Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, December 3, 2017 - 1st Sunday in Advent

Peace, by William Strutt, ca. 1875
Daily Readings

Opening Sentence
Watch, for you know not when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning; lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
~ Mark 13:35, 36

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
God is light; in him there in no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and son not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
~ John 1:5b-8

Most holy and merciful Father, We confess to you and to one another, that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father; And free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen

Sunday Morning Prayer
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.

Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always, Amen


The Lessons

Isaiah 64:1-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence-- as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil-- to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-18
1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2   In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and come to help us.
3   Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4   O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7   Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
17   And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18   Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind-- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you-- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mark 13:24-37
"But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."


Here ends the Readings


Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Prayer of the Day
Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen


Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer
May we go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May we follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help us and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come. Amen

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen
~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

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.

"Keep Awake!" Sermon for SUNDAY, December 3, 2017 - 1st Sunday in Advent


"But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."
~ Mark 13:24-37


"Keep Awake!"


Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen

A time of celebration is at hand – Today starts a new year! “But”, I hear you say, “hang on a second Cap'n! It isn’t January 1st yet, it’s December 3rd!” Ah, true it is, but just the same, a new year begins today! The Church’s new year, that is. Today it’s the first Sunday in Advent, and the season of Advent begins the Church year. The traditional liturgical color for Advent (like that of Lent) is … Purple. Advent (like Lent) traditionally being a season of reflection, repentance (and sorrow), but also of preparation, waiting, anticipation and longing.

Yes, Advent is the season when we reflect upon our readiness (or lack of it!) to welcome Jesus; when we, as Christian people, prepare, wait for, anticipate and long for his coming – which we celebrate each year at Christmas. Our Gospel verses today, this first Sunday of Advent, aid us in our weeks of reflection and preparation, waiting and preparation prior to Christmas, as we strive for personal spiritual renewal (as we prepare to be ready to welcome Jesus into our lives afresh) on that ‘Joyful Morning’.

Indeed, Jesus prefaces his parable with a statement of the reality of what it means to harbor the deepest longing and anticipation common to every Christian’s heart, waiting for his coming. Yet, he knows of the impatience of the human spirit, how easily we give up, when we’re waiting – and waiting – and waiting … and nothing seems to happen. Jesus says, “Take heed, watch, for you do not know when the time will come.” He tells us to be watchful, he tells us to wait, he tells us to be hopeful, he tells us to anticipate his return. Then he begins his story.

It’s a short story, which he begins with a familiar three words – “It is like”. When Jesus uses an introduction like this, we know that he is about to invite those that hear his words to make a parallel between the all-too familiar everyday life, and the deep mysteries (yet realities) of faith. The familiar, everyday life-situation is that a man leaves his house to go on a journey. He’s evidently rather a wealthy man since he has a number of servants. Before his departure he instructs each of them in their duties – some to make sure the house is kept neat and tidy and in good repair. And he instructs the doorkeeper to keep watch so that the door may be opened for him, the master of the house, on his return home.

The servants are to be vigilant in their duties. Even though they don’t know when the master will return (perhaps the master doesn’t either? Matt 24:36) there’s no slacking allowed! No sense in which the servants can say, ‘The master surely won’t be home today, so let’s just have fun, be lazy: no matter about the dusting, the cleaning, the disposal of the household garbage. No reason to keep watch, no reason to be ready to welcome the master home today. We’ll begin our preparations again, our watching, tomorrow!’ But tomorrow never comes, does it! And so the house gets more and more cluttered and dusty, the door’s hinges become rusty and difficult to open. The servants become lazy; sharp-sightedness becomes impaired through lack of practice.

How much like these servants we can be, in our lives of faith! How like that house our spiritual lives can become – full of clutter, dusty, unkempt! How like that door our spiritual lives can become, difficult to open! How un-prepared we can be for the Master’s return! What lack of vision we can suffer from when we do not anticipate, when we cease to hope for, the Master’s return!

