Archive for December, 2011

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Christmas week

May you too find some lovely goodies to dip into

 

 

For us, this is a week of celebrating the birth of our Saviour with family–lots of family. Yesterday it was with my mother and with our son Barnabas and his family. Today a bunch of my siblings and their families descend. That means lots of food and visiting and cousins reconnecting.

So blogging may be sparse for a few days. I pray that your own Jesus celebration may stretch out in some way through these days.

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Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Christmas Reading 2011

Galatians 4:4-7
In the fullness of time, the Christ was born so we can be adopted. 

When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son,  born  of woman, born  under the law,  5  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive  adoption as sons.  6 And because you are sons, God has sent  the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then  an heir through God.

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Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Advent reading, Saturday, December 24, 2011

Matthew 2:12-15
An angel warns the wise men and Joseph. 

 

12 And  being warned  in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

13   Now when they had departed, behold,  an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet,  “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Advent reading: Friday, December 23, 2011

Matthew 2:1-11
The wise men follow the star to the baby. 

 

Now  after Jesus was born in  Bethlehem of Judea  in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men  from  the east came to Jerusalem,  2 saying, “Where is he who has been born  king of the Jews? For we saw  his star when it rose  and have come to  worship him.”  3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where  the Christ was to be born.  5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6   “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler

who will  shepherd my people Israel.’”

7   Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures,  they offered him gifts,  gold and  frankincense and  myrrh.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

When Joy to the World isn’t our world

You don’t have to live many Christmases before you realize that the emotions of Christmas are not all joy. In fact, some years we may wonder if joy will ever come again.

I’m thinking about that reality now, after hearing from some people who are suffering right now. The causes are quite different, but for all of them, Christmas as they’ve known it seems like another planet.

That makes me want to put it down in stark black and white: Christmas can be hard, really hard, unbearably hard–all the more when we look around at all the jolliness and feel like we’re alone in our grief or pain or loneliness or uncertainty or fear or hopelessness or confusion or alienation or . . . .

A few years ago, I wrote to a friend whose child had come through a crisis not long before Christmas.

I realize that it doesn’t resolve your situation to hear that you’re not alone. But I pray it might help lighten the burden at least a little to see what some others have to say, people who are in your shoes now or they have been there.

These articles are in no particular order and are from from various perspectives. I think it will be quite possible as you read to substitute your own challenges or the struggles of a person you love.

When Christmas Stinks, by Michael Monroe

Joy (and Grief) and Joy at Christmas, by Molly Piper

The angels’ words were a battle cry, by Joni Eareckson Tada

FAS and Christmas, by Julie Martindale

“Suffering is the reason for the season,” Charles Colson

White Elephant: Explain that to an FASD Kiddo, by Barb Clark

He Says There’s Something Worse than Death, by John Knight (poem by John Piper)

God Uses Silly Videos to Make Much of Himself, by John Knight

The Most Important Posting I Will Ever Write . . . & a Christmas Greeting, by Mike Evans

Home for Christmas, by Greg Lucas

Together on the Ledge, by Lisa Qualls

A request to you: Please share with us resources that have helped you in your difficult times.

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Advent Reading: Thursday, December 22, 2011

Luke 2:15-20
The shepherds go to the manger.

 

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby  lying in a manger.  17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  19 But  Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds returned,  glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Music when Christmas is hard

There have been times in my life when I felt as if I were living and moving in a thick, muffled fog–when my heart couldn’t see or hear anything clearly, if at all. I can look back on a few of those times and know the exact moment when a glimmer of light broke through. It happened with music. I don’t know how music which enters through the ears can shine a beam of light into the heart. It doesn’t work metaphorically or physically, but that’s what happened.

Today, I’ve been collecting things I’ve read from people writing about their Christmas celebrations when it’s hard to celebrate. I was struck by the role music plays or has played for some of them.

Need some Theology with that Hymn, M’am?, by Carrie Zeman

Drive-by Caroling, by Julie Martindale

Christmas Joy, by Joni Eareckson Tada

Request for you: Please share with us music that speaks especially to your heart at Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Advent reading: Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Luke 2:1-7
Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.

