Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 2nd Sunday after Christmas—12th Day of Christmas

Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:[1-9] 10-18

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 2nd Sunday after Christmas
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

…And the Word became flesh and lived among us…
Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:[1-9] 10-18

Opening Statement
For so long God has hoped for a righteous leader, And we have seen visions and dreamed dreams. We have waited for one who would share God's spirit—Who would judge the fearful with righteousness and the poor with justice; Who would show compassion to the weak and mercy to the condemned; Who would break down the walls dividing the peoples, that all on earth might follow a star. For so long have we seen the visions; for so long have the dreams been dreamed. But now the vision has found its life, arid the dream has come to pass—Here is the One for whom we have waited! Let us open our treasures and offer our gifts: our hearts, our souls, our minds!


The Word Became Flesh

Opening Prayer
O Christ, pass through the doors of heaven into our presence. You were not created by the Most High to recline upon the clouds in the company of angels. You were fashioned to make your home among the creatures of God. God has chosen the place where you shall erect your tent. There we shall meet you. And where you go we shall go, and where you lodge we shall lodge. Your people shall be our people; your God, our God. Amen.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
All-glorious God, we have faith in Jesus Christ, and love towards your people, yet we are not without blemish in your sight, not full of love, wisdom, and other spiritual blessings you still have available for us. Our love is not as inclusive as yours, and there is much we need to learn. Give us clearer vision of all that we are meant to be, so that by becoming fulfilled, we may increase the glory that is properly revealed in Jesus Christ, your beloved. Amen.

Declaration of Pardon
Friends, hear the Good News! The liberator has come to free us from all proud pretenses. The Christ has come in Jesus of Nazareth to show us the undeserved favor of God.  Believe the Good News! In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you have filled all the earth with the light of your incarnate Word.  By your grace empower us to reflect your light in all that we do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


First Reading
31:7 This is what the Lord says:

   “Sing with joy for Jacob;
     shout for the foremost of the nations.
   Make your praises heard, and say,
     ‘Lord, save your people,
     the remnant of Israel.’
8  See, I will bring them from the land of the north
     and gather them from the ends of the earth.
   Among them will be the blind and the lame,
     expectant mothers and women in labor;
     a great throng will return.
9  They will come with weeping;
     they will pray as I bring them back.
   I will lead them beside streams of water
     on a level path where they will not stumble,
   because I am Israel’s father,
     and Ephraim is my firstborn son.

10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations;
     proclaim it in distant coastlands:
   ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them
     and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob
     and redeem them from the hand of those stronger
         than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
     they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—
   the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
     the young of the flocks and herds.
   They will be like a well-watered garden,
     and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
     young men and old as well.
   I will turn their mourning into gladness;
     I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
     and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
   declares the Lord.


12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

   Praise the Lord.


Second Reading
1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Alleluia. (Ps. 98:3)


The Gospel
[1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 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 testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.]

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Praise & Prayer Word Became Flesh

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 2nd Sunday after Christmas
…And the Word became flesh and lived among us…
Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:[1-9] 10-18

“Were You Shocked by Christmas?” The Sermon for SUNDAY, January 5, 2020 — 2nd Sunday after Christmas—12th Day of Christmas


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 1st chapter of John, beginning with the 1st verse.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” (John 1:1-18)

All mighty God, we thank you for your word and the way that you in it revealed to us who you are and what you've done for us in Christ. Now as we open that word we pray that your spirit may be present, that all thoughts of worry or distraction may be removed and that the Spirit will allow us to hear your voice. And so, oh God, fill us with your spirit through the reading and proclamation of your word this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

“Were You Shocked by Christmas?”

Were you shocked by Christmas? Maybe you were shocked by the business of Christmas, maybe you were shocked by the money you spent on Christmas, maybe you were shocked by the weight you gained during Christmas, maybe you were shocked by the number of events you attended during Christmas but were you shocked by Christmas?

Were you shocked by the event of Christmas? Did the event of God coming to earth through a baby born in a manger catch you off guard? Did the whole event which we celebrate during this time, the event of God coming to earth for your salvation did that event penetrate your senses, your emotions?

Did the Christmas event bring home the point that God loves you and through the baby born in the manger has invaded your life now and in the future? Were you shocked by this invasion of God into your life? Were you overwhelmed that the all-powerful God, the God who created everything that is and that is yet to come, invaded your life, your common ordinary life with his powerful message of love?

