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2016 Daily Devotions

Friday, December 23, 2016

by
Isai Thomas-Cazares

Scripture
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…” John 1.14a

A Word of Hope

Every year at Advent time, we do a lot of Gospel juggling between the birth narratives according to Luke or Matthew. Were the Magi in Luke or Matthew? Which told about the shepherds? Which had no room in the Inn? The subplot details can often obscure the central theme. We usually overlook completely the most succinct of all the birth stories in a third Gospel, John, who begins his writing with the beautiful poem equating the Word to God, and clearly summing up the incarnation for us in the above scripture. In Luke, Jesus’ mother also humbly reinforces the “word” metaphor: “Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”(Luke 1.38)

The word became flesh the first time in the most natural of ways, by gestating and finally springing forth from the womb of Mary. But how do we give birth to the Word, to Jesus, today? To me, Advent is our season of gestation, the days when we should first set aside time to grow spiritually ourselves as the noted Christian mystic, Joan Chittister, observes, “We live and breathe, grow and develop in the womb of God.” In our awareness of this, we then have the opportunity to meditate on the miracle of the Word actually developing and growing within our own beings. We can be like Mary, who lived and contemplated and matured in the womb of God while simultaneously carrying God in her own womb. The Presbyterian chaplain and author, Loretta Ross-Gotta, speaks of this Advent miracle:

“We create holy ground and give birth to Christ in our time not by doing but by believing and by loving the mysterious Infinite One who stirs within. This requires trust that something of great and saving importance is growing and kicking its heels in you.”

Prayer
May we be the humble vessels of your Word becoming flesh once again this Advent Season.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

by
Rev. Bobby Kates
Volunteer Associate Pastor for People with Disabilities

Scripture:
The Prayer of Mary – “The Magnificat”
“My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For though I’m God’s humble servant, God has noticed me.
Now and forever, I will be considered blessed by all generations. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name! From generation to generation, God’s lovingkindness endures for those who revere Him. God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds. The proud in mind and heart, God has sent away in disarray. The rulers from their high positions of power, God has brought down low.
And those who were humble and lowly, God has elevated with dignity. The hungry—God has filled with fine food. The rich—God has dismissed with nothing in their hands. To Israel, God’s servant, God has given help, As promised to our ancestors, remembering Abraham and his descendants in mercy forever.”
(Luke 1:46-55 The Voice)

A Word of Hope on National Re-gifting Day
Bobby KatesRe-gifting has gotten a bad name. Many of us have received a ‘White Elephant Gift.’ But in reality many people have re-gifted their family and friends with wonderful things; things that may suit perfectly the one being re-gifted by the one re-gifting. Sometimes the gift may be something that a person may desperately need but not know how or be able to attain by themselves. In times like this, re-gifting may be the answer to the perfect gift.

Mary was young, unmarried, and pregnant with child. However she was strong and fearless with child. God had noticed her and lifted her up. She would give birth to a child, a child that would save all humankind through God’s Salvation and Grace. And by doing so, Mary would re-gift to the world, the child that God had gifted her.

Mary lived during a time of ‘empire,’ as do we. Hers was a time when the marginalized where being pushed even farther away from the center, very much like what many fear our time will concur. So during this time of Advent, this awakening in our hearts to the coming of the Babe that would become the Christ, may we be fearless as well. Fearless as Mary; may we all re-gift our families, friends, and especially those strangers we meet upon chance, with the Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace that can only be found in the Spirit of Jesus Christ that lives within all of us!

“My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!” So feel the freedom, the true Spirit of the season! Feel God’s Love and give it away…just as Mary did.

Prayer
O God, May we never stop giving Your Love away! Amen.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope Devotion we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

by
Dan Peeler
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare

Scripture
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…” John 1.14a

A Word of Hope

Every year at Advent time, we do a lot of Gospel juggling between the birth narratives according to Luke or Matthew. Were the Magi in Luke or Matthew? Which told about the shepherds? Which had no room in the Inn? The subplot details can often obscure the central theme. We usually overlook completely the most succinct of all the birth stories in a third Gospel, John, who begins his writing with the beautiful poem equating the Word to God, and clearly summing up the incarnation for us in the above scripture. In Luke, Jesus’ mother also humbly reinforces the “word” metaphor: “Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”(Luke 1.38)

The word became flesh the first time in the most natural of ways, by gestating and finally springing forth from the womb of Mary. But how do we give birth to the Word, to Jesus, today? To me, Advent is our season of gestation, the days when we should first set aside time to grow spiritually ourselves as the noted Christian mystic, Joan Chittister, observes, “We live and breathe, grow and develop in the womb of God.” In our awareness of this, we then have the opportunity to meditate on the miracle of the Word actually developing and growing within our own beings. We can be like Mary, who lived and contemplated and matured in the womb of God while simultaneously carrying God in her own womb. The Presbyterian chaplain and author, Loretta Ross-Gotta, speaks of this Advent miracle:

“We create holy ground and give birth to Christ in our time not by doing but by believing and by loving the mysterious Infinite One who stirs within. This requires trust that something of great and saving importance is growing and kicking its heels in you.”

Prayer
May we be the humble vessels of your Word becoming flesh once again this Advent Season.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

Support Cathedral of Hope

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

by
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley
Pastoral Counselor

cciadallas.org/

Scripture
My heart exults in the LORD;
   my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
   because I rejoice in my victory.
Hannah’s Prayer (1 Samuel 2:1)

A Word of Hope
"When You Don’t Feel the Christmas Spirit"

Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley

This phrase from the Prayer of Hannah, recorded in the first Book of Samuel, is a part of a prayer that is really a song or poem. It is a mixture of emotion, both praising God and ridiculing enemies (See 1 Samuel 2:1-10). Do you ever feel mixed if not mixed-up in your emotions?

For most Christ-followers, the Christmas season is associated with a spirit of cheer, good will, gratitude and celebration of the birth of the Christ. There are festive hymns, glittering decorations, and spectacular lights that celebrate this season of joy. Of course, life is not always joyful and the complications of relationships can make it a difficult time for many.

Perhaps you have difficulty with the Bible itself. Scripture can be complex and give mixed messages that can make the gracious God whom Jesus revealed into a war-mongering, angry deity.

Maybe you are experiencing the emotional burden of loss and grief or even mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. It’s difficult to find joy and peace when you are painfully grieving an absent loved one or suffering from hopelessness and apprehension.

Hannah is a woman who knew both tragedy and triumph. She knew peacetime and wartime. She places her trust and finds her strength in the divine mystery of the Holy One whom none of us can ever completely comprehend.

It is OK if you don’t feel the Christmas Spirit. YOU are OK even in times such as that. There is a Strength, a Presence, a Transcendent Hope who has the capacity to see beyond today and to carry you through it to tomorrow.

The hymn writer put it this way: “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom (redeem/bring hope to) captive Israel (the People of God/You and me)!”

May it be so.

Prayer
Holy Mystery, may I allow myself the patience and grace that is needed for the journey and that you offer each of us every day. In the name of the Christ. Amen.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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