 

In those days  a decree went out from  Caesar Augustus that all the world should be  registered.  2 This was the first  registration when  Quirinius  was governor of Syria.  3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  4 And Joseph also went up  from Galilee, from the town of  Nazareth, to Judea, to  the city of David, which is called  Bethlehem,  because he was of the house and lineage of David,  5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,  who was with child.  6 And  while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and  wrapped him in swaddling cloths and  laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in  the inn.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Advent reading: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Revelation 5:1-14
John reveals the glory of the completed work of Christ—the exalted Lamb of God.

 

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne  a scroll written within and on the back,  sealed with seven seals.  2 And  I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,  4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.  5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold,  the Lion  of the tribe of Judah,  the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6   And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw  a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with  seven eyes, which are  the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.  7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.  8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders  fell down before the Lamb,  each holding a harp, and  golden bowls full of incense,  which are the prayers of the saints.  9 And they sang  a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

for  you were slain, and by your blood  you ransomed people for God

from  every tribe and language and people and nation,

10 and you have made them  a kingdom and priests to our God,

and they shall reign on the earth.”

11   Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering  myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,  12 saying with a loud voice,  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”  13 And I heard  every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”  14 And the four living creatures  said, “Amen!” and the elders  fell down and worshiped.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Monday, December 19th, 2011

Advent reading: Monday, December 19, 2011

John 1:15-37
John unfolds the great mystery of the incarnation—the coming of the Lamb of God.

 

( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said,  ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)  16 And from  his fullness we have all received,  grace upon grace.  17 For  the law was given through Moses;  grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  18  No one has ever seen God;  the only God,  who is at the Father’s side,   he has made him known.

19   And this is the  testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him,  “Who are you?”  20  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  21 And they asked him, “What then?  Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you  the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”  22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  23 He said, “I am  the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight  the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24   (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)  25 They asked him,  “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  26 John answered them,  “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,  27 even  he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”  28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29   The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold,  the Lamb of God, who  takes away the sin  of the world!  30 This is he of whom I said,  ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  31 I myself did not know him, but  for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  32 And John  bore witness:  “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and  it remained on him.  33 I myself did not know him, but  he who sent me to baptize  with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain,  this is he who baptizes  with the Holy Spirit.’  34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,  36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold,  the Lamb of God!”  37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Advent reading: Sunday, December 18, 2011

John 1:1-14
John unfolds the great mystery of the incarnation—the coming of the Lamb of God.

 

In the beginning was  the Word, and  the Word was with God, and  the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God.  3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  4  In him was life,  and  the life was the light of men.  5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6   There was a man  sent from God, whose name was  John.  7 He came as a  witness, to bear witness about the light,  that all might believe through him.  8  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9    The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet  the world did not know him.  11 He came to  his own,  and  his own people   did not receive him.  12 But to all who did receive him,  who believed in his name,  he gave the right  to become  children of God,  13 who  were born,  not of blood  nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14  And  the Word  became flesh and  dwelt among us,  and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Advent reading: Saturday, December 17, 2011

Titus 2:11-3:7
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

 

For  the grace of God  has appeared, bringing salvation  for all people,  12 training us to renounce ungodliness and  worldly passions, and  to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in  the present age,  13  waiting for our blessed  hope, the  appearing of the glory of our great  God and Savior Jesus Christ,  14  who gave himself for us to  redeem us from all lawlessness and  to purify for himself  a people for his own possession who are  zealous for good works.

15   Declare these things; exhort and  rebuke with all authority.  Let no one disregard you.

3:1   Remind them  to be submissive to rulers and authorities,  to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  2  to speak evil of no one,  to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and  to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  3 For  we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  4 But when  the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  5 he saved us,  not because of works done by us in righteousness, but  according to his own mercy, by  the washing of regeneration and  renewal of the Holy Spirit,  6 whom he  poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  7 so that  being justified by his grace we might become  heirs  according to the hope of eternal life.

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(Daily Advent readings adapted from those originally compiled at Parish Presbyterian Church, references listed at this website .)

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