The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
December 6, 2021 The story of Saint Nicholas is one that inspires us to serve and bear witness to our neighbors of Christ’s love and mercy. In a culture that all too often gets bogged down in shopping for gifts for family, friends and coworkers this time of year, it is good to take a step back and reflect on the life of this saint whose actions pointed to Jesus, the Savior. Saint Nicholas was born in the third century to wealthy parents who lived in what is modern day Turkey. His parents died in an epidemic leaving Nicholas orphaned and alone. Nicholas devoted his life to Christ and as a young man he was chosen to serve as the bishop of Myra. In those days, Christians suffered greatly for their faith as many around the world today still do. It has been written that Nicholas was moved by Jesus’ words to the rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Unlike the young man who encountered Jesus, Nicholas felt convicted to give away his possessions in order to help the poor and in need. We all know the traditions that emerged from the stories of the life of this patron saint of children. His faith became a witness to the generosity and care of the Lord Jesus. In the revelation that was given to John, the apostle, we hear a call to bear witness to the life and salvation of the living God. Coincidentally, John wrote down the Word of the Lord around 250 years before Nicholas was born, from an island called Patmos off the coast of Turkey. This letter to the churches in Asia Minor begins with John identifying himself as the one who “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (1:2). John describes Jesus as the “faithful witness,” the “firstborn of the dead,” and the “ruler of kings on earth” (1:5). He goes on to say that on the last day when Christ returns, every eye will see Him. There will be no mistake. This is good news for us who wait and watch for our Lord’s return, who call on Him in pain and suffering saying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” There will be no doubt in the hearts or minds of any human being when Jesus comes again to take us home. In the meantime, however, we are called to bear witness to His love, mercy and salvation. If we don’t give this testimony, who will? Like Saint Nicholas, and John before him, we have been given God’s holy Word and are commissioned to share this life-giving, life-saving revelation with all we meet. We are sent into the world to bear witness to the one who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of all kings. Amen.