Daily Devotion for January 4, 2013
11th Day of Christmas
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.
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.
And through all
His wondrous childhood,
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay.
Christian children all should be,
Mild, obedient, good as He.
Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him, but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars
His children crowned,
All in white shall be around.
Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy, be there at my waking, and give me, I pray, your bliss in my heart, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at my labors, and give me, I pray, your strength in my heart, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at my homing, and give me, I pray, your love in my heart, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at my sleeping, and give me, I pray, your peace in my heart, Lord, at the end of the day.
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
My Father's Business
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Notes on the Scripture
This famous story of Jesus' youth is the only real information we have about him between the tumultuous events of his infancy and his maturity. It is, first, a single snapshot of his adolescence. It is a mixture of normal life and a remarkable event, which will come to characterize Christ's final three years.
It is a very human story. We get a snapshot of Jesus' family as part of normal Hebrew society; one might call them "solid citizens", but not community leaders. They make an annual trip to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with a group of friends and family. Although humble, they were able to afford the time off and the cost of the trip; and it shows a degree of religious devotion. They had become socially integrated into Nazareth, a place they had moved to avoid trouble from Herod in Jerusalem.
Like so many teenagers, Jesus runs off to "do his own thing" without telling his parents. When they discover him missing, they become very anxious, and when they eventually find him, they scold him for not letting them know his whereabouts. Sound familiar?
Against this backdrop of normal middle-class life, we have the remarkable spiritual revelation, when Jesus makes the famous statement, "I must be about my Father's business." This parallels the remarkable events of his birth, although in this case, the remarkable events are Jesus' words, rather than events that happen to him or around him. We are once again reminded that this is the Son of God; he has not come to learn, but to teach, for his knowledge does not come just from what he has read and heard, but from what has been revealed to him by God the Father.