Daily Devotion for December 3, 2010
22 Days 'Til Christmas
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed me with the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 132:8-9 (English Standard Version)
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy.
Micah 5:1-5 (English Standard Version)
The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem
Now muster your troops, O city of troops; siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.
Notes on the Scripture
Micah lived roughly 700 years before the birth of Christ. Here he predicts that the savior of Israel will be born in the tiny town of Bethlehem Ephrathah. There were two towns called "Bethlehem" in Canaan; one of them had been previously called Ephrathah, so Micah uses the word to specify which of them he meant. And there is no confusion — this is the exact town in which Christ was born seven centuries later.
This passage is, truly, one of the great miracles of the Bible, for it is historically proven that the prophesy was made prior to 701 BC, when Micah died. The birth of Jesus of Nazareth in that very town, and his role as the savior of Israel (and all of humanity), standing and shepherding his flock in the strength of the Lord, "great to the ends of the earth", can be nothing except the fulfillment of this ancient prophesy.