Midweek Reflection by Ruth Poulsen
Before his name was turned into Santa Claus, St. Nicolas was a real historical person. We don’t know much about him for certain, but we know he lived in what is now Turkey about 300 A.D.
There are many interesting stories about St. Nicolas, but my favorite goes like this: St. Nicolas heard that there was a family that was so desperately poor. They were starving, and so decided to sell their three daughters into prostitution to survive. St. Nicolas hurried to their home to share his wealth, but not wanting to embarrass them, he threw the gold coins discreetly in the window. Somehow, the coins fell into stockings that were drying by the fire. The girls were saved, and that is why we hang stockings by the fire for St. Nick.
What a difference between this story and the usual elves in the North Pole stuff. I don’t want a Hallmark card, watered-down and picturesque faith. A Christianity that’s stripped of the calls for justice is also a Christianity that is stripped of its power. The historical St. Nicolas connects powerfully with this week’s passage from Jeremiah: “I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
Advent is about more than cozy decorations. What it is about is God’s desire for justice for the marginalized.
So how will you celebrate these four weeks in December? Will it be all about the pie and the twinkling lights and the gift wrap? Or will you participate, like St. Nicolas did, in God’s work to create a more just world?