But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you were to look at the stories that surround the birth and life of Nicholas of Myra, you will very quickly begin to think, “What a great man!” If one can believe the tales, during his Baptism as an infant, he stood in the baptismal font for three hours on his own in reverence to the Holy Trinity. Then he refused to drink milk from his mother on Wednesdays and Fridays until after evening prayers so as to begin a life of fasting in honor of God. Later on, Nicholas cast purses down chimneys so that a poor man’s daughters might have dowries. According to the legends, Nicholas was a saint his whole life. So it should not surprise us that he eventually became modeled into Santa Claus because of all the gifts he would give to those in need.
Nicholas’s life story seems a bit far fetched, and perhaps not all of the stories are true. But what is true is that Nicholas, the archbishop of Myrna, was a child of God, and throughout his life he grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life and all the great things he did were not for his own glory. Instead, all that he accomplished pointed to the faith that he had received from the Holy Spirit. Nicholas was a sinner just like you and I. He died, and his death testified to the fact that he failed to perfectly keep the Law. Nicholas needed Jesus and the gift that He purchased by His innocent suffering and death on the Cross. Nicholas needed Christ to forgive him of all his sins.
Now years later we celebrate the life of Nicholas not because of who he was, but because of what the Holy Spirit led him to do. This man is a saint just as you and I are saints, but not because of our works, not because of all the great things we accomplish, but because of Christ our Savior. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Father in Heaven, we give thanks for the examples that you have given to us in the saints who have gone before. We ask that you continue to lead us to do good works so that we might also reflect Your glory and share the message of Christ with those around us. Amen.
–Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch