Daily Devotion for December 26, 2010
Day After 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 Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.
Simeon Sees God�s Salvation
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord�s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:
According to Thy word;
For my eyes have seen Thy salvation
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Thy people Israel.�
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, �This child is destined to cause the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.�
Notes on the Scripture
The last paragraph of the Scripture has given translators difficulty over the centuries. The one given is fairly close to the original Greek. We don't always follow the old convention of capitalizing all the pronouns referring to the Divinity, but in this passage it is hard to follow all the "him's" and "his's" without capitalizing the pronouns referring to Christ. I have also retained the antiquated "Thou" form, because it corresponds to the familiar form of "you" that Simeon would have used.
Many people don't realize how hard translating the Bible has been. Just take the matter of how to translate "you". Many modern scholars object to the use of the old pronouns "thou, thee, thy, thine" because we don't talk like that today. They make the point that the Bible should be translated in the natural language of our time, so that it is easier to read and so that it reads more as a living, contemporary document and not so much an antiquated and even outmoded one.
On the other hand, the language spoken by almost all people in the Bible, and the languages in which it was originally written, are impossible to translate accurately into Modern English. Taking the single item in point — "you" vs. "thou" — both Greek and Hebrew have different words for "you" depending on whom the speaker is addressing. Early Modern English, the language of the King James Bible, had a similar system (as do many or even most languages today, as anyone who has struggled through learning French, Spanish, or German will immediately recognize).
I cannot begin to discuss how complicated the history of versions of the word "you" has been in the English language (there is also "ye" to consider!). But I will say, that contemporary English has no word that corresponds to "thou"; this is one reason so many people still gravitate towards the King James and/or American Standard versions of the Bible.
I don't have a horse in that race, as they say. Morning Devotional uses a variety of translations or even unpublished translations, depending on the Scripture cited. Where the meaning is clearer in contemporary English, especially in certain hard-to-read passages of the Epistles and Old Testament, we tend to choose from the New International Version, New Living Translation, or English Standard Version. At other times, we pick among the King James Version, the New King James Version, and the American Standard Version. And often, we simply do an uncopyrighted translation ourselves, if we really don't like what's available.
Also, we try to at least sample all of the translations widely available. Since one of the primary purposes of this website is to strengthen the bonds between Christians of all countries and denominations, we think it is important to recognize that people who read other translations of the Bible are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Narrowness is a great danger to Christianity and causes terrible breaches of the repeated entreaties of Peter, John, Paul, and Christ Himself: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)
So, for my Christmas present, I will ask for this indulgence from our readers. When you read a Scriptural selection in a version that you don't prefer, don't say to yourself, "I don't like that, it isn't as good as ____________ (fill in your preferred translation)". Instead, feel a connection with all the true believers in Christ that have different preferences than you. (You can alway, easily, reread the passage in whatever translation or version you prefer.) The community of love that Christ commanded us to form was not a community of people who will only read the King James or New Living or some other translation of the Bible. It is a community of all people who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior.