Daily Devotion for December 10, 2016
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.
1 Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.
2 Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind:
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright
She bore to men a Savior
When half-gone was the night.
3 This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load.
German, 15th cent.
Translation by Theodore Baker, 1851
Let me to-day do something that shall take
A little sadness from the world’s vast store,
And may I be so favoured as to make
Of joy’s too scanty sum a little more.
Let me not hurt, by any selfish deed
Or thoughtless word, the heart of foe or friend;
Nor would I pass, unseeing, worthy need,
Or sin by silence when I should defend.
However meagre be my worldly wealth,
Let me give something that shall aid my kind –
A word of courage, or a thought of health,
Dropped as I pass for troubled hearts to find.
Let me to-night look back across the span
‘Twixt dawn and dark, and to my conscience say –
Because of some good act to beast or man –
“The world is better that I lived today.”
To Put My Trust in Christ
Lord God, let me not put my trust in the words of men, for their minds are weak and their tongues are tainted by the world. Let me not put my trust in the thoughts of my mind, for I am filled with sin and self-deceit; but let me test everything having to do with faith against our only true teacher, Jesus Christ, and the true Word of God that He inspired the apostles to write in the Bible.
In Christ's name, I pray,
[Let me not put my trust in the thoughts of my mind.]
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 134 (ASV)
Greetings of Night Watchers.
Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary
and bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.
Matthew 25:1-13 (ESV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Notes on the Scripture
This parable of Christ is easily understood. Christ is the bridegroom, and the virgins are the people of earth awaiting his coming. Those who prepare themselves for the coming of Christ will enter into “the marriage feast,” which is Christ's kingdom. But those who do not prepare themselves, Christ will deny.
Because we do not know when Christ will come, we must prepare ourselves now, with daily prayer and the reading of God's Word. We must at all times remember our belief in Christ and our faith in His resurrection, and we must honor Him with our praise.
During Advent, we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ, his birth as a human child to a humble young woman who spent the night in a barn. This echoes our waiting for Christ's return, and the joy we express in remembrance of Christ's birth echoes the joy we know will come when Christ returns to us.