Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Nick and the Sausage Machine

Today I am sharing, for the first time I might add, a story I have written.  I'm a little nervous about this.  It feels super vulnerable. So be kind to me :)  It's a story for St. Nicholas Day, which is tomorrow.  If you do nothing else for this day at least read this story.   Oh!  I've added a "Print Friendly" button to the bottom of my posts so you can print this story out and read it more easily to your Littles and Bigs.

I love the imagination that St. Nick brings to children.  The stories around him are full of fantasy and mystery.  They create an opportunity to ponder the Mystery of Christ and the inner workings of our hearts.  I tell this story, "St. Nick and The Sausage Machine", on St. Nicholas Eve in anticipation of his visit the next morning.  And let me tell you it's a gripping story.  My boys are on the edge of their seats every time!  Then afterwards we sprinkle special magical glitter dust on our doorstep so that Santa Claus knows we want him to visit on December 6th instead of December 19th 25th (other common days for him to visit, he does have a lot of homes to visit after all, we can't expect him to do it ALL in one night can we :).  We put out our shoes filled with veggies for his animals; you know the reindeer and white horse and such.  And we go to bed.

 In the morning, we awake to a splendid table set by St. Nick himself for our St. Nicholas Feast in the late afternoon.  He steels Speculatius cookies from our freezer to decorate our plates.  There are three Cutie Oranges in our shoes in place of the veggies, chocolate coins hidden all over.  It is a special day to bridge the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It brings us hope that Christ’s promise is truly coming. 

Enjoy & Happy St. Nick's Day!

St. Nick and the Sausage Machine
By: Kristen S. Sandoz
Copyright 2010

Tonight is a night of mystery and awe.  For tonight is the night that St. Nick comes to visit in all his wonder and glory.  He was a real man whose love for Christ was so great that he gave away all his worldly possession to those in need.  He was known for his love of children sneaking in the night to leave them gifts of gold and toys.  He was a Bishop who loved his flock and cared for his people like a kind and gentle shepherd.  Legend has it that he was a savior.  He saved three young girls from slavery, sailors from a violent storm and three military officers from an unjust execution.  While performing these deeds of love he was seen riding a beautiful white horse, a humble donkey or perhaps he was seen in a sleigh pulled by nine faithful reindeer.   In these ways he has become a type of Christ performing miracles in Christ’s name and paving the way for His birth on Christmas morning. 

Now, once a year, he brings gifts to boys and girls.  He mysteriously knows the hearts of each child judging if they have been bad or good, naughty or nice.  He is very rarely seen by anyone but he leaves evidence of his presence by eating a plate of cookies, or leaving a gift in a stocking, or coins in a shoe, or he gives a blessing to a child.  Even more his spirit shines in the hearts of children who do secret deeds of kindness as if they were St. Nicholas himself.  Yes, St. Nick is alive and well.  His spirit lives in side those who choose to believe. 

Do you believe?  Then I will tell you my favorite St. Nicholas story.

Nicholas was a loved and respected Bishop who served God’s people in the seaport town of Myra in the country of Turkey.  He served his flock faithfully keeping them on the path of righteousness.  But one day he was called away from Myra to the counsel of Nicaea in Rome to do some very important work.  With sadness he said goodbye to his people and set sail on a very long journey over the Mediterranean Sea.  A journey that took him weeks and weeks.

Nicholas was gone for a very long time.  Days past then weeks and soon whole months had gone by.  The people of Myra missed Nicholas and they began to forget the things he had taught them.  They had no idea when Nicholas would return and they began to get board and discouraged.  Then one day a very elegantly dressed man came to town.  He had a brilliant idea to pass the time until Nick returned. 

“Why don’t you have a fair?  There would be all kinds of diversions to keep you busy and entertained.  Think of all the plays and games, dances and festivities you could enjoy.  It would be a grand event and then you wouldn’t miss this Nicholas of yours so much.”  

He said this with such enthusiasm and bravado that the people of Myra thought this was a wonderful idea.  They began preparations for the fair right away.  Everyone was busy doing something for this special event.  There were stages to be made, lights to be strung, music to practice, and food to be prepared. 

One particular person was very busy making something very special.  It was the town butcher.  He had it in his heart to make the very best sausages the town of Myra had ever seen in honor of Nicholas.  He wanted to make a sausage that Nicholas would be proud of.  So he began to make an incredible machine.

