Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Daily Readings for SATURDAY, December 24

First Reading
Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Second Reading

Revelation 22:12-21
"See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come." And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

The Holy Gospel
Luke 1:67-80
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.

Morning Psalms
Psalm 45 Eructavit cor meum
1   My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2   You are the fairest of men; grace flows from your lips, because God has blessed you for ever.
3   Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, in your pride and in your majesty.
4   Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice.
5   Your right hand will show you marvelous things; your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
6   The peoples are falling at your feet, and the king's enemies are losing heart.
7   Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom; you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8   Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9   All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10   Kings' daughters stand among the ladies of the court; on your right hand is the queen, adorned with the gold of Ophir.
11   Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; forget your people and your father's house.
12   The king will have pleasure in your beauty; he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13   The people of Tyre are here with a gift; the rich among the people seek your favor."
14   All glorious is the princess as she enters; her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15   In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16   With joy and gladness they are brought, and enter into the palace of the king.
17   In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18   I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another; therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever."

Psalm 46 Deus noster refugium
1   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2   Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
3   Though its waters rage and foam, and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
4   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
5   There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
6   God is in the midst of her; she shall not be overthrown; God shall help her at the break of day.
7   The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
8   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
9   Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, what awesome things he has done on earth.
10   It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
11   Be still, then, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.
12   The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Evening Psalms
Psalm 89: Part I Misericordias Domini
1   Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2   For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3   I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4   'I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations.'"
5   The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
6   For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? who is like the LORD among the gods?
7   God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible to all those round about him.
8   Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
9   You rule the raging of the sea and still the surging of its waves.
10   You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11   Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
12   You have made the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
13   You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
14   Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; love and truth go before your face.
15   Happy are the people who know the festal shout! they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
16   They rejoice daily in your Name; they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17   For you are the glory of their strength, and by your favor our might is exalted.
18   Truly, the LORD is our ruler; The Holy One of Israel is our King.

Psalm 89: Part II Tunc locutus es
19   You spoke once in vision and said to your faithful people: "I have set the crown upon a warrior and have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20   I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.
21   My hand will hold him fast and my arm will make him strong.
22   No enemy shall deceive him, nor any wicked man bring him down.
23   I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24   My faithfulness and love shall be with him, and he shall be victorious through my Name.
25   I shall make his dominion extend from the Great Sea to the River.
26   He will say to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.'
27   I will make him my firstborn and higher than the kings of the earth.
28   I will keep my love for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29   I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of heaven."

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Verse of the Day - December 24, 2016

Luke 2:16-20 (NIV) So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Read all of Luke 2

Lucas 2:16-20 (NVI) Así que fueron de prisa y encontraron a María y a José, y al niño que estaba acostado en el pesebre. Cuando vieron al niño, contaron lo que les habían dicho acerca de él, y cuantos lo oyeron se asombraron de lo que los pastores decían. María, por su parte, guardaba todas estas cosas en su corazón y meditaba acerca de ellas. Los pastores regresaron glorificando y alabando a Dios por lo que habían visto y oído, pues todo sucedió tal como se les había dicho.

Leer todo sobre Lucas 2

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Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - "God Is with You"

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

Maybe you are having a difficult time this Christmas. Maybe your marriage has fallen apart and you are alone. Let me tell you something: God is with you. Maybe your kids have forgotten about you this year. Jesus hasn't forgotten about you. His name is Immanuel, which means "God with us." Maybe your parents have forgotten about you. But God your Father has not forgotten about you.

Christmas is about undoing loneliness. Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). From the original language, it literally could read something like this: "I will never, no never, no never leave you or forsake you." He is going to be with you in the happy days. He is going to be with you in the sad days. He is going to be with you on the hard days. He will be with you through all of your days. Then He will be waiting for you on the other side to welcome you into glory. You don't have to be afraid, because God is with you.

Sometimes people have asked me, "How do you get through the holidays if you have lost a loved one? Is there some book I can read?" My answer is that you don't need a manual; you need Immanuel. You need to know that God is there. You need to lean into Him. That is the essential message of this holiday season: that God came near.

What we are longing for, deep down inside, is not Christmas, but Christ; not merriment, but the Messiah; not goodwill, but God; not presents, but His presence in our lives. Anyone or anything short of that will disappoint.

That is what this season all about. It is about Immanuel, God is with us. He is here for you.

In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny

Un Dia a la Vez - Nochebuena

Jesús les habló, diciendo: Yo soy la luz del mundo; el que me sigue, no andará en tinieblas, sino que tendrá la luz de la vida. Juan 8:12, RV-60

Para muchos, hoy estamos de fiesta, ya que se prepara la celebración de la llegada del Salvador a la tierra.

