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 the first candle and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, open our eyes to your light and our ears to your words of hope. Come, O long-expected Jesus. Our hope is in you. Amen.
Word: Matthew 1:18
The birth of Jesus Christ was like this: Mary His mother had been promised in marriage to Joseph. Before they were married, it was learned that she was to have a baby by the Holy Spirit.
Promises are peculiar things. Depending on who is making the promise and what the promise is, a promise can change the way you feel, the way you think and even the way you act. When I was 8 years old my parents promised my sister and I that we would go to Disney World that summer. The dreams of our short lives were going to come true! Finally we were going to the Magic Kingdom to see Mickey Mouse and all his friends. My sister and I planned and plotted and dreamed about all that we would do and see during our time in the magical place. One evening though my parents called us into the living room for a “family meeting”. I thought maybe it was more good news, maybe we were staying an extra week at Disney. Instead my parents, very excitedly told us that mom was having a baby, we were going to have a little brother or sister (it turned out to be a boy). While the initial news was exciting, the follow up statement was not. Due to the upcoming delivery (and additional cost of a baby) we were not going to be able to go to Disney after all. Promise broken. Dream shattered. Hope dashed.
Mary had been “promised in marriage” to Joseph. This promise changed the way she felt, the way she thought and the way she even acted. She was going to be a wife. Her life was now lived in anticipation of that promise. But the LORD had another promise in mind. A promise that intimately involved Mary, but was also for the entire world. A baby was to be born to her, but the baby born TO Mary would be FOR the world.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” (Is. 9:6-7) This promise changes everything.
(Oh and many years later, with my little brother, we all went to Disney World!)
Prayer for Neighbors
· For my immediate geographical neighbors.
· For my community, neighborhood, town/city.
· For neighbors hurting from broken families, addiction, violence, abuse, poverty, sickness.
· For the eyes of the Good Samaritan, to see and help my neighbor in need.
Father, in the midst of darkness may we cling to your sure and certain promises. Promises sealed in the blood of Christ and proven trustworthy in the empty tomb on Easter morning. Amen!