The Sundays of Advent, like all Sundays, are a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Midweek worship in Advent, while anchored in the Sunday cycle of readings can make room for an additional layer of prayer and praise by observing the commemorations that fall during the month of December. Commemorations “illuminate various aspects of the church’s life and mission through the lives of women and men who have followed Christ in succeeding generations.”
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship Leader’s Edition p. 13)
- Psalm 16:5-11
- Isaiah 11:1-9
Nicholas was born in Patara, which is part of present- day Turkey. He was orphaned at a young age and is said to have used his inheritance to help the sick and the poor. Nicholas served as bishop of Myra (present-day Demre) where several legends about him grew.
In one popular legend, Nicholas visited the house of a poor man three times, each time, secretly leaving a sack or sock of gold. The gold provided dowries for each of the man’s three daughters, who would have been sold into slavery without dowries. Another legend details a time when Nicholas saved three men from unjust death sentences.
Nicholas served a seaport and sailors often claimed him as patron, carrying the legends about him far and wide. Many seaports include St. Nicholas chapels.
Nicholas, while often remembered as gentle, generous, and kind, was a firm and passionate believer. He was jailed for his faith by Emporer Diocletain, who mercilessly persecuted Christians. After his release, while debating at the Council of Nicaea (where the creed we still confess today was written), he became so passionate in defending Trinitarian theology, that he punched someone in the nose, and was briefly jailed again.
Since his death in 343, many people around the world have remembered, shared and celebrated St. Nicholas spirit of generosity and faith on December 6th. Many popular holiday treats and traditions can remind us of how Saint Nicholas’s devout faith inspired him to share Christ’s love.
Preparing For Christ’s Arrival
You can prepare for Christ’s arrival with a spirit of generosity and a passionate faith like Saint Nicholas during the first week of Advent
- Remember the poor – Consider beginning a Reverse Advent Calendar. Fill an empty box with one canned good or toiletry item for each day in Advent. Donate it to the food pantry on Christmas Eve.
- Care for the sick– Pray through the prayer concern list. Send a card, give a call, prepare a meal, or visit with someone who may be under the weather or battling illness.
- Be an anonymous giver on Saint Nicholas Day – Fill a small stocking with chocolate gold coins, a candy cane (a symbol of Nicholas’s bishop crosier) or a gingerbread man (legend says the first gingerbread men known were remembrances of St. Nicholas) and leave a surprise for a friend or neighbor.
Suggested Advent Wreath Lighting Prayer
You light our way with hope through the first week of Advent. Let us reflect the light of Christ as Nicholas did, and share the hope Christ’s light brings with a passionate faith and a generous spirit. Amen.”