El nacimiento del niño Jesús es el cumplimiento de la Palabra de Dios. Por décadas, esta verdadera celebración se ha tratado de opacar con el comercio, las fiestas y muchas otras cosas. Y esto no cambiará.

Yo celebro también la Navidad con mis princesas, mi esposo y mi familia, pero hay un tiempo que es precioso. Siempre tenemos un momento especial de oración donde ponemos nuestra vida en las manos de Dios. Además, cada uno le damos gracias por las cosas que Él ha hecho y por ese regalo hermoso que podemos compartir con otros, al revelarles esta verdad que les traerá salvación y vida eterna.

Si Jesús vino para cambiar el mundo, aprovechemos esta ocasión para también nosotros nacer de nuevo. Hablo desde el punto de vista espiritual. Así que, no luches más y entrégale tu vida a Dios para que Él pueda cumplir su propósito en ti. De esa manera, logrará ser una mejor persona.

Recuerda, la Navidad no es solo fiestas y regalos. Por eso el mejor regalo que le puedes dar a tu familia es tu cambio. Sin duda, esto producirá un deseo en ellos por conocer lo que te hizo cambiar y la gloria será para Dios.


“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Chinese evangelist, Brother Xi, was travelling one very cold Christmas Eve in the rugged province of Gansu. As he came to the next village he sensed something was wrong. He introduced himself as a bearer of good news. A small man interrupted, “Well we have only bad news here right now. A couple has just had their baby stolen.” In the poorer areas of China, where couples are restricted to one child, it is not uncommon to have child snatching, even stealing babies for wealthy childless couples in the cities.

He stepped inside the house to find both husband and wife staring quietly at him. The couple’s grief hung heavy in the air. He said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your plight, but I know someone who may help...God. Let me pray to Him.”

There was no reaction on the couple’s faces, so he went into prayer, feeling very uncomfortable indeed. “Dear Father, many years ago at this same time of year you sent a child into the world and rescued us all; we ask today that you will send back this child to us, and deliver this village from the sadness which grips it, Amen.”

Suddenly the young husband spoke, “Shut up and go away. We have prayed to our gods and nothing has happened. Why should yours be any different?” He was grabbed from behind by the other villagers and propelled out of the village. “Don't you dare come here again!” they bawled.

He wandered the hills in a daze of humiliation, tears, and crying to God. Then he thought l went to that village expecting a hero’s welcome, or at the very least, I relied on being a curiosity, quizzed and entertained by people who live very dull and isolated lives. Instead, I had only been treated a little like Christ was treated.

Kneeling there in the snow, he knew what he had to do—go back to that village, knowing for sure he would be despised. This was to follow in the Master’s footsteps. With a pounding heart he turned and began to walk slowly back towards the village. Suddenly, across the still late afternoon air, he heard a baby’s cry coming from what appeared to be an old well shaft.

Sure enough six feet down was a little baby, wrapped in a thick blanket, lying at the bottom of the dry-well. He climbed down to hug some warmth back into it. It was a baby girl. Those who snatched it did not know it was a girl, and finding later that it was, left it in this old well to die.

He walked back to the village with the precious bundle of life. The villagers came running. They were amazed and overjoyed as they led him to the cottage of the poor couple, and the smile on the mother’s face as he placed her baby into her lap was unforgettable. “Come, warm yourself by the fire” said the husband. They drew up a chair for him, and as the other villagers crowded round, he asked, “Who was that God you prayed to?”

What an invitation. Here he was, the honored guest, looking at thirty eager people, waiting with bated breath to hear the Gospel. “Well,” he began, “He came to earth in the form of a little baby, just about this time 2000 years ago...”

RESPONSE: Today I will praise God that He is truly in control and can work out all situations for good.

PRAYER: Thank God today for the coming of His Son to earth in humble yet powerful glory!

NIV Devotions for Couples - Who Influences Us?

2 Chronicles 24:1–25

Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years of Jehoiada the priest.
2 Chronicles 24:2

Think about how other people have influenced your life. One couple I know, Brett and Kayla, were profoundly influenced by others. Brett had played multiple sports in high school and enjoyed a wonderful mentoring relationship with one of his coaches. But after he started playing sports in college, he found that it wasn’t the game he cared about as much as it was his former coach, and he ended up dropping out of athletics. Similarly, Kayla became active in her church’s women’s ministries because of the great lessons she had learned from the women’s leader in her previous church.

