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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Daily Devotion for December 29, 2013

Fifth Day of Christmas



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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.


For Sunday

Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, His life, and above all His resurrection, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.

Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,


Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (350 A.D.)

O  Lord and Master of my life, this day and during the week to come, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.



Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.



Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.


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

endless knot

The Door to Christmas

The way to Christmas lies through an ancient gate. . . . It is a little gate, child-high, child-wide, and there is a password: "Peace on earth to men of good will."

May you, this Christmas, become as a little child again and enter into His kingdom.

~ Angelo Patri

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 2:13-18

The Flight into Egypt and Slaughter of the Innocents

Now when they [the three Magi] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.“

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.“

Three wise men (magi) with Jesus

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.“

Notes on the Scripture

The Herod depicted in this passage is Herod the Great. He was an Edomite, which is to say, a JewHerod the Great's mother was not Jewish, a source of enormous difficulty for him, as it invalidated his kingship under the law. This resulted in his destroying innumerable genealogical records in Jerusalem to hide the fact. from the large area extending south from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, bordering Egypt. (Today, ancient Edom is known as Idumea; it has become a generally barren land and geographically is part of southern Israel, southern Jordan, and eastern Egypt.) King David conquered Edom, and the people (by choice or force) had adopted Judaism by the time of Christ. Herod the Great lived from 73 BC to 4 BC; at the time of Christ's birth, he had been established by the Romans as a great king, ruling as a Roman “client” king over Idumea (Edom), Judea, Samaria and Galilee.

He was ruthless in defense of his power and notorious for his brutality. He was infamous for having slain his own sons, to prevent one of them from trying to usurp his throne. One ancient historian (Macrobius) wrote that when Caesar Augustus heard that all children under the age of two in Syria had been slain, he said, “it would be better to be Herod's pig than his son”. Although some Christian commentators over the centuries have estimated the number of children murdered to have been in the tens of thousands, a more realistic view is that probably 10 to 50 infant males were slaughtered.

As short as it is, the story is inherently powerful, both saddening and infuriating. It has been widely celebrated as a feast day in Catholic countries and has formed the subject of countless sermons in churches of every denomination. The event presages the crucifixion of the innocent Christ.

Devotional painting of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Flight to Egypt by Albrecht DurerText: Devotional painting of Flight to Egypt by Albrecht Durer

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Memory Verse

Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”

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