The day of the fair finally arrived and the butcher was excited to start making his sausages for the town.  With a great crowd around him he started his machine.  The crowd was in awe of the marvelous invention before them.  With lights flashing and gears turning the butcher fed the first pig through the sausage machine.  The machine sputtered and made all kinds of grinding noises until finally out popped a string of perfect sausages.  The crowed cheered with delight and started buying the butcher’s sausage faster than the butcher could make them.

Soon the butcher had run out of pigs to send through the sausage machine.  What was he to do?  The people loved his sausages.  The fair wasn’t over yet and his sausages were bringing him lots of money.  He knew that he and his wife would be rich if they could just keep making sausages. 

“Wife!” The butcher called out.  “We must find more pigs.  Our public demands it!”

“But we have bought every pig in the town dear husband.” The wife replied, “There are not more pigs to be found anywhere!”

“We’ll double the price of the sausages.  We must have pigs!”  The butcher replied.

“Dear husband do not be dismayed.  We’ve made enough money to have a comfortable life.  And don’t forget that we’ve made sausages that Nicholas would be proud of.  Isn’t that enough?”  The wife replied.

“Oh, wife.” The butcher argued. “You can’t possibly understand.  We are on the edge of something wonderful here.  We can’t give up now.”

Suddenly the elegantly dressed man appeared beside the arguing couple.

 “Perhaps I can be of assistance to you.”  He suggested.  “I see you have a problem here.  You have run out of nice fat juicy pigs and your fans are eager to have more of your beloved sausages, that have indeed honored Nicholas.  This is a sad day.” He mused remorsefully.

 “If we just think creatively enough I am sure we can come up with a solution that will please everyone.” He said with sudden hope.

“You really think so!” The butcher and his wife exclaimed.

“Why certainly!  All we need to do is find a substitution for pigs.  It’s as easy as pie!” The elegant man exclaimed with confidence.

“Yes, a substitute.  I never thought of that.” The butcher was feeling great relief now.

“I suppose there really is no harm in using something else besides pigs.” The wife declared with satisfaction.

“You see?” the elegant man affirmed, “Our problem is all but solved.”

“Let’s think.” Declared the wife.  “A nice beefy cow just might do the trick!”

“Oh, no my wife.” Retorted the butcher. “We need something tastier than that.  We need something plump and juice.  Something tender and ripe.”

Right at that moment three very plump and tender young boys passed by the sausage machine.  They had been enjoying themselves very much at the fair and had heard rumor of the extra ordinary sausage machine with lights and buzzers and gears whirling inside it.  They had never seen such a gizmo before and were very curious, not to mention hungry.

“Please sir,” the fattest of them said, “May we see your sausage machine?”

The butcher being really a kind man and of course very proud of his invention showed the boys his invention with pleasure.  But as they were looking into the mouth of the sausage machine a strange desire came over the butcher and before anyone could see him he shoved the three pudgy boys into the machine.  With a wink at the butcher the elegantly dressed man pulled the lever to start the machine.  Seeing the sausage machine in operation once more the crowed cheered, not realizing what had really taken place.

It was at this very moment that Nicholas arrived home from his very long journey.  As soon as his feet touched the ground in Myra he knew something was wrong.  He hastened as fast as he could to the town square where the fair was taking place.  Nicholas followed his heart and was soon led directly to the butcher and his sausage-making machine. With one swift sweep of his arm Nicholas throw the lever in reverse just as the boys, who were now three very tasty and plump sausages, were emerging from the machine!  Back the sausage boys went into the machine as the lights flashed and gears whirled.  Until out they popped as three stupefied chubby little boys again, thinking only that they had had a bad dream.

Quickly Nicholas banished the elegantly dressed man, who was really the devil come to stir up trouble in the hearts of the people of Myra.  As for the butcher he realized his evil deed as soon as he saw Nicholas and was very grateful to the shepherd for saving him from his own horrible sin.
“Forgive me my dear savior.” The butcher cried. “I am indebted to you for the rest of my life and I will worship you until I die.”

“It is not I who has saved you.” Replied the wise Bishop, “But your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is he you should worship forever with your whole heart.”

The butcher vowed he would do this by spending the rest of his life serving the children of Myra and making free sausages for the orphans and the widows.  As long as Nicholas lived in Myra the people were safe from the deceitful ways of the elegantly dressed man.

1...My story is done.
2...I love you.
3...Please, kiss me! 

May you be blessed on St. Nicholas Day!


Smith Family said...

Great story, thanks for sharing Kristen. We were on the edge of our seats when the boys were tossed into the machine!

kristen said...

This is the third year I've told this story and my boys still squeal out in agony. I love it! I can picture you doing that scene up real well :)