Influence is powerful. We often want to emulate good leaders and follow their examples. The high priest Jehoiada was a great influence on little King Joash, who was only seven years old when he became king. Joash needed some help ruling the kingdom, and Jehoiada stepped up as his helper and adviser. He chose two wives for Joash and helped Joash restore the temple in Jerusalem and resume worship of the Lord there.

Joash was heavily influenced by others—first by Jehoiada, who led him in the ways of God, and then, after Jehoiada died, by the officials of Judah, who abandoned God and worshiped other gods. When Jehoiada’s son Zechariah spoke out against idol worship, warning the king and his people that God would forsake them because they had forsaken God, Joash and his leaders had Zechariah stoned to death.

Like Joash, we have people who have had a major impact on our lives, and we feel lost when they are no longer with us. We may even think that we need others to step in to fill that gap. But like Joash, depending too much on others can prevent us from learning to make critical decisions in our lives.

The best role of a parent, mentor, teacher or pastor is that of helping others to learn how to think for themselves. If Jehoiada had taught Joash to think for himself, the story of this king might have had a different ending. Instead of being led by others, Joash might have been a strong, decisive king who set before the people a lifelong pattern of trusting God for guidance and direction.

My friends James and Elaine relied on the leadership and guidance of key people until they were in a couples’ group at church. The rule in that group was that everyone was expected to think about and discuss key issues and situations. The group then asked everyone to take one more step: Each couple was expected to reach their own conclusion on an issue, based on Scriptural guidelines, and explain to the group how they had come to that decision.

Learning and practicing that kind of decision making changed their marriage forever as James and Elaine learned how to think for themselves. Reaching their own conclusions on various issues became a lifelong pattern of learning God’s lessons without leaning on others to do it for them.

John R. Throop

Let’s Talk
  • Who has greatly influenced our lives? Did they teach us mostly what to think or how to think? Describe their approaches.
  • How are leaders or role models helpful for us? How can they be negative influences? How can we turn negative influences into positive results?
  • What are some good ways for us to blend the positive influences of others into our lives? How can their lessons shape our faith and our values?

LHM Daily Devotion - "In the Elements"

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 (Luke 2:7, ESV).

Read Luke 2:6-7.

On Christmas Eve my thoughts goes back to a "live" nativity when I was a teenager. I was dressed as a wise man, and it was freezing cold. Each of us stood shivering and shaking, waiting for our shift to end, so we could thaw out our aching toes and wrap our frozen fingers around a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

We don't know what time of year Jesus was born. But whatever time of year it was, Joseph and Mary had to lay their Child where no one would ever want to put a newborn -- out in the elements, with only a crude shelter for His protection.

Do you have a manger scene in your front yard? If so, spend a few minutes there tonight. Jesus willingly left His glorious throne in heaven to share the chill of nighttime and the grinding heat of the summer sun. He experienced our hunger and thirst, sleepless nights, and long difficult days.

But more than any of us, He experienced a crown of thorns, a brutal whip across His back, and nails driven into His hands and feet. He took our sins on Himself and felt the full weight of God's wrath, so one day we will live forever in God's presence where, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat" (Revelation 7:16).

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You left the comforts of heaven to share the difficulties of our life. Through Your suffering and death in our place, You opened heaven to us. Fill our hearts with joy this Christmas and every day until we stand with You in paradise. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).

Devociones de Adviento - Una navidad con gracia

 Tito 2:11-14

Porque la gracia de Dios se ha manifestado para salvación de todos los hombres. (Tito 2:11, RVC)

Como la luz en un sitio oscuro. Como la lluvia sobre un terreno reseco. Como el aroma del mejor perfume en un ambiente viciado. Como todo lo que refresca, revitaliza y renueva. Así es la gracia de Dios. Esa gracia nos revela el corazón de Dios. En ella brilla la buena voluntad del Creador para con nosotros.

Esta noche es Nochebuena. Nos hemos preparado para este momento. Esta tiene que ser una noche diferente, porque Dios permite que así sea. Sí, ¡porque la gracia de Dios se ha manifestado para salvación de todos los hombres!

Tu navidad puede ser una navidad con gracia. Para muchos, lamentablemente, no lo es. Por falta de medios, por exceso de dificultades, pero sobre todo por falta de fe. Quizás sea una navidad de abundancia, de consumo, de luces, pero no una navidad con gracia. ¿Cómo será tu navidad? ¿Vas a tener mucho, pero con sabor a nada? La gracia de Dios se ha manifestado en su Hijo, en ese niño preparado desde la eternidad, prometido en el Edén y nacido en Belén. Nuestra navidad sólo será una verdadera navidad si tenemos a Jesús, su palabra, su presencia, su iglesia. ¿Lo hemos buscado?

