Reflections: Nicholas of Myra, Pastor

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 14:1-23; 2 Peter 3:1-18

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Lean your ear this way!” What we know as a fun and light Christmas song has some truth behind it. Saint Nicholas was an early Christian bishop in the city of Myra. Nicholas is considered by some traditions the patron saint of numerous types of people, including children. This gave way to a reputation for secretly giving and leaving gifts for children. His actions led to the modern-day model of Santa Claus.

Some believe that Christmas is all about Santa Claus and giving, or more importantly, receiving gifts. While leaving gifts for children is great, there are greater gifts. The thought that Christmas is all about gifts is indeed true, but no greater gift has ever been given than that of Jesus. He comes to bring the greatest gift that one could ever want or need, that of forgiveness and eternal life. 

The gifts that Jesus comes to bring are not gifts that come just once a year as Saint Nicholas gave. No, these gifts are given to us daily as we receive our daily bread. These gifts are given to us in our Baptism where we have been made God’s child. These gifts come in our Lord’s Supper as we feast upon His body and blood in the bread and wine. These are gifts that God desires for you and graciously gives to you. 

It’s hard to believe that God has wrapped up all He desires to give in a simple gift of a baby born to unsuspecting parents. While the angel had told them what Jesus was destined to do, they would not be able to fully understand it until our Lord began His ministry, and even then, they could not grasp the full weight of His ministry on our behalf.

These gifts which God gives, He gives to us freely. He gives them to us for our benefit. He gives them to us that we may be His beloved children. Very soon, God’s gift of Jesus will be laid in the manger, but we do not have to wait until Christmas to receive that gift, for it is yours now in Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, You bestowed upon Your servant Nicholas of Myra the perpetual gift of charity. Grant Your Church the grace to deal in generosity and love with children and with all who are poor and distressed and to plead the cause of those who have no helper, especially those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief. We ask this for the sake of Him who gave His life for us, Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Nicholas of Myra)

– Pastor Jared Tucher serves the dual-parish of St. John – Farmer’s Retreat in Dillsboro and St. Paul, Cross Plains, Indiana.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.