I hope you were shocked by Christmas, but I have the sad feeling many were not. They were shocked by all the events of Christmas, but the message of Christmas did not penetrate into the core of their lives with its message of love. For many, the coming and going of Christmas meant nothing, it was and is business as usual.

Maybe we need again to find the faith, the innocence of youth to understand the shocking overwhelming experience which we celebrate at Christmas. Maybe all of us need to be like the boy in the following:

A boy was walking home and a neighbor noticed his zig-zag path which took him from one miracle of God’s creation to another. He asked, “Where are you going?”

“Oh, I’ve been to Sunday School,” the boy answered, “I have learned a lot about God.”

The neighbor who was very cynical concerning religion said, “That is a mighty fine way for a boy to spend his time. If you’ll tell me where God is, I’ll give you a brand new dime.”

Quick as a flash the boy answered, “I’ll give you a dollar, Mister if you’ll tell me where God ain’t.”

For you see the boy understood the shocking news of Christmas which says God through this event has invaded history—our history—for the rest of eternity. God has come to earth and plans to stay with us for the duration. The promise of Christmas is that God is not only found in nature, but in each of us as He works in us and through us to bring His will of love to earth.

All of our lessons today speak of this God who came to earth, who shocked us at Christmas with his glorious presence. Christmas is indeed a shocking time because God came to earth to be with us.

A poem says it well, “The light of God surrounds me … The love of God enfolds me … The power of God protects me … The presence of God watches over me … Where ever I am, God is…”

Christmas is a shocking experience because of God. We are shocked by Christmas because God invaded our lives. He invaded our lives to redeem us, to transform us, to adopt us once and for all as His children.

One of the most unique toys that were sold many years ago was GoBots. The toys which can be folded into many different shapes. They are fascinating to watch. But what is more fascinating is the transformation, the changing of our lives because of the Christmas experience. Because of Christmas, you and I are changed, we are transformed into people who have been covered with God’s robe of righteousness.

We have been made children of God as God invaded our lives and sought to transform us to adopt us because of His great love for us. God went to great lengths to make us His. He went so far as to become one of us, to take on our nature, so that we might take on His nature. So that we might become like Him.

A story which appears in the Augsburg sermon series says: “A couple traveled across the country so that they might adopt a child. They traveled to where a group of children from an orphanage was being adopted. When they arrived, there was one little boy left. He was a 5-year-old bashful, shy, funny-looking and awkward boy. He was adopted by this couple who poured all of their love into him. He said later, ‘I wouldn’t have chosen them to live with, but they chose me, and it was greater than I could ever have imagined. I was chosen, I was a very wanted child.’”

In the same way, each of us is a very wanted child in God’s eyes. He chose us, he became like one of us so that we might fully comprehend his love for us, he invaded our lives so that we might be transformed by this great love. Christmas shocked us because at this event we are overwhelmed by unconditional love.

This unconditional love was brought to earth through the Word made flesh, through the gifts of water, bread, and wine, Paul says in our second lesson: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, … He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

We are shocked by Christmas because in this event we encounter love, love which is so great, so encompassing, so unconditional that it takes our breath away.

A poem says: “It costs nothing but creates much.… It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.… It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.… None are so rich that they can yet get along without it and none are so poor but that they can live without it.… It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and is the countersign of friends.… It is rest to the weary, uplifting to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad and nature’s best antidote for trouble.… Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away!!!… What is it? It is God’s hand of love found in a friendly smile. A smile of love, a smile of acceptance, a smile of friendship, a smile of forgiveness, it’s another sign that God’s unconditional love is placed upon the human spirit.”

As we experience God’s love in the waters of Baptism, in the eating and drinking of bread and wine, we also experience that same love in the smile of someone who loves us unconditionally.

Because God came to earth as a baby born in a manger, because God brought love to earth through Jesus Christ, He still comes to us through earthen vessels, through water, through wine, through bread, through a forgiving smile, through an understanding smile, through an accepting smile, through your smile, through your love for someone, someone you love with no strings attached, someone you love period.

A man in the hospital experienced this kind of love, a love he had not known before. This love made him think about his life, made him seriously see what life was all about. One day he said to the chaplain, “I am beginning to see what life is all about. I saw it in the nurses who cared for me those 3 days and nights, and in my parents who never left my side. I’ve seen it in the faces of the people who have come to visit. I’ve seen it in those other peopled who forgave me for what I did to their car and for the hurt I caused them. I guess I’ve found what life is all about by looking at people who already know. And what I saw was love. A love that accepts me for what I am and who I am. A Love that upholds and surrounds me. I know what life is, chaplain, life is love, the love of God through Christ instilled in each life.”

