WE LOVE YOU
Date: 12/25/2015 02:54 - Subscribe


Verse

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver
her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and
wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7

Voice

He is born of a poor Virgin, in a cave, wrapped in poor
swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. Riches, honours,
glory of this world! Fall down, fall down in humility, tearful
devotion, and deep gratitude before the Saviour of men,
and share your riches with the poor and needy. Do not
pride yourselves on your visionary, fleeting distinctions,
for true distinction can only be found in virtue. Glory of this
world! Learn here, before the manger, your vanity. Thus,
let us all humble ourselves; let us all fall down in the dust
before the boundless humility and exhaustion of the
Sovereign of all, of God, Who has come to heal our
infirmities, to save us from pride, vanity, corruption, and
every sinful impurity.
St. John of Kronstadt

Prayer

Lord God of Hosts, as a helpless and homeless infant
you conquered the earth and overthrew our souls — we
love you!

Sojourners (sojo.net)

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NOT THE WAY I WOULD HAVE DONE IT
Date: 12/25/2015 09:17 - Subscribe



Christmas Day: December 25, 2015

Read John 1:1-5; 9-14. TEXT: ... and wrapped Him in
swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because
there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:7b).

Advent It wasn't the ideal time or place for Mary's
Child--God's Son--to be born into this world. Joseph
hadn't had time to establish his carpenter's trade in their
new town of Bethlehem; he couldn't even find suitable
lodging for his wife and her Child, just a shelter for
animals. There was no time even to build a handsome
cradle. Jesus would be laid in a manger--a feeding
trough for animals.

That hardly seems like a fitting way for God's Son to
come into our world. But God's thoughts are not our
thoughts, neither are our ways His ways
(see Isaiah 55:cool.gif. His Son didn't come to a perfect
paradise. He came to fix our broken world and mend
our broken lives. He came to a world of suffering, loss,
hurt and death--and He came to share that suffering,
loss, hurt and death.

This Christmas Day may find you in a place you never
dreamed you'd be. You may be alone and afraid. Perhaps
you're suffering from unemployment or underemployment.
Maybe you're sick, dying or grieving the death of a dear
loved one.

But Jesus came to share all the worst this life has to bring.
He has experienced all the hurt and heartaches we will
ever face--and much more. He paid the price for our sins
as He hung on the cross. This Christmas Day He's ready
and able to handle all your doubts and fears.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, thank You for humbling Yourself to leave
Your throne in heaven and to become one of us. You lived
among us, experiencing all the worst things of life that You
might cheer and comfort us in all our sufferings. Be with us
this special day and fill us with Your joy and peace. Amen.

( Wayne Palmer Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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THE FACE OF GOD
Date: 12/24/2015 07:43 - Subscribe


Read Luke 2:6-7. TEXT: And she gave birth to her firstborn
Son .... (Luke 2:7a).

Advent Christmas Eve. I can't hear those words without
being filled with a childhood wonder and thrill. Tonight is
always a magical time with all the dazzling lights, the brisk
air, and the joyous music in church. What a night to sit
around the tree with family and recall fond memories of
Christmases past.

But my Christmas Eve experiences pale in comparison to
what Mary and Joseph experienced that first Christmas
night. Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son, and together
with Joseph she looked into the eyes of God. She stroked
His baby-soft skin, and felt His tiny fingers wrap around
her finger. Wonder of wonders, indeed.

Over the centuries since that first Christmas we have
layered many traditions, decorations and activities into the
fabric of our celebrations, but underlying it all remains the
one thing that truly transforms our Christmas celebration:
that tiny newborn Baby.

This is the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince
of Peace. On His shoulders rests the government of the
entire creation. Yet He comes to us in a familiar form, a
Baby, One who drives away our fears and melts our
hearts of stone. Whatever fears weigh on your heart this
night, be sure to stop and look upon this precious Child,
take Him in your arms, and wonder at the God who came
to save you and drive away your fears.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, thank You for becoming one of us. By Your
birth, life, death and resurrection, You have won eternal
life for each of us. Drive away from my heart all fears and
concerns, and fill me with Your heavenly peace. Amen.

( Wayne Palmer Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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A STRANGE NEW PATH
Date: 12/23/2015 07:41 - Subscribe



Read Luke 2:1-5. TEXT: In those days a decree went out
from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered
(Luke 2:1).

Advent When we last saw Mary in our story, she was
returning to her home in Nazareth, since Elizabeth was ready
to give birth. Luke moves us a few months forward to the
circumstances of Jesus' birth.

The prophet Micah announced that Jesus was to be born in
the southern town of Bethlehem, not in Mary's northern town
of Nazareth. To get her in the right place at the right time, God
works through an edict of the Roman Emperor Caesar
Augustus to bring her to Bethlehem to fulfill Micah's prophecy.

It must have been strange and a little scary for Mary and
Joseph to leave their familiar haunts to travel to Bethlehem.
But move they did, and from the events that followed Jesus'
birth, it seems probable they planned to stay in Bethlehem to
raise Jesus. In fact, they only left when warned in a dream to
flee (see Matthew 2:1-13). Even after the death of King Herod
who sought Jesus' life, Joseph may well have returned to
Bethlehem, until the Lord directed them to return to Nazareth
(see Matthew 2:22).

The paths of our lives can take some strange and frightening
turns. But no matter what doubts, fears and uncertainties may
be in your path, you don't travel it alone. The Christ Child came
into this world to assure us we will never be alone; He will be
with us wherever we go.

THE PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding the course of Jesus'
life--and ours. Give us confidence that You will never leave us
nor forsake us, that we may live in peace and confidence. In
Jesus' Name. Amen.

( Wayne Palmer Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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THE PEACE OF THE KING
Date: 12/22/2015 06:36 - Subscribe


Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9

Reflection:

One common refrain in the Christmas holiday season
is a call for peace. And yet is there is a more chaotic
time of year? We rush about to get to the stores in
time "while supplies last" battling for parking, and
hoping to stay within the budget by getting the
"best deal". Some of us fall into depression and
despair. All this does not seem peaceful at all.
In this passage, Paul had every reason to be
stressed out. He was in prison,not knowing what his
fate might be. And yet he encouraged the Philippians
to find joy again and again and again (v.4). He had
a deep sense of the nearness of his King to his
condition (v.5). He understood the power of prayer
and praise to overcome anxiety and stress (v.6). He
found a peace that defied the chaos and pain of his
surroundings, transcending conventional understanding
(v. 7)

Prayer:

Dear Lord my gracious King. I pause right now from
whatever I am doing to thank you for your provision,
your presence and your peace. AMEN

(Covenant Home Altar author,Quaime Lee)

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