With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Make the sign of the cross, and say,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have an advent wreath, light three candles for hope, peace, and joy, and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, thank you for coming to dwell with me. Brighten the dark places in my life. Show me where you are working and teach me to respond with joy. Amen.
Word: Luke 2:18-20
"All who heard it were surprised at what the shepherds told them. But Mary hid all these words in her heart. She thought about them much. The shepherds went back full of joy. They thanked God for all they had heard and seen. It happened as the angel had told them."
Every year we have a staff Christmas party. We use the term “staff” loosely, so the invite list includes a number of volunteers and everyone’s spouses. We typically have 70-80 people in our house. It’s always cozy, shoulder to shoulder. It’s always full of joy, food, and laughter.
In 2020, the party was canceled for the first time in years. 75 people in a house is a strange thought. We can’t imagine such a gathering right now. We know it’s what we have to do for now, but we miss the fellowship and joy.
During a time when we must be apart from so many people we love, it’s natural to ask, “Am I alone? Is God himself distant from me? Has he left me? Does he care anymore?”
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God found it unacceptable to be distant from us. So he came near. The baby in the manger became the man on the cross. And the man on the cross became the risen Lord. The same Jesus who entered earth in Bethlehem said this: “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). “Always” means eternity, and that includes 2020.
Prayer for the World
· For my city, state, and country.
· For leaders: mayor, governor, president, congress.
· For those who serve the public: police officers, firefighters, teachers, first responders, medical personnel.
· For the nations of the world, for world leaders.
· For good government, good schools, good business.
· For justice, especially for the oppressed: minorities, immigrants and refugees, orphans, widows, the very young or unborn, the aged.
· For creation: for the care of land, air, wildlife, and sea.
God of all comfort and joy, you come to be present with us when we are distant from you. Dwell among us now. Be near when we feel distant, alone, and isolated. Overwhelm us when your presence, O Incarnate Christ. Amen.