Archive for the 'Advent' Category

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.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016 – Isaiah 7:10-12

Monday, December 12, 2016

Signs offered, signs requested and signs remembered tie the texts together for this week.  The lectionary texts for this Sunday include: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19; Romans 1:1-7 and Matthew 1:18-25.

Isaiah 7:10-12Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”  But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”

King Ahaz was scared because two kings had joined forces against Jerusalem.  God sent Isaiah to ease his fear and to offer him a sign so he would know God was with both him and the house of David.  While most of us won’t be offered such direct intervention, we have faith that God remains a steadfast presence in all of our lives.

Almighty God, help us to sense your presence in our lives today and every day.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent 2016 – Matthew 11:4-5

Friday, December 9, 2016

Matthew 11:4-5 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” 

In God’s kingdom, deserts will become lush, the deaf will hear, the blind will see, the mute will speak.  Healing is an intimate part of God’s kingdom.  While we are different in many ways, we share a role as builders of God’s kingdom.

Almighty God, bless each of us to your service.  Help us to be peacemakers, help us to be healers, help us to be builders of your kingdom both today and always.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent 2016 – Luke 1:47-49

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Luke 1:47-49My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

This is the beginning of Mary’s song of joy (the Magnificat) when she learns she is pregnant with the Messiah.  Mary was an ordinary woman who was given an extraordinary responsibility by God.  As improbable as we may seem, God can and will work through each of us.

Gracious God, you call us to help one another.  Grant us wisdom and courage to fulfill this awesome responsibility.  Amen.

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