Advent is a time for ‘putting our spiritual house in order’. By examining our life’s priorities, what’s important to us and our loved-ones, through the spiritual discipline of prayer and reflection on Jesus’ word, we can empty our house of the clutter that hinders our readiness to welcome Jesus, the Master, into our lives. How about the clutter of our desire for material things – the new car, the latest computer games, the newest cell-phone … all the things that adverts on TV try to convince us will make our Christmas complete! SWEEP THOSE DESIRES AWAY! How about the clutter of our desire to buy all the food and drink (so much of which gets thrown away) without which, TV adverts try to convince us, Christmas will be so disappointing! SWEEP THOSE DESIRES AWAY! Now I’m no ‘humbug’, and I enjoy celebrating Christmas as much as any other Christian. But what’s Christmas all about? That’s the question. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus. And the most important thing is that we need to be sure we’re ready to welcome him again, whenever he ‘comes home’ to dwell with(in) us.

Watch, therefore, for we do not know when the Master will come. Will it be in the evening? Will it be at midnight? Will it be at dawn, or later in the morning? We don’t know – but we must be found alert, vigilant and welcoming. We must not be found to be asleep.

‘Asleep’ means ‘unprepared’. And it means to be indifferent and unconcerned about being unprepared. As Jesus cautioned his disciples then, so he alerts us to the fact that we too must be ready – or we’ll be in danger of missing his promised arrival altogether!

Yes, Jesus’ arrival is an event that is a promised reality. We do not know when (or how) the Master of our house will come, but we are offered glimpses of this mystery in Scripture.

In Luke’s Book of Acts 1:11 we read, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” In John 14:3 Jesus says, “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus is coming again, of that we can be sure – like the master of that house – but when (or how) he will return, that’s a mystery! In Matthew 24:44 Jesus says, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. A few verses before he says, “Of that hour and that day no one knows, only the Father in heaven”. So, what does it mean to be ready? It means clearing our ‘spiritual house’ of ‘every-day’ (worldly) clutter so we can be alert and, ultimately, to welcome the Master. I’m not suggesting that Jesus will return at Christmas (we don’t know when!), simply that Advent gives us an opportunity to make ready. And, perhaps above all, it means being patient as we wait and not giving-up. Like the old gardener in the following.

There is a story about a tourist traveling along the shores of Lake Como in Northern Italy. When he reached a castle called Villa Arconti a friendly old gardener saw him peering through the gates, and opening them, invited the tourist inside. There the tourist saw the most spectacular gardens he had seen in a long while, gardens that the old gardener kept in perfect order. The tourist asked the old gardener whether the owner of the castle was in residence. “No” he replied, “He hasn’t been here at all for the last ten years.” “Does he ever write to you?” the tourist asked. “No.” “From whom do you get your instructions?” asked the tourist. “From his agent” was the reply. The tourist pursued his questions: “Does his agent come here?” The answer was in the negative. “Who DOES come here then?” asked the tourist. “I’m almost always alone, apart from the occasional tourist like yourself” replied the old gardener. In amazement the tourist exclaimed, “Yet you keep this garden looking immaculate, just as though you expect the owner to arrive home tomorrow!” “No, not tomorrow - TODAY, sir, TODAY!” replied the old gardener.

Jesus is coming again. Yet are we waiting for his coming only at the end of time – or do we also sense his presence among us today?

For Jesus still comes to us through his Word as, throughout the Church, we listen for him through the Gospels. We know Jesus’ presence through his Church, through you and me and all faithful people, as we become his servants, to and with one another. But all the same we called to be watchful, to patiently wait, and to prepare for Jesus’ arrival. Through our meditations on the Word of God, made known through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, may our Advent preparation enable us to be found ‘awake’, prepared and welcoming when Jesus returns. Amen
Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen

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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.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, December 3, 2017 - 1st Sunday in Advent


Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, December 3, 2017 - 1st Sunday in Advent


