Daily Devotion for December 22, 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.
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 the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Gracious God, Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life. Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church. Open my heart to the people who are different from me. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Keep me from the snares the wicked have laid for me, And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
Let them fall into their own nets, While I escape safely.
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
I think that this is probably my favorite passage in the Bible. It is a bit hard to understand, because it is philosophical and poetic. I hope you will read it repeatedly, if it puzzles you, and meditate upon it, because you will get a great reward. 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.
The reason this passage is part of our Christmas reading is that it gives the deeper meaning, the overall purpose, of the birth of Christ. While Matthew and Luke give us detailed accounts of the physical, historical way in which Jesus was born, John gives the underlying meaning of what happened when "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Reading and understanding this passage adds an enormous dimension to the deep spiritual celebration of Christmas. It adds profound meaning to the holiday. I hope you will spend some time and effort in learning this short passage, if you haven't done so before; it is well worth it.