Prayer for the Final Days of Advent:
“Lord our God, you wanted to live not only in heaven, but also with us, here on earth; not only to be high and great, but also to be small and lowly, as we are; not only to rule, but also to serve us; not only to be God in eternity, but also to be born as a person, to live, and to die. In your dear Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, you have given us none other than yourself, that we may wholly belong to you. This affects all of us, and none of us has deserved this. What remains for us to do but to wonder, to rejoice, to be thankful, and to hold fast to what you have done for us?” -Karl Barth
Readings for the Final Week:
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” -Revelation 2:20
“The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus means that one day everything sad will come untrue.” -JRR Tolkien
“Hope does not rely on human achievement or triumphalism, but instead on God’s grace…. However, the hope for restoration comes not from a distant God, but from Immanuel, ‘God is with us.’” -Soong-Chan Rah
“[In Advent waiting,] a longing emerges within us, which will not be silenced, a longing that all should be fulfilled amidst all the failures and against all the evidence, yet we protest its fulfillment all the stronger. This is a waiting within us for nothing less than that this world will be redeemed through and through—not by this or that political means, but by God. When God himself comes to, then Advent truly becomes real.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“If the perception of the human body shapes the body of the city, then the way the church understands itself as the embodiment of Christ should transform our interaction with the body of the city. Our understanding of the incarnation, therefore, takes on an added measure of importance. In the incarnation, here is the full expression of God’s active love for humanity and the act of making his dwelling among us. The incarnation, therefore, gives us the model of an active body of Christ confronting the passive body of the city…The church as the body of Christ embodies Christ in the world…The church is called to embody Christ in the city.” -Soong-Chan Rah
“Our identity rests in God’s relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.” -Brennan Manning
Hymn of Peace
“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world, in sin and error pining, til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born. O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, now come the wise men from out of Orient land. The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger; in all our trials born to be our friends. He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King! Before him lowly bend.
Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, with all our hearts we praise His holy name. His power and glory ever more proclaim!”
Christmas Eve Eve, Dec 23 Light the purple candle of Peace or Purity.
Read Isaiah 11:1-12; 9:6-7
The baby who becomes a man brings his incredibly present Spirit to us; the Prince of Peace abides in us still.
Christmas Eve, Dec 24
Read Luke 2:1-40.
The Christ child is born.
Christmas Day, Dec 25 Light the white candle of Christ.
Read Micah 5:2-5a
God with us, Immanuel has come.
Hymn of Birth
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and Nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.”
Dec 26: As you look to the year ahead, know you aren’t alone.
John 14:15-20; Psalm 78:4-8