Here, in the middle of Advent, I had the most moving experience. Today in church we went forward to take communion. there was a tiny little girl next to me (about two). She saw everyone near her holding out their hands to receive the bread and held out hers too. It was so touching to look down next to me and see those small hands held out for the bread of communion. The Priest came by and put bread in her hands. She smiled but was very serious about what she was doing. She waited with us and watched her mother dip her bread into the wine and then did the same.
I wish I could have taken a picture but I have that image in my mind and in my heart. And a little child shall lead us. Today I felt the power of that child’s actions and we have another child on the way…The Christ child.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.
Christmas is coming. In this Psalm we see that nothing we can do can ransom out lives. Nothing WE can do. But coming to us on Christmas is someone who can. Someone sent by God. An infant who was born to save us. Praise God!
As we move each day closer to the birth of Jesus think about what you can bring to him. This video is a wonderful example of that kind of thinking. Enjoy!
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
How often do we stop to praise and thank God. If we go to church we do praise Him there but do we really think about it or is it just habit. Have you ever lifted up your hands in praise to God. Just the lifting of our hands is focusing our hearts and our bodies on God. Some churches are comfortable with this…some not but we can do it at home. Praise God every day!
Prayer: Gracious Lord, you are worthy to be praise with glad voices. We bless and praise your name. We are grateful for you love and compassion. Be with us each day of our lives. AMEN
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
It is easy to apply the words spoken about “a prophet” to be applied to the words spoken by Jesus. The whole ministry of Jesus is spent telling us and showing us how God wants us to be. How well do we listen? How well do we apply the lessons? It is hard not to see ourselves in the place of the man told to give up everything he had. Could we do it?
How closely are we following the message of Jesus?
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.
During this advent season we have to keep the message out there. This season is about the birth of Christ. It is a time of preparation. Not just buying gifts, decorating, and cooking. It is about preparing ourselves. Take time to experience the aticipation, the expectation. Christ is coming!
Today I want us to think about Mary’s answer to the angel. What if an angel appeared before you and asked you to do something that would shake you to the core and change your life forever? Would you hesitate? Would you wonder if the whole thing was not real? You would have to endure the disdain and censure of everyone you knew. You could end up being an outcast or stoned to death.
I am not sure what my answer would be. What would you do?
Luke 1:34-38, 46-55
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 1: 26-33
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary had to be an amazing woman. First of all seeing an angel would be enough by itself and yet the scripture did not say the fainted or ran away. It says she was troubled. I would have been more that troubled.
The angel then goes on to tell her that she will become pregnant and give birth to a son. Since Mary was not married this had to be frightening. What will people think? How will I explain to Joseph? What will happen to me?
And yet Mary listens to the angel and believes. Could you?
Advent 2019: December 6
Jesus said: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This sounds pretty scary. Something like some of the climate changes that we are seeing now. This could be a projection from the climatologists. For many centuries there have been prophecies about the end of things. Many have come and gone. We are still here.
The people of Jesus’ time expected him to return in their lifetime. That didn’t happen. Will it happen? We don’t know. We can only live in our belief that he will come in glory. Whether we will see it in our time no one knows. It doesn’t matter. The point is when He does come it will be a time for rejoicing. He will come again.
from the Hymn Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Sometimes, when things are overwhelming, I just want to rest. I want to sit quietly in a chair, my hands falling over the armrests, my head laid back, my eyes closed and most of all my mind still.
It’s harder and harder to get my mind still. It’s filled with so much stuff !! So many things to think about…. So many worries… money, family, job.. relationships, etc. etc. I can’t rest… I can’t stop thinking.
And yet, if only I would put my worries in your hands… let my mind dwell on you… I just might manage to find that place of calm.
Prayer: God of compassion, lead me to that place of calm. ..the place where you will free my mind from all the things I can’t let go. Help me to sit there with you in perfect peace and let you soothe my cares and give me rest. AMEN