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Daily Reading

Saint of the Day

St. Nicholas of Myra

St. Nicholas of Myra

Feast date: Dec 06

On Dec. 6, the faithful commemorate a bishop in the early church who was known for generosity and love of children. Born in Lycia in Asia Minor around the late third or fourth century, St. Nicholas of Myra is more than just the inspiration for the modern day Santa.

As a young man he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt in order to study in the school of the Desert Fathers. On returning some years later he was almost immediately ordained Bishop of Myra, which is now Demre, on the coast of modern day Turkey. The bishop was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution and only released when Constantine the Great came to power and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

One of the most famous stories of the generosity of St. Nicholas says that he threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man’s daughters, who otherwise would have been forced into prostitution. The gold is said to have landed in the family’s shoes, which were drying near the fire. This is why children leave their shoes out by the door, or hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hopes of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast.

St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas because of the tradition that he had the custom of giving secret gifts to children. It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German, his name is “San Nikolaus” which almost sounds like “Santa Claus.” In the East, he is known as St. Nicholas of Myra for the town in which he was bishop. But in the West he is called St. Nicholas of Bari because, during the Muslim conquest of Turkey in 1087, his relics were taken to Bari by the Italians. St Nicholas is the patron of children and of sailors. His intercession is sought by the shipwrecked, by those in difficult economic circumstances, and for those affected by fires. He died on December 6, 346.


Daily Inspiration

A Blueprint for Discipleship / Un Plan Para el Discipulado

We are a family of eight, so we typically drive for vacations or to visit family. When preparing for such a trip, I usually have two primary concerns that everything else flows from: how many pairs of underwear does everyone need and do I have enough car snacks to keep everyone happy? We always bring home food because I overpacked the snacks. 

While reading today’s Gospel passage, I have to wonder at all the women who thought they had packed enough food to keep their little circle of people content. You can only pack for what you expect to need, and I don’t think anyone expected to be out with Jesus for three days. 

Can you imagine? Three days so focused on what Jesus had to say that you didn’t leave to restock supplies? Three days of steady preaching, teaching, and healing. These people literally dropped everything to sit at Jesus’ feet. While perhaps Jesus isn’t asking us to drop all the plans we have and sit in adoration for three days straight, I think there is much we can learn from the attitude of the crowd. 

They stayed with Jesus. As long as He had something to say, they kept listening. As He moved along the shore and even up to a mountain, they followed. At the sight of His miracles, they praised God. When they were in need, they didn’t grumble among themselves. Rather, they sat down and waited obediently on the Lord to provide for their needs. Isn’t this the life of a Christian disciple? It’s like a blueprint for discipleship in a few simple phrases. 

To remain with Jesus is:

  • To listen
  • To follow
  • To praise
  • To wait in obedience

For many of us, we might be really good at one or two of these things. But I would bet there is at least one that you immediately recognize as an area for growth. Start a conversation with Jesus today about how He is inviting you this Advent season to grow closer to Him. Perhaps you are being invited to periods of silence. Perhaps you are facing a challenge and it is difficult to offer praise to God in the midst of the struggle. Whatever it may be, ask Jesus to reveal to you how He would like you to grow in discipleship and holiness through the journey of Advent.

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Somos una familia de ocho personas, por lo que normalmente viajamos en carro durante las vacaciones o para visitar a la familia. Cuando me preparo para un viaje, generalmente tengo dos preocupaciones principales de las que fluye todo lo demás: ¿cuántos pares de ropa interior necesitan todos y si tengo suficientes refrigerios en el carro para mantener a todos felices? Siempre traemos comida a casa porque empaqué demasiados refrigerios.

Mientras leo el pasaje del Evangelio de hoy, tengo que preguntarme si todas las mujeres pensaron que habían empacado suficiente comida para mantener contento a su pequeño círculo de personas. Solo empacas lo que esperas necesitar, y no creo que nadie esperaba estar con Jesús durante tres días.

¿Puedes imaginarlo? ¿Tres días tan concentrado en lo que Jesús tenía que decir que nadie se fue a surtir su canasta? Tres días de constante predicación, enseñanza y sanidad. Estas personas literalmente dejaron todo para sentarse a los pies de Jesús. Lo más seguro es que Jesús no nos esté pidiendo abandonar todos los planes que tenemos y nos sentemos en adoración durante tres días seguidos, pero creo que podemos aprender mucho de la actitud de la multitud.

Se quedaron con Jesús. Mientras tenía algo que decir, seguían escuchando. Mientras se movía a lo largo de la costa e incluso hasta una montaña, ellos lo siguieron. Al ver sus milagros, alabaron a Dios. Cuando tenían necesidad, no se quejaban entre ellos. Más bien, se sentaron y esperaron obedientemente que el Señor proveyera sus necesidades. ¿No es esta la vida de un discípulo cristiano? Es como un modelo para el discipulado en unas frases simples.

Permanecer con Jesús es:

  • Escuchar
  • Seguir
  • Alabar
  • Esperar en obediencia

Para muchos de nosotros, podríamos ser realmente buenos en una o dos de estas cosas. Pero supongo que hay al menos uno que reconoces de inmediato como un área de crecimiento. Inicie una conversación con Jesús hoy sobre cómo te está invitando en esta temporada de Adviento a acercarse más a Él. Quizás te está invitando a períodos de silencio. Tal vez estás enfrentando un reto y es difícil ofrecer alabanza a Dios en medio de la batalla. Sea lo que sea, pídele a Jesús que te revele cómo le gustaría que crecieras en el discipulado y la santidad a lo largo del camino del Adviento.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

Feature Image Credit: Croogle, pixabay.com/photos/loaf-flatbread-wheat-bread-4531840/