St. Nicholas – Ezekiel 36:24-28
I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit inside of you and inspire you to live by My statutes and follow My laws. (Ezekiel 36:26-27, CEB)
Today, we remember a saint that is special for many reasons, but is especially remembered this time of the year. His name is Nicholas and, among other things, he was a priest, a bishop, a compassionate teacher and an all-around good guy.
We remember him as we share gifts with one another. But, his story teaches so much more.
In Ezekiel chapter 36 we read about God taking out hearts of stone and replacing them with hearts of flesh. In other words, God will take out that within us that is stony, hard, stubborn, self-centered and replace it with kind, tender, willing other-centered hearts.
As we prepare to celebrate the Advent of our Lord and king, both in a stable and in a royal return, May God inspire us.
As we enter the time of year where it seems society is telling us, more and more, stronger and stronger, that we need to worry about Numero Uno: Remember. As we enter the time of year where we are being told to worry about what we want, and what we deserve: Remember. As we enter this time of year: Remember. Remember St. Nicholas and his compassion. Remember to care for others. Remember that God is carving out that stony heart and replacing it with a heart that beats for others.
God, help us remember to serve you and others. Help us share the news of the new hearts, the hearts focused on you and on others. Amen!
– Pastor John Sipf, St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Falls City, and St. Mark’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Verdon