Daily Devotion for December 17, 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.
My love, my treasured one are you,
My sweet and lovely son are you.
You are my love, my darling new,
Unworthy I, of you.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Your mild and gentle eyes proclaim
The loving heart with which you came.
A tender, helpless tiny babe
With boundless gifts of grace.
King of Kings, Most Holy One,
God the son, eternal one.
You are my God and helpless son
High ruler of mankind.
Traditional Gaelic Christmas Lullaby
A Puritan Prayer
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
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.
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.
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (Holman C. Std. Bible)
The Lord’s Covenant with David
“When your time comes to be with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who is one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. I will not take away My faithful love from him as I took it from the one who was before you. I will appoint him over My house and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.”
Luke 1:5-17 (ESV)
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold 
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.
And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
Notes on the Scripture
There are, throughout the Bible, a few extraordinary men who are destined to serve God before they are conceived. Often they are born to women past their child-bearing years, so that others will know that their very conception is miraculous. Samuel and Isaac are examples; and Samson, whose mother was also told not to let him drink wine, is even closer.
But unlike any of these other men of extraordinary birth, John does not have a commission of salvation in his own life, so much as a role to prepare society for the coming of another. Although he will have the spirit and power of Elijah, perhaps the holiest man in the history of the Hebrews, his sanctity is preparation for one to come whose holiness is absolute: the Son of God.
But we are getting ahead of the passage. John the Baptist was eclipsed in importance by Christ, but Luke here wants us to see what a great prophet John was, in his own right. He was the last of the Hebrew prophets. He would be a man of enormous spirit, bringing thousands back to the God of Moses and filling Israel with a spirit of righteousness. He was the equivalent of a great Christian revivalist, a man touched by God from before his birth, who was pre-ordained to lead Israel out of the morass of sin and disobedience into which it had fallen.