Daily Devotion for December 8, 2016
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic)
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.
A real Advent treat today, from the international Taize Community.
To Remember God During the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
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 hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for 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 to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
[Remembering those who suffer in war.]
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Psalm 44:6-7 (ESV)
For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
Amos 8:9-10 (ESV)
Darkness at Noon
“And on that day,” declares the Lord God,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
Notes on the Scripture
e celebrate Advent for 28 or 30 days to commemorate the period of waiting for the Messiah. The historical advent, however, lasted for 750 years. Although Amos is called a “minor prophet” (one of a group of 12 minor prophets who have books named for them, at the end of the Old Testament), he was the oldest and therefore the first who began to prophesy two great events: First, that God's wrath would fall on the Jews because of their sinfulness, and in particular the worship of idols; and second, the coming of a messiah, a man from God who would ransom Israel from those who would conquer her and enslave the Jews.
Amos is primarily known for his dire predictions of God's wrath on Israel. But in today's passage, he predicted the events of Good Friday, both literally and theologically.
The literal prophesy is a prediction of a “day of the Lord”, a term first used by Amos, when a remarkable tragedy “like the mourning for an only son” would occur. This is tied specifically to Good Friday by the startling accuracy of the detail: the darkness occurring at noon (the “sixth hour” in Jewish timekeeping), which three of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion include:
Just as important, although not as obvious, the coming of Christ represented the destruction of Judaism and the ending of the old covenant. The Jews, unable to live up to the requirements of the Law of Moses, proved that men could not justify themselves to God by their acts. But God had made a promise, and so the Jews were not destroyed; instead, with the destruction of the old covenant came a Messiah, Jesus, who would take their sins upon himself so that they might be forgiven, rather than destroyed.
In 750 B.C., then, the Jews began a long period of waiting for the day of the Lord, when terrible destruction would finally undo the Jewish nation; but as terrible as the destruction would be, it would be sweetened by hope, for a new and better life would arise where the old life had been destroyed. So Advent is something more than just the days before Christmas; it is a remembrance of the long time in which the Jews — and through them, all of humanity — waited for their redemption in Christ. And as they did, we wait in hopefulness, a hopefulness that comforts the pain of separation from God. For we are certain that He is coming.