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 all four candles and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
O Love Incarnate, draw near to me this hour and throughout the day. Teach me to love as you love - fully, sacrificially, and with great joy. Amen.
Word: Matthew 1:22-23
"This happened as the Lord said it would happen through Isaiah. He said, “The young woman, who has never had a man, will give birth to a Son. They will give Him the name Immanuel. This means God with us.”
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the big day! I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just me getting older, but time goes by very fast these days. It seems like just last week that we had pulled out our advent wreath and were lighting the first candle … the hope candle. And then peace and joy and love. All the candles are lit except the center one … the Christ candle that we will light tomorrow (or maybe even tonight) as we celebrate the arrival of Jesus. Immanuel - God with us. Are you ready?
Most of the time that’s a pretty mundane question. Kind of like talking about the weather or asking someone what they do for a living. It’s just one of those things you say. Are you ready for Christmas? And usually what that means is have you decorated the tree and the house, have you bought all the gifts you intend to give, have you made the travel arrangements or finalized your grocery list. All for the big day. Are you ready for the celebration of Christmas?
But are you ready for Immanuel? For God, in the flesh, to come and be with you? That’s a different question. It seems like the obvious answer would be yes! Of course! But the more I think about it, the more I realize how unprepared I am and how many things I would want to change or clean up before being in the presence of … God.
And then I remember that Jesus was born in a stable, not a palace. He was born to peasants, not the rich and famous. He spent time with the lowly. The outcast. The sick. The sinner. God doesn’t demand we get our act together before he comes to be with us. He just comes. And I think, maybe there’s a place for me with this God too.
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.
Immanuel, you are God with us - the broken, the lonely, the outcast, the sinner. Thank you for coming to be with us as we are. Thank you for your love that transforms what we shall be. Make us to be a people ready to meet their God. Amen.