Monthly Archives: November 2012

Saint Nicholas — a fun Dutch tradition

Today is an important day in the Netherlands. And for the children it is almost THE most important day, up next to their birthday. Today Saint Nicholas enters into the Netherlands to start the season of “Sinterklaas”.

Due to the traditional story he travels from Madrid, Spain, where he is said to live in a white palace, by steam boat to the Netherlands.

He is accompanied by his “Black Pete’s”, a whole bunch of helpers who are fun and a bit mischievous.

Never mind the impossibly of the whole story, the children love it. Especially the fact that the steam boat is packed with gifts.

Traditionally we celebrate Saint Nicholas’ birthday on December 5 with small gifts, funny poems and lots of chocolate letters and special cookies called “pepernoten”.

But the weeks before December 5  children are allowed to put their shoe at the front door, sing a special “Sinterklaas-song”  and expect to find a small gift (mostly some chocolate or something like that) in that shoe the next morning.

In all schools class rooms are decorated and on December 5 “Sinterklaas”  visits all schools to talk with the children. Of course that is physically impossible for such an old man so he has employed a lot of “Help-Saints”. My school, of course, has the real one! LOL

At home Sinterklaas is celebrated with family. The story goes that Sinterklaas travels on horse back over the roofs to put the gifts in the chimneys with help of his faithful Black Pete. And he listens to the songs the families sing …

It means we will have to do a lot of singing these coming weeks!  Here’s a traditional “Sinterklaas-song” …

And a more modern one …

Saint Nicholas did exist of course, in the fourth century and was known as the Bishop of Myra, in Turkey. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. He is the patron saint of sailors – hence the steamboat – and children (and many others). He became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas).

Categories: Children, Netherlands, Traditions | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Church Bulletin Bloopers

A few hours ago, going through some blogs  on my other site  I’d like to keep  I came across this blog by Dr. Thom S. Rainer (

I still chuckle, writing this.
Well, here they are … and some more I picked up from the comments on the blog. Enjoy!!

I like to laugh. In fact, I sometimes think some of us Christians take life with such a somber attitude that we forget how to smile.

Most everyone has seen church bulletin bloopers. They are typically corny, but my sons tell me that corniness is one of my spiritual gifts. I have saved dozens of them over the years. They simply make me laugh. I thought it might be good to take a brief break from the seriousness of life and share with you my top ten favorite bloopers. Enjoy!

10 .   At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

9.   The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

8.   The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”

7.   Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

6.   Announcement in the church bulletin for a National Prayer and Fasting Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”

5.   Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

4.   Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns.

3.   The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

2.   For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

1.  Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

And here are the ones I picked up from the comment section …

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

Don’t let worries kill you – Let the church help.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Jones to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church congregation.

I’ll never forget a time when I was in youth group and our choir was singing at a revival. The speaker stated we needed to throw all the drugs, liquor, and anything that keeps us from God into the river; after which the music leader got up at the invitation and sang, “Shall We Gather at the River”! Needless to say, we all lost it!

Finally, this one is pretty funny and unfortunate, but i cannot imagine the reactions that the secretary and the pastor received…
Thursday at 5:00PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his study.

Categories: Articles, Church, Humor | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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