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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for December 26, 2012

Second Day of Christmas
Boxing Day

The Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard von Honthorst, 15th Century



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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.


Hark the Herald Angels Sing from a service at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

A Christmas Prayer

God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make us a people of this light. Make us faithful to your Word, that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.


For the Human Family

O  God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.

That, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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

Mystic Nativity by Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1500
Mystic Nativity (detail) by Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1500

Luke 2:8-21 (New King James Version)

Glory to God in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Notes on the Scripture

When people have a moment of unutterable joy in their lives, they sometimes say, "I heard angels sing." There was even an old song, "You smile, and the angels sing . . ." It is a sweet thought. But only once in recorded history have people actually heard angels singing — in celebration that Christ had been born. And what a magnificent song: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

Queen of Angels (Regina Angelorum) by Bouguereau

God is glorified in so many ways, and we can see it every day. In the words of the great evangelist, Haddon Spurgeon:

"He is glorified in every dew drop that twinkles to the morning sun. He is magnified in every wood flower that blossoms in the copse, although it live to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness in the forest air. God is glorified in every bird that warbles on the spray; in every lamb that skips the mead. Do not the fishes in the sea praise him? From the tiny minnow to the huge Leviathan, do not all creatures that swim the water bless and praise his name? Do not all created things extol him? Is there aught beneath the sky, save man, that doth not glorify God? Do not the stars exalt him, when they write his name upon the azure of heaven in their golden letters? Do not the lightnings adore him when they flash his brightness in arrows of light piercing the midnight darkness? Do not thunders extol him when they roll like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not all things exalt him, from the least even to the greatest?"

But as sweet and wonderful as the myriad glorifications of God, there has been nothing to equal the moment of Christ's birth. Imagine the unutterable beauty of the heavens singing, and singing in words that were understandable to men. This was not some great but pleasing noise, not even a mysterious melody; Luke tells us that the angels sang words. Apparently not many people heard it; as was to become typical of Christ's life, the message was not given to kings and priests, but to simple shepherds sitting out, staring at the weird star that had appeared and wondering what was going on. But they were certainly impressed enough to leave their jobs and go to Bethlehem, to bear witness to the miracle that had occurred.

It is the most glorious day of history, and the most glorious day in our year. May I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and all the true joy that has and will continue to come to us. Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, and good will to all of you.

endless knot

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Luke 1:51-52: He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon