Daily Devotion for December 15, 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.
Whenever I hear the expression "voice of an angel", Kathleen Battle is the first person who comes to mind.
Prayer for the Morning
For the bird who sings outside my window,
or the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,
Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To see them all and know that you are here.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant me so to die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with Him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
A Season of Hope
The world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole as we know it can and should be. But the coming of Christ and his presence among us — as one of us — give us reason to live in hope: that light will shatter the darkness, that we can be liberated from our fears and prejudices, that we are never alone or abandoned.
Micah 5:1-5 (NIV)
The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem
Now muster your troops, O city of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.
Notes on the Scripture
Micah lived roughly 700 years before the birth of Christ. Here he predicts that the savior of Israel will be born in the tiny town of Bethlehem Ephrathah. There were two towns called "Bethlehem" in Canaan; one of them had been previously called Ephrathah, so Micah uses the word to specify which of them he meant. And there is no confusion — this is the exact town in which Christ was born seven centuries later.
This passage is, truly, one of the great miracles of the Bible, for it is historically proven that the prophesy was made prior to 701 BC, when Micah died. The birth of Jesus of Nazareth in that very town, and his role as the savior of Israel (and all of humanity), standing and shepherding his flock in the strength of the Lord, "great to the ends of the earth", can be nothing except the fulfillment of this ancient prophesy.