Advent Meditations: Wednesday 6 December

Dec 6, 2017 by

Dec 6
am: 50, 147
pm: 53:21-50
Micah 5:1-5 Rev 15:1-10 Matt 21:12-22

WEDNESDAY OF ADVENT I – –Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bishop and Confessor, 345 

ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR – St. Nicholas was from Asia Minor and was ordained to the priesthood and eventually appointed abbot of a nearby monastery in Myra. At the death of the archbishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy, and he served in this position until his death. About the time of the persecutions of Diocletian, he was imprisoned for preaching Christianity but was released during the reign of Emperor Constantine. Upon assuming his diocese, he became known for acts of charity to the poor and especially children secretly attending to the needs they had as members of his flock. The story of Saint Nicholas in its distorted fashion came to us through the Dutch Protestants who carried a popularized version of the saint’s life to America (New Amsterdam, now New York) portraying Nicholas as nothing more than a Nordic magician and wonder-worker. Our present-day conception of Santa Claus has grown from this version. Those who follow the liturgical calendar of the church in the East and West should remember that Nicholas was a giant of the faith — not merely as a jolly man from the North Pole who brings happiness to small children.

MEDITATIONSome would think it ironic that the Gospel for today is the moneychangers in the Temple being tossed out by the Lord. Why? They had desecrated the purposes of the temple. When people critique the church today this is sometimes raised as a concern… that the church is always seeking money but now there are just no money changers inside they are outside or on line or in your mailbox. The relation of the church to money is always a sensitive one. Money is not in and of itself intrinsically good or evil. IT is a matter of what you do with it and when and where you use it.  Perhaps Nicholas of Myra knew that which is why he used his inheritance money for the needy of his region. Rather than hoard riches which were rightfully his, he instead shared with a grace and wisdom that inspired many. Sadly, his witness became sanitized from the spiritual depth that such acts of charity contained. We need to take on the spirit of Christ towards the money changers who take the power of this Advent season and cash it out for cheap novelties. We need to cast out the social myths of Happy Holidays for the Hope of Advent and the Joy of Christmas. Acts f Charity should be highlighted as moments of grace and social obligation based on guilt of possessions dispelled. There is much for us to take away about this passage. Let us make this a season of prayer and hope for all people, which is exactly what it is.

PRAYER:  Father, may we honor You and respect ourselves as we fix our eyes and thought life upon whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable.  Center our attention upon those things which are praiseworthy so that we build others up in the faith as the light of Christ radiates from our spirit to those around us. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen

Activity/Spiritual Discipline St. Nicholas did his charitable works secretly.  Consider using this day (morning, noon and evening) to undertake three separate acts of charity to three separate individuals in total anonymity.

ANCIENT WORDS/PRESENT GRACE: “Generosity turns a mere object into a shared experience. It turns a thing which we thought to possess into an opportunity to connect to another person. Generosity turns “having” on its head. When we focus too much on owning things, we run the very real danger of being ourselves possessed by those same things and our spirit shrinks within us. What I “have” serves who I “am” instead of the other way around.” – Henri Nouwen, Priest, Pastor and Theologian

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