Daily Devotion for December 5, 2014
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.
This lush, quiet Ave Maria by Rachmaninoff is in Russian, but the meaning of the words is identical to the Latin and English versions.
Light My Path
I come to you, my God, asking that your Spirit guide me in prayer. Lead me to complete devotion in my moments spent with you, Lord, for your Son has told us to come to you and I want to do so, not halfway, but with my full heart.
I know from Him that prayer is for the good of all. For you, because it is your commandment; for myself, because you love me as no other and want to fill me with goodness; for other people, for I want to love them in ways that are not in my nature and can only do if your power shines fully through my existence.
You have sent us your Holy Spirit; let me know Him in all times and in all places and in every cell of my being. When I am confused, the Spirit will bring me wisdom; when I am angry, peace; when I am afraid, comfort. When I have puffed myself up with pride, the Spirit will gently dissolve my self-deception, so that fear and greed and foolishness will melt away and I will know you, and the security and peace of the only truth on earth: the love of Christ. Let this be, Lord, I pray. Light my path.
Prayer to Treat Others Well
Father, thank you for bringing me into your family. May I never disappoint you in the way I treat others. Teach me to show love, patience, and acceptance to all who come to me; let me show peace of soul and firm conviction that your will governs all. And I pray that others may see in me the qualities of character that can only be attributed to your presence in my life. Make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet. To you be the glory and the honor, forever and ever, through Jesus my Lord.
[Let me show peace of soul.]
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
A Clever Trick
The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos — the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac
Isaiah 12 (ESV)
The Coming of Christ
You will say in that day:
The Prophet Isaiah
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Notes on the Scripture
If you have read Isaiah 11, you will see that this chapter is clearly a song of joy at the birth of Christ. The first words, “in that day”, are a continuation of the preceding chapter, which describe the birth of a saviour from the root of Jesse. Isaiah 11:10 actually begins this passage: "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.”
The degree to which Isaiah anticipates the fundamental doctrine of Christianity is astonishing. His notion that the “nations will rally” to God and that the Messiah will “make known to the nations what He has done” are contrary to Jewish thought. Israel (including Judah) is living under the first covenant of Abraham and Moses, which provides that God will bless, not the people of the world, but the descendants of Abraham. And the nations hardly rallied to their message. Joshua and the other great vehicles of the Jewish accession of Canaan bought it with blood and slaughter, not by conversion and incorporation.
Isaiah even uses the important Christian metaphor of water, as the vehicle or symbol of receiving salvation. He does not describe salvation by following the Law (although he certainly chides Israel for its sins), but rather, describes a means by which God's anger for sin might be turned away.