. She lives with her husband, son, and many, many pets.

Here’s why kids might like Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend:
This is a great book for younger children interested in learning more about the origins of Christmas traditions like giving gifts to people we love or putting out shoes on St. Nicholas Day. This book has large, beautifully rendered illustrations and the story is short and simple. Children will be inspired by Saint Nicholas’ generosity in helping a poor family in his town and recognize the good we do when we share what we have with others and always treat others with kindness and love. They will learn a little about history, about Christmas traditions, and be reminded that everything we do is a response to the great love God has shown us when He gave us His Son at Christmas to be our Savior.

What makes this book worth reading?
This is a great book for anyone wanting a book about the historical figure Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, that will help teach their children about the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Christ), as well as the inspiration for giving Christmas gifts — St. Nicholas’ generosity to the people in his community. This book has beautiful illustrations and a clear narrative that is easy to understand and rooted in the history of what we know about Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who lived in the fourth century. The story makes no mention of Santa Claus and does not speak of Saint Nicholas as being the inspiration for Santa, only that he became known as “Father Christmas” because his example of giving gifts may be the inspiration for the tradition of giving Christmas gifts. The book also includes an afterward that gives a brief biography of the historical Nicholas as well as some information about celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6 and a glossary of terms used in the story. The book is written from a clearly Christian perspective and is Biblically sound, but the language is general and not specific to any particular denomination.

A few ways to discuss this book with your child:

  • What did you learn about Saint Nicholas? Was he a good pastor to his community?
  • What Christmas traditions might come from the story of Saint Nicholas? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?
  • On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ, God’s greatest gift to us, who was born to be our Savior. What does that mean to you? Does Jesus’ love for you and generosity towards you make you want to love and be generous with other people, just like Saint Nicholas? Tell me about that.

Publication Details: St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 2003.

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