Daily Devotion for December 25, 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.
Sweetly singing o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ whose birth the angels sing.
Come adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord the newborn King.
See him in a manger laid
Whom the choirs of angels praise.
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid
While our hearts in love we raise .
A Christmas Prayer
Almighty God and Father of light, a child is born for us and a son is given to us. Your eternal Word streamed down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
A Christmas Prayer
Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake.
(written by Robert Louis Stevenson)
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.
(If you would like to see and hear a beautiful half-hour program of Christmas music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, look towards the bottom of yesterday's Devotional.)
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Luke 2:1-7 (New King James Version)
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The magic of Christmas that we felt as children sometimes becomes lost as we get older. Society has abandoned so much of the actual meaning of Christmas, and turned it into a time of Santa Claus and mall bedlam, that the sustainable magic cannot last, because we celebrate a fairy tale instead of the real miracle that occurred 2000 years ago.
But this is a time to celebrate a miracle; for a baby boy was born in Israel whose existence would make God's grace available to everyone who would simply believe in him. This is the promise of Christmas that will never get old and will never disappoint us. Why have we so replaced a true miracle, the birth of a real person, with a silly make-believe man in a red suit? Because so many people believe in consumer items more than in Christ, and those of us who hold the truth to our hearts have been swept along.
If we keep the truth of Christmas in our hearts and minds, we will never be disappointed or lose the sense of miracle that Christmas brings. We celebrate the birth of Christ and the promise he brings. Deep winter is the time of despair, as are our lives when things become most difficult. But Christmas reminds us that our salvation will come; it is a promise that our difficulties, like the cold of winter, will be forgotten and that spring will arrive if we only give it time. Let us always remember the certainty of our hope, for God remembers His promises and will make them come to pass.