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Daily Devotion for December 5, 2012
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.
This lush, quiet Ave Maria by Rachmaninoff is in Russian, but the meaning of the words is identical to the Latin and English versions.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (350 A.D.)
O Lord and Master of my life, this day, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
May the God who made me, the God who keeps me, and the God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down His blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep Him in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
A Clever Trick
The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos — the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac
Isaiah 12 (NIV)
The Coming of Christ
In that day you will say:
I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
The Prophet Isaiah
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say:
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.
Notes on the Scripture
If you have read Isaiah 11, you will see that this chapter is clearly a song of joy at the birth of Christ. The first words, "in that day", are a continuation of the preceding chapter, which describe the birth of a saviour from the root of Jesse. Isaiah 11:10 actually begins this passage: "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious."
The degree to which Isaiah anticipates the fundamental doctrine of Christianity is astonishing. His notion that the "nations will rally" to God and that the Messiah will "make known to the nations what He has done" are contrary to Jewish thought. Israel (including Judah) is living under the first covenant of Abraham and Moses, which provides that God will bless, not the people of the world, but the descendants of Abraham. And the nations hardly rallied to their message. Joshua and the other great vehicles of the Jewish accession of Canaan bought it with blood and slaughter, not by conversion and incorporation.
Isaiah even uses the important Christian metaphor of water, as the vehicle or symbol of receiving salvation. He does not describe salvation by following the Law (although he certainly chides Israel for its sins), but rather, describes a means by which God's anger for sin might be turned away.