But for many, this Christmas event has been lost by all the shocking events of Christmas. Christmas is so simple that it is for many so difficult to accept.

John says it well in the gospel lesson: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.… He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, … full of grace and truth.”

It is so simple yet so difficult. Christmas is the event of God’s love coming, breaking into our world, yet so many cannot see it because they have not opened their eyes to his shining light.

Light has been for centuries the sign of hope, the longing for escape from the darkness of despair and the sign of deliverance for many. Yet, the light of Christ, the light of grace, the light which the Christmas event brings, the light we celebrate at the Epiphany, the light of the star is missed by so many.

Many are searching, are seeking a light, a sign of hope amidst their world of darkness.

Isaac Asimov says this: “If you were a primitive person waiting through a long night; if it were dark and chilly with no source of light and heat, but perhaps a smoldering campfire; if you could hear the rustling noises that might mean predatory animals that could see far better in the dark than you could; if you could sleep no more—what would be the greatest sign, the greatest hope in your life?

It would have to be the soft graying of the sky in the east, the brightening of the dawn, which brought the sure promise that, in a short while, poking above the horizon would come the sun itself to make the world light and secure again.”

Isn’t that the light of Christmas? The Christmas light that breaks the cold darkness of our lives. Isn’t that what we celebrate at this time of year?

Christmas shocks us because it is simple yet so profound. Christmas shocks us because a new light has come into the world, a light of unconditional love which God brings to us and asks us to share with others.

Christmas is a shocking experience.

Let us pray: Blessed Lord, into our darkness you have brought the Light of your love. You have given to us a reminder of the many ways in which you care for us and guide us. This has been a hectic time for so many of us. We have invested ourselves, our energies, and our resources in a flurry of activities; and now we are coming to the end of this calendar year, with a new year in view, and we wonder how we are going to have the energy that the new year will demand. Help us place our trust and our lives in your care. As Joseph listened to the angel telling him to follow, help us follow you in all our ways. Give us strength and courage for the times ahead. Let love be the foundation from which all our actions spring. Bless and keep us in your care, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)® Bible, copyright © 1989 the 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. Sermon contributed by Rev. Tim Zingale.
Were you shocked by Christmas? I hope you were, but I have the sad feeling many were not.

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, January 5, 2020


The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, January 5, 2020

In the sayings of the desert fathers, this story is recorded: “One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, ‘Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such good Latin and Greek education ask this peasant about your thoughts?’ He replied, ‘I have indeed been taught Latin and Greek, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant.’”

Lord God, keep us from mumbling on and on in our prayers when all we ought to say is, “Thank you, Lord.” Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, January 5, 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/verse-of-the-day/2020/01/05?version=NIV

Isaiah 1:16-17
Wash and make yourselves clean.
 Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
 stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
 Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
 plead the case of the widow.
Read all of Isaiah 1

Listen to Isaiah 1

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

Un dia a la Vez - Domingo 5 de enero de 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2020/01/05

Piensa antes de actuar

El Señor te guiará siempre [...] Serás como jardín bien regado, como manantial cuyas aguas no se agotan.
Isaías 58:11 (NVI)

Somos el resultado de las decisiones que tomamos. Después de todo lo que Dios me ha permitido vivir, observa el resultado. Hoy ustedes leen este libro, mi historia en pequeños fragmentos, donde conocen quién soy y mis experiencias: dos divorcios, madre soltera por varios años, una relación fuera del matrimonio con el resultado de una hija que es una bendición en mi vida, mi compañerita bella, y el paso por la mayor prueba de salud de mi vida donde estuve al borde de la muerte. Todas estas cosas me han dejado una enorme lección… somos el resultado de lo que decimos, pensamos, comemos y hacemos.

Somos absolutamente responsables de lo que hacemos con nuestra vida. Sin embargo, no se nos puede olvidar que en esas decisiones podemos llevar por delante a las personas que más queremos. Permitamos que Dios sea nuestro consejero, nuestro amigo, nuestra guía, a fin de que no vivamos arrepentidos de los que hicimos o lo que dejamos de hacer.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Somos el resultado de lo que decimos, pensamos, comemos y hacemos.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, January 5, 2020

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2020/01/05
STORMS REVEAL NEW THINGS ABOUT JESUS

He [Jesus] said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Mark 4:40-41 (NIV)

Thankfully storms ultimately do come to an end! We learn this as another insight from this passage of scripture. And the storms often reveal something new about Jesus. Here the disciples express their amazement that He even controls the winds and the waves. They had already spent considerable time with Jesus yet this experience actually terrified them. They had known Jesus as fully human to this point in their relationship. And now they are confronted with His being also fully divine—something that really terrified them.