Mark 13:33 (NIV) Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

Read all of Mark 13

Listen to Mark 13

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Just Checking In Today

A Minister passing through his church
In the middle of the day,
Decided to pause by the altar
To see who come to pray.
Just then the back door opened,
And a man came down the aisle,
The minister frowned as he saw the man
Hadn't shaved in a while.
His shirt was torn and shabby,
And his coat was worn and frayed,
The man knelt down and bowed his head,
Then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed at precisely noon,
The preacher saw this chap,
Each time he knelt just for a moment,
A lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister's suspicions grew,
With robbery a main fear,

He decided to stop and ask the man,
'What are you doing here?'
The old man said he was a factory worker
And lunch was half an hour
Lunchtime was his prayer time,
For finding strength and power.
I stay only a moment
Because the factory's far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord,
This is kinda what I say:

'I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, LORD,
HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP
AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,
BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS BEN,
JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.'

The minister feeling foolish,
Told Ben that it was fine.
He told the man that he was welcome
To pray there anytime.
'It's time to go, and thanks,' Ben said
As he hurried to the door.
Then the minister knelt there at the altar,
Which he'd never done before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love,
As he met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed down his cheeks,
He repeated old Ben's prayer:

'I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, LORD,
HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP
AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,
BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME,
JUST CHECKING IN TODAY.'

Past noon one day, the minister noticed
That old Ben hadn't come.
As more days passed and still no Ben,
He began to worry some.
At the factory, he asked about him,
Learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried,
But he'd given them a thrill.

The week that Ben was with them,
Brought changes in the ward.
His smiles and joy contagious.
Changed people were his reward.
The head nurse couldn't understand
Why Ben could be so glad,
When no flowers, calls or cards came,
Not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed,
He voiced the nurse's concern:
No friends had come to show they cared.
He had nowhere to turn.
Looking surprised, old Ben spoke up
And with a winsome smile;
'The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know,
He's been here all the while.'
Everyday at noon He comes here,
A dear friend of mine, you see,
He sits right down and takes my hand,
Leans over and says to me:

'I JUST CAME BY TO TELL YOU, BEN,
HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP,
AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN .
I THINK ABOUT YOU ALWAYS
AND I LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,
AND SO BEN, THIS IS JESUS,
JUST CHECKING IN TODAY .'

If this blesses you, pass it on. Many people
will walk in and out of your life, but only
true friends will leave footprints in your
heart.

May God hold you in the palm of His hand
And Angels watch over you..
Please pass this page on to your friends
& loved ones. If you aren't ashamed.
Jesus said, ' If you are ashamed of me,'
I will be ashamed Of you before my Father.'

If you are not ashamed, pass this on.
So, FRIEND, this is ME ...
"Just Checking In Today"

Un Dia a la Vez - Necesitamos cambiar


Necesitamos cambiar

Dichosos los que guardan sus estatutos y de todo corazón lo buscan. Jamás hacen nada malo, sino que siguen los caminos de Dios.
~ Salmo 119:2-3 (NVI)

Estamos viendo en estos días la necesidad que tenemos de rendir a Dios las actitudes, los pensamientos y los comportamientos a fin de tener libertad y bendición.

El Señor tuvo que quebrantarme en muchas esferas de mi vida con el propósito de hacerlas nuevas. Por ejemplo, el espíritu de infidelidad. Esto no significa que fuera una mujer así toda la vida. Sin embargo, mis continuos problemas emocionales y mis malas relaciones con mis ex esposos me llevaron a cometer terribles errores como un intento de aborto en mi juventud antes de conocer a Jesús. Aun conociendo a mi Dios, llegué a perderlo todo un día, y de una relación fuera del matrimonio nació mi tercera princesa.

Han sido muchas mis caídas y las consecuencias terribles. Solo por la misericordia de Dios volví a ganar credibilidad hasta con mis propias hijas, recuperar mi trabajo en la radio y, sobre todo, volver a ser feliz.

Dios me concedió los recursos para forjar una nueva vida que me tomó años de obediencia, de guardarme y dedicarme solo a mis hijas y al ministerio, además de cumplir pactos muy serios y radicales con Él.