Sólo en Jesús vamos a encontrar la gracia de Dios que trae consigo el poder salvador. Ese poder es el único que nos salva de la impiedad y de los deseos mundanos, y nos da fuerza para vivir de manera sobria, justa, piadosa y con esperanza. Abracemos, entonces, con arrepentimiento y fe al niño que Dios nos regala, y vivamos esta navidad, y cada día de nuestras vidas, con gracia.

Padre de gracia y misericordia: te agradecemos y alabamos por darnos a tu Hijo. Gracias porque en Él tenemos salvación, esperanza y paz. En su nombre. Amén.

© Copyright 2016 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones

Our Daily Bread - Christmas in Captivity

Read: Isaiah 9:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Habakkuk 1–3; Revelation 15

On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Rev. Martin Niemoller, a prominent German pastor, spent nearly eight years in Nazi concentration camps because he openly opposed Hitler. On Christmas Eve 1944, Niemoller spoke these words of hope to his fellow prisoners in Dachau:  “My dear friends, on this Christmas . . . let us seek, in the Babe of Bethlehem, the One who came to us in order to bear with us everything that weighs heavily upon us. . . . God Himself has built a bridge from Himself to us! A dawn from on high has visited us!”

At Christmas we embrace the good news that God, in Christ, has come to us wherever we are and has bridged the gap between us. He invades our prison of darkness with His light and lifts the load of sorrow, guilt, or loneliness that weighs us down.

On that bleak Christmas Eve in prison, Niemoller shared this good news:  “Out of the brilliance that surrounded the shepherds a shining ray will fall into our darkness.” His words remind us of the prophet Isaiah, who prophetically said, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isa. 9:2).

No matter where today finds us, Jesus has penetrated our dark world with His joy and light!

Lord Jesus, we find hope and strength in knowing that Your light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The joy of Christmas is Jesus.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Navidad en cautiverio

Leer: Isaías 9:1-7 | La Biblia en un año: Apocalipsis 15

… los que moraban en tierra de sombra de muerte, luz resplandeció sobre ellos (Isaías 9:2).

Martin Niemoller, un destacado pastor alemán, pasó casi ocho años en campos de concentración nazis porque se oponía abiertamente a Hitler. La víspera de Navidad de 1944, compartió estas palabras de esperanza con sus compañeros de prisión en Dachau: «Mis queridos amigos, esta Navidad […] busquemos en el Bebé de Belén a Aquel que vino para soportar con nosotros todas las cargas que nos abruman […]. ¡Dios mismo construyó un puente hacia nosotros! ¡Un amanecer de lo alto nos ha visitado!».

En Navidad, recordamos la buena noticia de que Dios, en Cristo, nos busca donde estemos y cierra la brecha que nos separa de Él. Inunda de luz nuestras prisiones de oscuridad y levanta la carga de tristeza, culpa o soledad que nos agobia.

Aquella Nochebuena en la cárcel, Niemoller compartió esta buena noticia: «Del resplandor que rodeó a los pastores, un rayo brillante caerá en nuestra oscuridad». Sus palabras nos recuerdan al profeta Isaías: «El pueblo que andaba en tinieblas vio gran luz; los que moraban en tierra de sombra de muerte, luz resplandeció sobre ellos» (9:2).

Independientemente de dónde te encuentres hoy, ¡Jesús ha penetrado nuestro mundo oscuro con su gozo y su luz!

Señor Jesús, saber que tu luz brilla en la oscuridad y prevalece sobre ella nos da esperanza y fuerzas.

El gozo de la Navidad es Jesús.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - Weihnacht in Gefangenschaft

Lesen: Jesaja 9,1-7 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Habakuk 1–3; Offenbarung 15

Über denen, die da wohnen im finstern Lande, scheint es hell. (Jesaja 9,1)

Pfarrer Martin Niemöller verbrachte fast acht Jahre im Konzentrationslager, weil er am Widerstand gegen Hitler beteiligt war. Am Heiligabend 1944 sprach er den Mitgefangenen in Dachau Worte der Hoffnung zu: „Meine lieben Freunde, lasst uns diese Weihnachten im Kind von Bethlehem den Einen suchen, der zu uns kam, um alles mit uns zu tragen, was schwer auf uns lastet . . . Gott selbst hat die Brücke von sich zu uns gebaut! Das Licht aus der Höhe hat uns besucht!“

An Weihnachten hören wir die frohe Botschaft, dass Gott in Christus zu uns gekommen ist, wo wir auch sind, und die Kluft zwischen uns überbrückt hat. Er erfüllt unser finsteres Gefängnis mit seinem Licht und nimmt die Last von Trauer, Schuld oder Einsamkeit, die uns niederdrückt.

