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Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Devotion for December 6, 2012

Hagia Sophia mosaic, Virgin Mary
Large mosaic of Mary and Jesus, flanked by Emperors Constantine and Justinian, in the Hagia Sofia, probably @ 1000 A.D. (The Hagia Sofia, formerly the seat of Orthodox Christianity, is today a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.)
(Click to see full-size image.)



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.


Turn up the volume! Handel's setting of today's Scripture is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

(Sorry about the Spanish subtitles, but we spent hours scouring the internet, and this is the best online performance currently available.)

Prayer to Abide with God

Oh God, who has created all things, seen and unseen, this day is your creation and I give thanks to live in it. I pray that I will not shut you out of the day you have made, blinded by the petty concerns of life, but that I may be always open to your presence.

I open my body to you and give thanks for your life that fills and warms every cell of it.

I open my eyes and ears to you and give thanks for the light of your Word, without which I would live in the shadow of ignorance.

I open my heart to you and give thanks for your love that fills me with compassion, understanding, and peace.

I open my soul to you and give thanks for your Spirit, who fills me with wisdom when I take a moment to listen.

All that I am, I open to you, I return to you, giving thanks every moment of my life for the blessings that fill this day. Through Christ I pray.


Prayer for Grace and Strength

Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,



Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

endless knot

Paul's Prayer - Philippian 1:3-6 (NCV)

I thank my God every time I remember you, always praying with joy for all of you. I thank God for the help you gave me while I preached the Good News — help you gave from the first day you believed until now.

God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 9:2-7 (NIV)

A Light Has Dawned

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Notes on the Scripture

After listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Unto Us a Child is Born" (from Handel's Messiah), it is nearly impossible to write comments on the passage; words seem inadequate compared to the way Handel catches the power of the text — a promise that, some day, a Saviour will be gone.

We are commanded to avoid judgment, but it is often a struggle not to rail against the secularization of Christmas. It has become, in most of the U.S., a holiday to celebrate mammon.

Virgin Mary, stained glass
This year the cult of Santa Claus has sunk to a new low: there is now a replacement for the Advent calendar, consisting of daily audio messages from Santa's workshop, to keep the children abreast of progress in making their toys and getting the sled and reindeer ready.

There is nothing wrong with Santa or the pleasant legends about his elves and reindeer. But do the adults have any idea what they are missing, or what they are depriving their children of, by not understanding and emphasizing the actual origin of our celebration?

What could be more wondrous than the power of God coming to fruition to save humanity from death, from sending us a Savior? Advent is a celebration of the realization that God Himself is going to come to earth! It is the most exciting and uplifting news we could possibly receive. It is better than being told that, in a couple of weeks, we are going to win the Powerball lottery, cures for every disease and disability we have will be announced, and an alien spaceship is going to land in Kansas.

Every time this crosses my mind, I redouble my resolve to share God's grace and salvation with those who have turned away into darkness. Let us all remember to make some effort to keep Christ's light shining to the world, not to sink into apathy and complacency about the salvation of the world we celebrate on December 25.

Advent wreath

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Memory Verse

Isaiah 40:3: The voice of him that cries out in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God'

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