In the book, “Gazing Into The Eyes of the Future : The Enactment of Saint Nicholas In The Waldorf School,” by David Tresemer, it is written: “Augustine, another saint, said, “Our whole business in this life to restore the health of the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.” The St. Nicholas that visits the classrooms in a Waldorf School is searching and seeking soul to soul with the child in front of them in an intimacy of the heart, and in a special moment to communicate to the child a thank you for being here in this time and space and for being part of the healing of a broken world in the future. What gifts, talents, and dreams do these children bring? We have gratitude for this with the children in front of us.
As we lay out the traditional gifts of St. Nicholas (citrus, dates and golden walnuts are mentioned particularly for the older children and high schoolers), let us ponder the beautiful continuinty of the seasons through many , many years of doing this for our children. May the light embodied in this festival shine into our children and for their place in the world.
Younger students, those under fifth grade, can hear stories of St. Nicholas’ great courage and generosity. Older students, oddly enough, in a Waldorf School, may hear something about Rupert. Rupert is seen in Waldorf Schools as have fallen mightly and yet can still be touched and transformed by the light of St. Nicholas. He may be mischevious when he visits the schools, but St. Nicholas often says, “He is trying to be good.” Together, St. Nicholas and Rupert reflect the duality of the human being in so many ways, and the compassion we must show one another in the struggle. What a valuable lesson for all older children, especially those in high school. This is often an aspect I find often not considered by homeschooling families. There is a story about Nicholas and Rupert in the back of book mentioned above that could be shared with older children.
Other wonderful traditions for this day could include dipping candles, creating a gingerbread house, or making gingerbread. Crafting rosettes, frost paintings, or even paper snowflakes could be fun activities for the day as well. I always remember the line in the book, “All Year Round, ” that states that adults often experience struggle or depression during Advent. How much more edifying and nourishing it is to keep these traditions of joy year after year!