Daily Devotion for December 23, 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.
Osanna, osanna cantano
O bel bambin non piangere
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Christmas Season Prayer
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for being so grumpy as I trudge through the never-ending tasks set before me this holiday season. My to-do list seems to keep growing with shopping, church services, and gatherings with family and friends — and I'm running short of time!
Restore the joy of Christmas to my heart and help me to relax each day and make time for You, my one true Source of Joy, whose birth is the true meaning of all my activity.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Psalm 96:1-3 (NKJV)
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
John 1:1-14 (New King James Version)
The Word Becomes Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ became man 2000 years ago, but saying he was "born" on Christmas Day is true in only one sense. He was born of woman on Christmas, made flesh and blood, a fully human part of our world; but He existed at the beginning of time. John tells us that in the beginning, He was with God, and was God.
Orion Nebula; it looks as if a figure
of Christ is rising above the chaos.
This is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible. It is a bit hard to understand, because it is philosophical and poetic, so it benefits from repeated reading, reflection, and meditation. Like all great poetry, it is not made to be read straight through quickly; it is made to be read time and time again.
It parallels Genesis 1:1, even starting with the same phrase, "In the beginning". The first sentence establishes two of the great tenets of Christianity. The "Word" is Christ. Thus, this passage tells us initially that Christ existed from the beginning of time. Secondly, it establishes the mystery of the Holy Trinity, by the perplexing statement, "the Word was with God, and the Word was God". How can Christ be with God, yet be God? It defies human logic.
This is John's Christmas story. Just as Matthew and Luke begin with detailed accounts of the physical, historical way in which Jesus was born, John tells the story of how Christ came to be with us in a theological way. He tells the story from backstage, instead of the audience, that we might fully appreciate that Christmas was the day when "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."