Asimismo, tuve que reconocer que estaba enferma emocionalmente, y que si no cambiaba, seguiría perdiendo a las personas que amaba.

Por eso, mi amigo, te invito a que lleves cautiva tu vida a Jesús. Él es el único que te puede ayudar a hacer cambios para siempre y ser feliz.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - MINISTRY FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


MINISTRY FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

…to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Another function of the church is ministry. As Christians we need to be aware of the spiritual needs of others and sensitively seek to help them at every opportunity—both fellow-believers and non-believers. A word of encouragement or a small act of kindness may be the deciding factor in whether or not a struggling friend is able to stand against the enemy.

In a tribal area of northeast India, the poor Christians of one tribe made great sacrifices and took great risks to aid and encourage the new believers in another tribe after their leader, his wife and ten-year-old daughter were killed for their witness.

Ministry is demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs and healing their hurts in the name of Jesus. Each time you reach out in love to others you are ministering to them. The church is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry.

A co-worker and his family were visiting in the southern part of the Ukraine. As they entered the hotel after a tiring day in the streets, their daughter came sobbing into their room. “I saw a man today begging for money. He had no legs and was sitting on a skateboard. He looked so poor and lonely.” The tears rolled down her cheeks. She truly felt compassion for a sight that they didn’t even notice.

“I think Jesus wants us to give him a Bible when we see him again,” she commented after they prayed together.

The following morning early, as they started their journey through the streets of Odessa, it wasn’t long before she saw him. They knew that there was a certain amount of risk involved in handing out Bibles in the streets and thus didn’t want to make it too obvious. He opened the Bible and slowly started paging through it. He reached down and took all the money in the handkerchief next to him and offered it to them.

They suddenly realized that he must be under the impression that they were selling the Bible on the black market and therefore the offer of all his savings. “Nyet, gift, gift,” and they pushed back his hand with the money. He took the Bible, pressed it against his chest and then tears started rolling down his cheeks. He opened the Bible spending several minutes reading and paging through a book that he had obviously heard about but had never seen. They left him with hearts overflowing with gratitude.

Jesus made ministry so simple. It can be as easy as offering a thirsty person a glass of water in His name!

RESPONSE: Today I will look for opportunities to minister to needy hearts in Jesus’ name.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I ask You to show me today those to whom I can minister in Your name.

LHM Daily Devotion - December 3, 2017 "START AT THE START"


Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/lhmdevotions/dailydevotions/devo_112917.mp3

"START AT THE START"

December 3, 2017

TEXT: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

"Begin at the beginning," says the king in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "and go on till you come to the end; then stop." The Gospel writer Matthew follows this advice, starting his story with Jesus' ancestors. This week we'll look at several of them.

Top of the heap are the two Matthew mentions in the first verse: David and Abraham. David was the shepherd boy God made into a great king of Israel; Abraham was the childless old man God transformed into the ancestor of all Israel. Neither were much to look at in the beginning; what mattered was what God did with them.

And that's what matters with us, too, isn't it? We are not much to look at, most of us. But we are the people God has chosen to be His own through faith in Jesus Christ. We are the ones He has given new life to, in Baptism. And He is even now transforming us into the people of God He decided to make us way back before the world began.

There's another reason David and Abraham belong here, at the head of Jesus' genealogy. They both received the same promise from God-that God's own Son would be born as a human baby into their family line.

Both Abraham and David held on to God's promise with all their might. They understood that this was the best news God could give them-that a Savior was coming who would rescue the whole world from the power of evil and death. They didn't have much detail about it yet. But they trusted God to keep that promise, and they looked forward to it and taught their families to wait for the promise to be kept.

Now we rejoice because that promise has been fulfilled. Jesus our Savior has come, born as a baby in Bethlehem! Thanks be to God!

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for keeping Your promise to Abraham and David, and sending Jesus into the world to be our Savior. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
"Begin at the beginning," says the king in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...