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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for December 11, 2012

Saint Nicholas, Icon, 19th century Russian
Icon of Saint Nicholas (detail), "Miracle Worker of Myra", Russian, 19th Century. He is flanked by Christ on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right, and has an ornate enameled halo of flowers and fruit.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


A sweet lullabye for the Christ Child, My Love, My Treasured One.

Prayer for the Day

Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.


For our Enemies

O  God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer of Surrender

All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.

I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.



The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

endless knot

One who aspires to the grace of God must be pure, with a heart as innocent as a child's.

~ St. Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra)

The Historical St. Nick

Saint Nicholas of Myra was born in western Anatolia (Turkey), then the hotbed of Christianity, around 270 AD. He was persecuted and imprisoned, but rose to become the Bishop of Myra, where he died in December of 345 AD. He was said to have worked many miracles and became so popular that his remains were stolen in 1087 by Italian merchants and transported to Bari, Italy, where they can be seen today. He is the patron saint of children.

One of the earliest legends that was attached to his name tells how St Nicholas heard of a man who could not afford the dowries for his three daughters, with the result that he intended - regretfully - to send them to the brothel to work. St Nicholas saves them from this fate by throwing three bags of gold through their window at night: it is this tale which is often identified as the root of St Nicholas's reputation as a gift-giver.

Santa Claus retro
Santa Claus circa 1920.

Cults grew up around his legend in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches and he is well-known throughout continental Europe, from Russia to the Netherlands. In Germany and surrounding areas, a practice arose of giving secret gifts to children from St. Nicholas on his feast day, December 6.

The practice was so popular that it was adopted and, because of the date, associated with Christmas in much of Europe and North America. He was gradually transformed into "Santa Claus" (a Dutch colloquialism for St. Nicholas), starting around 1860. The current Santa was strongly influenced by Scandinavian immigrants, Clement Moore, and the Coca-Cola Company.

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 26:18-19

We were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind.

We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!

For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.

Notes on the Scripture

Like Paul in Romans 8:20-21, Isaiah uses the image of pregnancy to describe our state as human beings. Here, Isaiah uses pregnancy to symbolize the pains we take, and the pain we suffer, in order to try to deliver ourselves from the destruction we slowly undergo in our bodies and lives while we are on earth. We try and try, but all we accomplish is to give birth to the wind; eventually our earthly accomplishments blow away, invisibly, leaving no sign behind.

But our lives are not in vain, because the earth is pregnant with our dust. The earth will give birth to the dead; a symbolic morning will come and the dew will be God's light, which is to say, Christ Jesus. Remember the beginning of Chapter 1 of John: "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." When we pass away from this life, it is as if the earth is pregnant with us; and we will be born into God's bliss when the light of Christ shines upon the earth once more.

Icon of Saint Nicholas, Russian

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Isaiah 40:3: The voice of him that cries out in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God'

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