There is always something more to learn about Jesus and sometimes this happens in the storms of life. Twenty-three-year-old Maria fled with her parents from Bagdad, Iraq to the Kurdish north of the country because they had been threatened as Christians living in the capital.

“I really struggled the first year,” she says. “But I knew I had to go on. I could not crawl up and mourn the things I had lost…Because I went to college here it was pretty easy to find a job. And what I really like is that I am safe here.”

Maria had to leave everything behind but did not give up. She concludes, “Start with something small and you will slowly move on.”

We received a report of a Christian arrested for selling Bibles in front of a university in another middle east Islamic country’s capital. He was repeatedly interrogated during six weeks of imprisonment. In a final effort to intimidate him, his captors brought his wife to the prison and threatened to execute him unless he renounced his Christian faith.

“If I have to choose between my wife and children or Jesus Christ, then I choose Jesus,” he reportedly told his captors. When this and other attempts failed to coerce him to renounce his faith, he was finally released from prison. He was forced to sign a letter agreeing not to sell Christian literature, although he continued to actively evangelize in parks and other open-air areas.

“I don't know why, but I cried the whole day,” he said upon release, adding that he wished he could have been martyred for his faith. “I felt very close to heaven in prison. I was happy that the Lord had heard my prayers for my love to be a sacrifice in that small prison cell. But it seems that the Lord wished me to be alive and active in His work again.”

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful that the storms in my life will come to an end. I will deliberately seek to discover something new about Jesus and what He wants me to be for Him.

PRAYER: Pray that you—and believers everywhere—will have spiritual eyes and ears to see, hear and learn new lessons from Jesus in the storms of life.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions January 5, 2020 - LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20200105

"LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE"

Jan. 5, 2020

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
Luke 2:34-35 (ESV)

Mary loved her baby, so she must have been chilled to hear Simeon predict Jesus' future, even in the most general terms. "A sword will pierce through your own soul also"—that is not exactly what you want to hear about your baby's future!

I imagine Mary felt the first stab of that sword long before Jesus ever grew up. She probably felt it whenever Isaiah 53 was read in the synagogue—whenever Jesus said or did something that her mother's heart told her was going to lead to conflict with the corrupt authorities someday—whenever she cooked the sacrificed lamb at Passover every year. Did she realize it was a symbol of her Son's coming death?

I think it must be easier for us who live on this side of Jesus' death and resurrection. We can look at the tiny baby lying in the manger at the same time we remember His sacrificial death on the cross—and His glorious resurrection. Looking back, we can see that it was worth it—that Jesus' suffering and dying gave us new life—that His resurrection means that evil loses in the end. We know the happy ending. We know that Jesus is with us forever, and we will never lose Him. It is all worth it.

Mary had to take the future on faith, trusting that God would guide their family to the final goal He had planned for them. We have to do this, too, about our own lives. Our future is largely unknown. But we have the added blessing of knowing exactly Who has our lives in His hands—our Savior, Jesus—and we know that He will never let us down. How could He? He has already given everything He had to make us His own.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to trust You when the future is frightening and unknown. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • What good things do you think will happen in the future?
  • What troubling things do you worry about what might happen in the future?
  • When you are afraid and worried, how do you seek help from God?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What good things do you think will happen in the future?

CPTLN devocional del 05 de enero de 2020 - Mirando hacia el futuro


ADVIENTO—NAVIDAD 2019

Mirando hacia el futuro

05 de Enero de 2020

Simeón los bendijo, y a María, la madre del niño, le dijo: "Tu hijo ha venido para que muchos en Israel caigan o se levanten. Será una señal que muchos rechazarán y que pondrá de manifiesto el pensamiento de muchos corazones, aunque a ti te traspasará el alma como una espada."
Lucas 2:34-35 (RVC)

María amaba a su bebé, por lo que debe haber estado tranquila cuando Simeón predijo el futuro de Jesús, incluso en términos duros: "A ti te traspasará el alma como una espada", ¡eso no es exactamente lo que quieres escuchar sobre el futuro de tu bebé!

