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2017 Daily Devotions

Daily Devotion Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Scripture:

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all God’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.  When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of God. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to God. And he will go on before the Messiah, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the son of God.”                                                    Luke 1:5-17 (NIV)

Word of Hope:

This scripture is foretelling the birth of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. John the Baptist will prepare people for the coming of Jesus. I love this story. In the following verses, Mary will be visited by the Angel Gabriel (the same angel who visited Zechariah), who will inform her that she will give birth to a son who will be called the son of the Most High. Mary then visits her aunt Elizabeth, who, on hearing Mary’s greeting, feels John leap for joy within her womb, in recognition of the coming of Jesus.

This sets the tone of excitement and anticipation for the coming of Christ. Advent is like this for me, a time of excitement and anticipation. Often, I find that the season passes by too quickly. I have to be purposeful in how I focus on Advent, so that I can slow down enough to find joy in the season and not be overwhelmed by shopping and other preparations for “the perfect Christmas.”

One practice that helps me is to light the candles of an Advent wreath at home each day during Advent. I read an Advent devotion after lighting the candles. These devotions are available from several sources; I have several books of Advent devotions. If you would rather, you can just sing a Christmas carol or hymn each day after lighting the candles. Don’t let the lack of an Advent wreath stop you from observing Advent in this way. A simple votive candle can stand in for an Advent Wreath. 

Prayer:

Magnificent God, help me to prepare my heart for Your gift, the coming of your son, Jesus.

Devotion Author

Molly Sutton, COH member

Daily Devotion Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Scripture

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.  Luke 1:46-49

Words of Hope

Today we commemorate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the pregnant Madonna, and how fitting it is that she is celebrated on the Christian calendar before the incarnation of Jesus on the twenty-fifth.  You may reverently kneel and pray in homage to her at the right side front of the Cathedral of Hope sanctuary.

Mother Mary first appeared emerging from the sunlight and having the moon at her feet to Juan Diego on December 9, 10 and 12 in 1531 and said, “My dear little son, I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.  All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace."

The bishop of the region was dubious of Juan’s vision and asked her for a sign, so Mary made Castilian roses bloom, a flower not native to the area.  Juan Diego gathered them up in his tilma and when he opened it and let the roses fall in front of the bishop, the image of the Lady was imprinted on the cloth.  The tilma was made of cactus fiber and today is housed in the most visited shrine in the Americas in Mexico City, and still shows no sign of decay, a miracle in itself, since cactus fiber fabrics usually rot within fifteen to twenty years.

Prayer:

O most holy Mother, I beg you to obtain for me pardon of all my sins, abundant graces to serve your Son more faithfully from now on, and lastly, the grace to praise Him with you forever in heaven.

Devotion Author

Teddy Mowrey

Daily Devotion Monday, December 11, 2017

Devotion Author
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 about the Word to God, and clearly summing up the Word’s 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 deliberately 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.

Daily Devotion Friday, December 8, 2017

Devotion Author

Donna Jackson

Scripture
Matthew 1:20

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of  David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

A Word of Hope
Very little is written about Joseph save for the fact he was having second thoughts about his engagement to Mary until he received a reassuring message from an angel. Prior to that moment, and although his heart was breaking, he was leaning toward quietly terminating the relationship to spare them both any embarrassment.

Whatever decisions he made would need to reflect both Godly wisdom and tender consideration for Mary. “And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife; and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus” (Matt. 1:24, 25). Being a devout man and trusting God for guidance, the issue was settled, Joseph believed!

That was all Joseph needed to hear. He could have walked away, even after he knew the truth, but he stood by Mary. And just as surely as God chose Mary to be the mother of the Messiah, he chose Joseph to be a father figure on Earth for Jesus.

Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem where she gave to birth to Jesus and they later fled to Egypt to protect him from Herod. Then when Herod’s son was reigning in Judah God sent a dream telling him to go to Galilee where Jesus would become a carpenter and then one day become Savior of the world. Joseph displays an amazing act of trust as he is guided on this journey of being Father to the son of God.

When God summons a person for service, it may not be an easy path, but it will be a fruitful one. Even in his fear, Joseph trusted God to guide his journey with Jesus.  He believed, even when he didn’t fully understand, yet continually trusted he was doing Gods will.

Prayer
Creator God, give us the same courage as Joseph when we are being called to do your work. Let our trust be so great in you we jump into your will with both feet and never look back. Amen

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