Daily Devotion for December 14, 2013
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.
You are going to want to maximize this video and watch it in full screen (click the tiny rectangle at the bottom right of the YouTube box), since the children singing it are the main attraction.
Blessed are you, Lord God: Blessed are you for ever. Holy is your name: Blessed are you for ever. Great is your mercy for your people. In the morning I cry out to you: Blessed are you for ever.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I praise you and give you glory: I bless you for calling me to be one of your holy people. Remain in my heart, and guide me in my love and service all of this day. Help me to shine your light before others and lead them to the way of faith. Holy Trinity of love, I praise you now and for ever.
Prayer Not to Judge Others (by Jane Austen)
Heavenly Father, give me grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which my blessed savior has set me the highest example, and which, while it prepares me for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure the best enjoyment of what the world can give. Incline me, O God, to think humbly of myself, to be severe only in the examination of my own conduct, to consider my fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity that I would desire from them myself. In Christ's name I pray,
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the church and in the world, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Matthew 27:46 (NIV)
Psalm 22:1, 6-10, 14-18 (NIV)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
* * *
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
* * *
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
* * *
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him —
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn that he has done it.
Notes on the Scripture
It may seem odd to be reading Psalm 22 (and Matthew 27) during Advent. They seem more appropriate to Good Friday. But we must accept, without horror, the primary reason for Jesus' birth. The knowledge that He is being born in order to overcome death can only add to the depth of feeling in our appreciation of Christmas.
Of all the Psalms, Psalm 22 most directly prophecies the life of Christ. Psalms is not primarily a collection of prophecy, and yet, there are a number of places where we can see the birth, life, death, and meaning of the Messiah reflected in advance of the fact. Read as prophecy, Psalm 22 dwells primarily on the crucifixion, but it spans the life of Christ from conception to his second coming, when “all the families of the nations will bow down before him.”
The central part of the Psalm directly relates to the fundamental idea of Christmas: Jesus was God incarnate by a human mother. He did not manifest himself as human; he was human. He began life as a single cell made viable by the Spirit, and He was Christ from the moment of his conception: “From my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
We must love the baby even more, knowing his destiny, both the pain He will suffer and the gift He brings within his own flesh and blood. We relive the astonishing moment, when a newborn infant is so much like every other human child and yet carries the future happiness, the very lives, of every human being in his tiny body.