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Daily Devotion for December 8, 2017
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.
Wait for the Lord, whose day is near;
Wait for the Lord, be strong take heart.
Prepare the way for the Lord;
Make a straight path for Him.
The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed;
All the Earth will see the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord always;
He is at Hand.
Joy and gladness for all who seek the Lord.
Music and Lyrics by Jacques Berthier
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.
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He could live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary.
~ Joe Gatuslao
Isaiah 24:1-6 (ESV)
Judgment of the Earth
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
Burning of Sodom (detail), Corot
The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.
The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.
Notes on the Scripture
Well, this isn’t exactly a rosy cheerful Christmas message. But Isaiah, who predicted the coming of a Savior with astonishing alacrity, fully appreciated what was at stake and had no compunction about expressing it. To appreciate Christ, we must appreciate fully what He saved us from.
This grim prophecy from Isaiah foretells the future of the physical world, and of the physical humans who inhabit it. Our bodies will die some day. No matter whether we are priests or lords or servants, whatever our station in life has been, our lives as physical human beings will end. And just as we will become old and our bodies will become weak and sick, the earth will become desolate and eventually be “empty and utterly plundered.”
Knowing the certainty of the pain of death, we can appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us. Our joy at the birth of Christ, which we celebrate three weeks from now, is as great as our understanding of our future without Him. We are, indeed, safe to hang fragrant wreaths and bask in firelit comfort, for we have been rescued. Christmas is not only a time of joy, but a time of relief.