Me imagino que María sintió la primera puñalada mucho antes de que Jesús creciera. Probablemente la sintió cada vez que leían Isaias 53 en la sinagoga, cada vez que Jesús decía o hacía algo que María en su corazón pensaba que algún día iba a provocar un conflicto con las autoridades corruptas; cada vez que cocinaba el cordero sacrificado en la Pascua. ¿Se daba cuenta María de que era un símbolo de la cercana muerte de su Hijo?

Creo que debe ser más fácil para nosotros que ya conocemos la historia de la muerte y resurrección de Jesús. Podemos mirar al pequeño Niño que yace en el pesebre al mismo tiempo que recordamos su muerte sacrificial en la cruz y su gloriosa resurrección. Mirando hacia atrás, podemos ver que valió la pena, que el sufrimiento y la muerte de Jesús nos dieron nueva vida, que su resurrección significa que el mal al final pierde. Conocemos el final feliz. Sabemos que Jesús está con nosotros para siempre, y nunca lo perderemos. Todo vale la pena.

María tuvo que encarar el futuro por fe, confiando en que Dios guiaría a su familia hacia la meta que él había planeado para ellos. Tambien nosotros tenemos que hacer esto en relación a nuestras vidas. Nuestro futuro es en gran parte desconocido. Pero tenemos la bendición adicional de saber exactamente quién tiene nuestra vida en sus manos: nuestro Salvador Jesús. Y sabemos que nunca él nos defraudará. ¿Cómo podría? Él ya dio todo lo que tenía para hacernos suyos.

ORACIÓN: Querido Señor, ayúdame a confiar en ti siempre, y especialmente cuando el futuro sea aterrador y desconocido. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:
  • ¿Qué cosas te preocupan que puedan suceder en el futuro?
  • Cuando tienes miedo y te preocupas, ¿cómo buscas la ayuda de Dios?

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¿Qué cosas te preocupan que puedan suceder en el futuro?

Unser Täglich Brot - Leuchte das Licht

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2020/01/05/leuchte-das-licht/

Leuchte das Licht

Lesung: Matthäus 5,14–16 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 1. Mose 13-15Matthäus 5,1-26

Matthäus 5,1-26

Stephen sagte seinen Eltern, dass er jeden Tag früh zur Schule gehen müsse, aber aus irgendeinem Grund erklärte er nie, warum es so wichtig sei. Dennoch sorgten sie dafür, dass er jeden Morgen um 7:15 Uhr in der Schule ankam.

An einem winterlichen Tag hatte Stephen einen Autounfall, der ihm leider das Leben kostete. Später fanden seine Eltern heraus, warum er so früh zur Schule gegangen war. Jeden Morgen hatten er und einige Freunde sich am Eingang der Schule versammelt, um andere Schüler mit einem Lächeln, einem Winken und einem freundlichen Wort zu begrüßen. Alle Schüler, auch diejenigen, die nicht beliebt waren, fühlten sich willkommen und akzeptiert.

Stephen glaubte an Jesus und wollte seine Freude mit denen teilen, die sie dringend brauchten. Sein Beispiel lebt weiter, um daran zu erinnern, dass eine der besten Möglichkeiten, das Licht der Liebe Christi erstrahlen zu lassen, in Gesten der Güte und durch einen einladenden Geist besteht.

In Matthäus 5,14–16 offenbart Jesus, dass wir in ihm „das Licht der Welt“ und „eine auf einem Berg erbaute Stadt“ sind (V. 14). Antike Städte bestanden oft aus weißem Kalkstein und hoben sich von der prallen Sonne ab. Mögen wir uns entscheiden, nicht verborgen zu sein, sondern „jedem im Haus Licht zu geben“ (V. 15).

Da auch wir „unser Licht vor anderen scheinen lassen“ (V. 16), können sie die einladende Liebe Christi erfahren.
Wie könntest du die einsamen und bedürftigen Menschen in deiner Umgebung willkommen heißen? Wie kann der Heilige Geist dir helfen, eine Stadt auf einem Berg zu sein, die andere sehen können?
Himmlischer Vater, danke für das Beispiel von Stephen. Hilf mir, dass ich allen, denen ich begegne, Freundlichkeit und einen einladenden Geist zeige.


© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Stephen sagte seinen Eltern, dass er jeden Tag früh zur Schule gehen müsse, aber aus irgendeinem Grund erklärte er nie, warum es so wichtig sei.