Daily Devotion for December 26, 2013
2d Day of Christmas
Boxing Day (UK/Commonwealth)
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.
Sweetly singing o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ whose birth the angels sing.
Come adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord the newborn King.
See him in a manger laid
Whom the choirs of angels praise.
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid
While our hearts in love we raise .
Prayer of the Ancient Christians
I give you thanks Holy Father, for your holy name which you have caused to dwell in my heart, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to me through Jesus your servant; to you be the glory forever.
You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to men to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to me you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant Jesus. Above all I give thanks because you are mighty; to you be the glory forever.
Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified, from the four winds into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the glory forever.
May grace come, and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not, let him repent. Come, oh Lord!
A Christmas Prayer
Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth, may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us. As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the good news of salvation, so may we worship you in meekness of heart and humility of spirit. May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
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.
Luke 2:8-21 (New King James Version)
Glory to God in the Highest
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Osanna, osanna cantano
O bel bambin non piangere
Notes on the Scripture
When people have a moment of unutterable joy in their lives, they sometimes say, "I heard angels sing." There was even an old song, "You smile, and the angels sing . . ." It is a sweet thought. But only once in recorded history have people actually heard angels singing — in celebration that Christ had been born. And what a magnificent song: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."
God is glorified in so many ways, and we can see it every day. In the words of the great evangelist, Haddon Spurgeon:
"He is glorified in every dew drop that twinkles to the morning sun. He is magnified in every wood flower that blossoms in the copse, although it live to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness in the forest air. God is glorified in every bird that warbles on the spray; in every lamb that skips the mead. Do not the fishes in the sea praise him? From the tiny minnow to the huge Leviathan, do not all creatures that swim the water bless and praise his name? Do not all created things extol him? Is there aught beneath the sky, save man, that doth not glorify God? Do not the stars exalt him, when they write his name upon the azure of heaven in their golden letters? Do not the lightnings adore him when they flash his brightness in arrows of light piercing the midnight darkness? Do not thunders extol him when they roll like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not all things exalt him, from the least even to the greatest?"
But as sweet and wonderful as the myriad glorifications of God, there has been nothing to equal the moment of Christ's birth. Imagine the unutterable beauty of the heavens singing, and singing in words that were understandable to men. This was not some great but pleasing noise, not even a mysterious melody; Luke tells us that the angels sang words. Apparently not many people heard it; as was to become typical of Christ's life, the message was not given to kings and priests, but to simple shepherds sitting out, staring at the weird star that had appeared and wondering what was going on. But they were certainly impressed enough to leave their jobs and go to Bethlehem, to bear witness to the miracle that had occurred.
It is the most heartwarming day of history, and the most heartwarming day in our year. May I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and all the true joy that has and will continue to come to us. Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, and good will to all of you.