Daily Devotion for December 23, 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.
Osanna, osanna cantano
O bel bambin non piangere
Prayer for God's Gifts
Oh Lord and Master of my life, take away from me the spirit of laziness, cowardliness, lust for power, and malicious and idle speech. But rather give me, throughout the day to come, an ample spirit of vitality and force in your service, to the benefit of your glory and the good of my fellow man. Let me act in humility, patience, and decency at all times, seeing my own error and overlooking the faults of others; and let me always know the presence of your Holy Spirit, to remind me of what I have asked, in the name of my savior Jesus Christ,
For Those Making All Kinds of Journeys
I pray for all who will be making journeys today and during the Christmas holiday: For those who travel to spend time with family and friends; For those who are going to a new job and for those who are going to work for the last time today; For the emergency services who will travel at high speed on land, water or in the air, to bring help to others; For those starting a new life as they move into a new home; For those travelling to or from prison; For people who will go into hospital today; For young people on their way to and from school, college and university; For those who are lost on the journey of life; For those who will die today and make their final journey. I remember all these people now, and ask your blessing upon them, Lord.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip me with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in me what is pleasing to him, 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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What two Bible verses famously start with the words, “In the beginning . . . .”
John 1:1-14 (New King James Version)
The Word Becomes Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ became man 2000 years ago, but saying he was “born” on Christmas Day is true in only one sense. He was born of woman on Christmas, made flesh and blood, a fully human part of our world; but He existed at the beginning of time. John tells us that in the beginning, He was with God, and was God.
Orion Nebula; it looks as if a figure
of Christ is rising above the chaos.
This is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible. It is a bit hard to understand, because it is philosophical and poetic, so it benefits from repeated reading, reflection, and meditation. Like all great poetry, it is not made to be read straight through quickly; it is made to be read time and time again.
It parallels Genesis 1:1, even starting with the same phrase, “In the beginning”. The first sentence establishes two of the great tenets of Christianity. The “Word” is Christ. Thus, this passage tells us initially that Christ existed from the beginning of time. Secondly, it establishes the mystery of the Holy Trinity, by the perplexing statement, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. How can Christ be with God, yet be God? It defies human logic.
This is John's Christmas story. Just as Matthew and Luke begin with detailed accounts of the physical, historical way in which Jesus was born, John tells the story of how Christ came to be with us in a theological way. He tells the story from backstage, instead of the audience, that we might fully appreciate that Christmas was the day when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”