Archive for December, 2016

Second Sunday of Christmas 2016 – John 1:10-11

Friday, December 30, 2016

John 1:10-11He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.  He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

As this second Sunday of the Christmas season passes, we know that ahead of us are the seasons of Epiphany, Lent and Easter.  We begin to follow what is to become the very short yet amazingly influential life of Jesus.

Steadfast God, help us better understand the life and teachings of Jesus so that we can become the people you want us to be.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Christmas 2016 – John 1:14

Thursday, December 29, 2016

John 1:14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

God became one of us through his son Jesus.  No one understands the joy, the pain and the complexities of our individual lives more than God.  This is the awesome gift of Christmas.

Gracious God, help us accept that you know and understand our every need.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Christmas 2016 – Jeremiah 31:9

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jeremiah 31:9They come home, weeping as they come, but I will comfort them and be their escort.  I will lead them to flowing streams; they shall not stumble, their path will be so smooth.  For I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my eldest son.  (New English Version)

This passage provided me with two images of God…one of God gently stroking the head of someone crying into his shoulder and one of God holding someone’s upper arm assisting them along a path.

Gracious God, following your example, help us be comforting presences to all of your people today and every day.  Amen.

Second Sunday after Christmas 2016 – Jeremiah 31:8

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

We are approaching the second Sunday after Christmas Day, and the lectionary offers us the following passages: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14 and John 1:(1-9), 10-18.  Alternative selections are from the Apocrypha and include Sirach 24:1-12 and Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21. 

Jeremiah 31:8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, then shall return here.

God is promising the people of Israel and Judah that he “…will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors…” (Jeremiah 30:3).  And not just the able bodied, but those who might be considered a burden to the others – the sick, the pregnant, the mothers with young children.

Prayer: Loving God, following your example, help us to better care for all of your people today and every day.  Amen.

The Week of Christmas 2016 – Isaiah 63:7

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The lectionary selections for the first Sunday after Christmas include: Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18 and Matthew 2:13-23.

Isaiah 63:7I will recount the gracious deeds of the LORD, the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, because of all that the LORD has done for us, and the great favor to the house of Israel that he has shown them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

As we approach the end of the calendar year, we approach the season of inventory – businesses take inventory to see what remains on their shelves, many of us take personal inventory to see how we might enter the new year on a different and better note.  We are reminded today that we should take inventory of all God has done for us, too.

Almighty God, thank you for your steadfast presence in our lives.  Continue to mold us into the people you want us to be.  Amen.

The Week of Christmas 2016 – John 1:1, 14a

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The third selection of Christmas Eve readings, Proper III, includes: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12) and John 1:1-14.

John 1:1, 14aIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and lived among us…

Jesus:

Homeless child.

Refugee.

Carpenter.

Teacher.

Healer.

…and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means,” God is with us.”  Matthew 1:23

Ever-present God, for every blessing you have bestowed on us, but especially for the miracle of Christmas, we offer our heartfelt thanks.  Amen.

First Sunday of Christmas 2016 – Luke 2:8-11

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The second selection of Christmas Eve readings, Proper II, includes: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7 and Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20.

Luke 2:8-11And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

In the Gospel of Luke, shepherds were the first people to hear of the birth of Jesus.  While Jesus will grow into a man who is considered a shepherd of people, the image that moves me is that these shepherds were rather ordinary people to be the first to hear of the birth of the Messiah.

Gracious God, we are ordinary people.  Help us do extraordinary things in your name.  Amen.

The Week of Christmas 2016 – Luke 2:6-7

Monday, December 19, 2016

This week leading to Christmas Sunday there are an abundance of scriptures for our consideration.  There are several collections of readings for Christmas Eve.  The first collection, called Proper I, includes: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-14, (15-20).

Luke 2:6-7 – While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

On the night he was born, Jesus was homeless.  God’s son coming into this world in this unlikely state is a powerful image for me.  You will pass by a number of unlikely people today.  Embrace the reality that God can use any of them, any of us.

Loving God, help us to see you in each person we see today.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016 – Matthew 1:18-19

Friday, December 26, 2016 

Matthew 1:18-19Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place this way.  When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 

For me, this part of the Christmas story, Joseph’s choice, has always been downplayed.  Joseph was going to deal with Mary’s pregnancy in a gentle way for his time, but after hearing an angel and taking a leap of faith, Joseph chose to remain at Mary’s side and embrace his role as father of Jesus.

Prayer: Gracious God, give us ears to hear your voice so we can make decisions that are more informed by you.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016 – Romans 1:1-3

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Romans 1:1-3Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel according to his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh… 

I have often thought about my calling and whether I was living into the life God intended.  This passage helped with a new perspective.  Consider today how you are set apart rather than how you are called.  What distinguishes you from others?  What perspective do you bring to a table?  Maybe it is in these answers that you will find your calling.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to discern those unique ways you have molded us so that we might see our calling more clearly.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016 – Psalm 80:19

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Psalm 80:19Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

‘Restore our relationship with you, O God,’ cries the Psalmist.  Throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus, each time he healed someone, he also restored their relationship to their family, to their community and to God.  Healing was a critical element to Christ’s ministry, and it should be a primary element of our ministry to one another.

Prayer: Healing God, be with us in our ministry of restoration.  Help us to give hope to all who come to us. Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016 – Isaiah 7:13a, 14, 16

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 

Isaiah 7:13a, 14, 16 – Then Isaiah said, “…Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel…For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”

Immanuel means God is with us.  Matthew will later mention this passage as being fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.  In this season of anticipation and hope, it is my prayer that God will reveal part of his plan to each of us.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us better understand your will for us and for this world.  Amen.


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