Daily Devotion for December 8, 2019
Second Sunday in Advent
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.
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, who makes us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; Give me this day such blessings through my worship of you, that the days to come may be spent in your service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal,
- the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth,
- the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven,
- the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,
- the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in imitation of the Saints,
- the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and
- the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.
Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of your true disciples, and animate me in all things with your Spirit. In Christ's name, I pray that the Spirit may be with me and fill me, today and throughout the week to come.
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
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.
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (Holman CSB)
The Lord’s Covenant with David
"When your time comes to be with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who is one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me.
I will not take away My faithful love from him as I took it from the one who was before you. I will appoint him over My house and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever."
Luke 1:5-17 (ESV)
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
n the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Notes on the Scripture
Today, with about two weeks left until Christmas, we start our Christmas readings in earnest. The birth of Christ is bound up with the birth of John the Baptist. God did not send Christ into the world cold, as they say in show business. John the Baptist was His warm-up act and His emcee; he introduced Christ to Israel by prophesying His imminent arrival and then by baptizing Him in the Jordan River.
Their ties began before their birth. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were Levites, the descendants of Aaron, the tribe from which Judaism took its priests. As would happen to Mary in six months, John’s father was visited by an angel (Gabriel) to inform him of a miraculous birth. In John’s case his birth was remarkable because of the age of his parents. As happens several times in the Old Testament (most notably Sarah), God chooses a barren woman, past the age of conception, to bear a child of a special significance. Thus, people will find it easier to accept the child as special, since his conception was a miracle. His mere existence is a sign of his significance.
John the Baptist reminds us somewhat of Samson. Both were born to barren women; both were announced by an angel; and in both cases, the angel forbade them to drink alcohol. (See Judges 13.) Samson’s strictures were more stringent than John’s, because he was a Nazarite, and was forbidden to cut his hair or beard. John, however, although not a member of a formal monastic sect, would prove to lead a monastic life: living in the wilderness in rough clothing and surviving on locusts, as a sign of his dedication to God.
Note that the name “Zechariah” can cause some confusion. It is a good transliteration of the ancient Hebrew, but various versions of the Bible Latinize the name to Zacharias or even Zachary. However, there is a more important Hebrew prophet also named Zechariah. This person lived 500 years earlier, and his prophesies are contained in the Book of Zechariah, the penultimate book of the Christian Old Testament.