An jenem trostlosen Heiligabend im Lager verkündete Niemöller die gute Nachricht: „Aus der Klarheit, die die Hirten umleuchtete, fällt ein Strahl auch in unsere Dunkelheit.“ Seine Worte erinnern uns an den Prophet Jesaja, der bereits voraussagte: „Das Volk, das im Finstern wandelt, sieht ein großes Licht, und über denen, die da wohnen im finstern Lande, scheint es hell“ (Jes. 9,1).

Egal, wo wir heute sind, Jesus ist mit seinem Licht und seiner Freude in unsere dunkle Welt gekommen!

Herr Jesus, dein Licht scheint in der Finsternis und die Finsternis hat es nicht bezwungen. Das gibt uns Hoffnung und Kraft.

Wahre Weihnachtsfreude finden wir in Jesus.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Рождество в концлагере

Читать сейчас: Исаия 9:1-7 | Библия за год: Аввакума 1-3; Откровение 15

На живущих в стране тени смертной свет воссияет. — Исаия 9:2

Преподобный Мартин Нимоллер, выдающийся немецкий пастор, провел почти восемь лет в концлагере за то, что открыто высказывался против Гитлера. Рождественским вечером 1944 г. Нимоллер поделился с другими заключенными Дахау словами надежды: «Дорогие друзья. В эти рождественские дни будем видеть в Младенце Вифлеема Того, Кто пришел к нам, чтобы понести вместе с нами все, что тяжелым грузом обременяет нас... Сам Бог проложил мост от Себя к нам. Восток свыше посетил нас!»

На Рождество мы вспоминаем Благую весть: Бог во Христе пришел к нам, где бы мы ни были, и устранил лежащую между нами преграду. Он принес в нашу мрачную темницу Свой свет и снял бремя скорби, вины и одиночества, клонившее нас к земле.

В сумраке рождественского вечера Нимоллер возвестил Благую весть: «Из сияния славы, озарившей пастухов, яркий луч проникнет в нашу тьму». Его слова напоминают пророчество Исаии, гласящее: «Народ, ходящий во тьме, увидит свет великий; на живущих в стране тени смертной свет воссияет» (Ис. 9:2).

Неважно, где мы находимся. Иисус пронзает тьму нашего мира светом и радостью!

Господь Иисус, мы обретаем надежду и силу, вспоминая, что Твой свет сияет во тьме, и тьма не объяла его.

Радость Рождества – в Иисусе Христе.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Noël en captivité

Lisez : Ésaïe 8.23 – 9.6 | La Bible en un an : Habakuk 1 – 3 et Apocalypse 15

Le peuple qui marchait dans les ténèbres voit une grande lumière. (Ésaïe 9.1)

Le révérend Martin Niemöller, un éminent pasteur allemand, a passé près de huit ans dans des camps de concentration nazis pour s’être ouvertement opposé à Hitler. Or, la veille de Noël 1944, Niemöller a prononcé les paroles d’espoir suivantes à ses compagnons de captivité à Dachau : « Chers amis, ce Noël… cherchons chez l’Enfant de Bethléhem qui est venu jusqu’à nous pour nous aider à porter tout ce qui nous accable. […] Dieu a lui‑même bâti un pont entre nous et lui ! Une aube céleste est descendue nous baigner de lumière ! »

À Noël, nous accueillons la bonne nouvelle selon laquelle Dieu, en la personne de Christ, vient à nous où que nous soyons et comble l’écart entre lui et nous. Il envahit de sa lumière notre prison ténébreuse et nous délivre du fardeau écrasant de la tristesse, de la culpabilité et de la solitude.

Par cette lugubre veille de Noël en prison, Niemöller a propagé cette bonne nouvelle : « De la lumière éclatante qui entourait les bergers, un rayon viendra illuminer nos ténèbres. » Ses paroles nous rappellent d’ailleurs celles du prophète Ésaïe : « Le peuple qui marchait dans les ténèbres voit une grande lumière ; sur ceux qui habitaient le pays de l’ombre de la mort une lumière resplendit » (ÉS 9.2).

Peu importe où Dieu nous trouve, Jésus a pénétré notre monde ténébreux de sa joie et de sa lumière !

La joie de Noël, c’est Jésus.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