For the Feast of St. Nicholas
Collect for Advent II
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Today is December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, yes, that St. Nicholas. He did not live at the north pole, and he did not drive a sleigh with magic reindeer pulling it through the sky. He was a real man, though. He lived in the 4th century in what is today Turkey but then was part of the Roman Empire. He was always noted for his care for people, particularly children. I think that is how he morphed into the Santa Claus of modern fantasy. One day, he heard that three young women were too poor to afford the dowry which would enable them to get married. The youngest daughter offered to be sold into slavery to pay for the eldest daughter’s dowry. In the middle of the night Nicholas reached through the window and dropped a sack full of money to keep the girl from slavery. He was known for doing things like that.
Nicholas led a very interesting life. He was also one of the bishops at the council of Nicea which articulated the Trinity for
Christianity and wrote the second article of the Nicene Creed. Supposedly, a fight broke out among the assembled bishops which came to blows. In the scuffle, Nicholas got his nose broken. That was a church meeting for the ages. If you ever experienced a difficult church meeting, take heart. At least Santa Claus did not get his nose broken at your church!
This past Sunday we prayed the second of the “stir-up” prayers of Advent. Today, in the light of the genuine story St. Nicholas, we continue to pray that God would stir up our hearts so that the way of Christ would be ready, and we would serve God with pure minds. Christ has much work to do in my life, my family, my church, and the whole of Christendom. Keep praying this prayer. God hears and God answers. Amen.
Today’s “a devotion for you…” is edited, revised and adapted, with permission, from original content from colleague and friend, Phil Brandt.