Daily Devotion for December 1, 2010
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 touching hymn written in prison by anabaptist Leonhart Sommer, December 1573, shortly before he died because of his belief.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me - love the Father and love all humankind. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer for Peace
We 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. We 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.
We pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. We 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.
Lord our God, remember and have mercy on our brothers and sisters who are involved in every civil conflict. Remove from their midst all hostility, confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and peace, we pray You, hear us and have mercy on us.
Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By the strength of your mighty arm save your people and your Holy Church from all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to You in sorrow and affliction, day and night. Merciful God, let their lives not be lost, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
The Branch From Jesse
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on himó the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lordó and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobraís den, the young child will put its hand into the viperís nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Notes on the Scripture
Today is the fourth (or in some calendars, fifth) day of Advent — 24 days until Christmas! Our Scripture is a beautiful passage from Isaiah; much of Isaiah foretells the coming of the Messiah.
Advent is Latin for "coming" and we call the days before Christmas "Advent" because we celebrate the coming birth of Christ. He was born as an historical man and so we can be born in the Spirit. We celebrate the birth of mankind, in a sense.
We prepare to welcome the arrival of a unique King into the world, as had been prophesied in Isaiah. We celebrate that the Word will become flesh, in order to give us the hope of salvation, the deliverance from sin. This period is one of excitement and preparation, for we have come to know Christ and what He has accomplished for us.
He is coming to dwell among us, God is coming to walk with us as a man, a simple man, a carpenter, to whom human beings could talk and worship and with whom they could eat. He was born as a humble little baby and the people alive in that time would have seen him, just like any newborn. And we know that He will come again and all who believe in Him will see him in the full glory of His Kingdom.