Full St. Nick's News for December 5, 2023 Dear Friends, This past Sunday, we had…
I always loved bedtime when my boys were little guys. It wasn’t just that they were exhausting, and the end of the day was a blessed event but they were also so clever! Our ritual at night was to read a Bible story, a bedtime story and say our prayers.
Of course, because children are masters of putting off bedtime, they always knew how to work more stories into our routine. One would scan the room for books and remind me which ones were my favorite while the other one would begin to remind me about all their favorite Bible stories, knowing full well, that I would give in to reading more than one bible story a night. “Mommy, we love Noah, and David and Goliath, and the Baby Jesus. Let’s read more stories, won’t that be fun? Let’s learn, won’t that be fun?” I like to think my little guys truly loved these stories and recognized their power, and weren’t just working me to prolong bedtime.
Okay, they were working me to prolong bedtime! And I gave into this manipulation with a hopefulness that the bible stories would become familiar to them and live within them. My hope for them was that one day they would recognize Bible stories in their everyday lives. That is my hope for all of us. What would it be like to have images of the Good Samaritan pop into our head every time we greet a stranger or give money to Salvation Army Bell Ringers? What if when we see heroic sports movies like American Underdog or Remember the Titans, we also see and hear the story of David and Goliath?
The Bible, our scriptures, are the living and breathing word of God. The stories are just as relevant today as they were years ago. We have the privilege of learning them and letting them capture our imaginations as they form and transform our lives. Our worship is organized in such a way, that our stories become embedded in our lives and in our memories.
Every year during Advent and Christmas we hear the stories and events leading up to the birth of Jesus. Every season of Lent we prepare for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Every Easter season we hear of the various resurrection stories of Jesus where he meets his disciples in their fear and grief. These are our family stories. These are the stories we tell around our table, the altar. These are the stories that bring us closer to one another and God in Jesus Christ.
I also hope these are the stories we learn to interpret and share with our friends and family. One of my favorite interpretations of the Christmas story is told by children and youth from St. Paul’s Art and Media Ministry in Auckland, New Zealand. You can watch the Christmas story and smile at the brilliance of children telling this story from their perspective.
As we enter this next week before Christmas, I pray we embrace the stories of Mary and Elizabeth, of Shepherds and Angels, and a little baby born and laid in a trough. I pray we can thank God for the familiarity of the stories but also welcome new insights as we see and hear them with fresh eyes and ears and open hearts and minds. You never know, it may be that the holy spirit prompts us to read more and more bible stories, whispering in our ear – “Won’t that be fun?!?”
God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,