Advent Readings Week 4

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

Advent Readings Week 3

Prayer for the Third Week of Advent: “Lord, our God and Father, give to many, to all, and to us as well, that we may celebrate Christmas like this: that in complete thankfulness, utter humility, and then complete joy and confidence we may come to the One whom you have sent, and in whom you yourself have come to us. Clean out the many things in us that, now that the hour has come, have become impossible for us, can no longer belong to us, may, must, and will fall away from us, by virtue of your beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, entering into our midst and creating order. We thank you that you have let your light rise, that it shines in the darkness, and that the darkness will not overcome it. We thank you that you are our God, and that we may be your people. Amen.”                        -Karl Barth

Readings for the Third Week:

“Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”                                                                                               -Henri Nouwen

“But in our waiting there always lingers a certain amount of resignation. Our fondest hopes, all that we wish for, are weakened by an inner feeling that they may not be fulfilled. We don’t want to be foolish. And it would be foolish to assume that the hopes for the future were already achieved; foolish to hold so firmly to our belief that our life would collapse if it were not to happen. Our foolish waiting would then become an agonizing waiting, an unholy selfish grabbing from one another…And we know quite well that this is not the kind of waiting that Jesus speaks of. Such waiting is not Advent waiting.”                                          –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 “It is my belief, that we should not be too sure of having found Christ in ourselves until we have found him also in that part of humanity that is most remote from our own.”                                                                                                            -Thomas Merton

“The kind of peace shalom represents is active and engaged…Shalom is communal, holistic and tangible. There is no private or partial shalom. The whole community must have shalom or no one has shalom…Shalom is not for the many, while a few suffer; nor is it for the few while many suffer.”                       -Randy Woodley

Hymn of Joy

Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies. With the angelic host proclaim: “Christ is born in Bethlehem.” Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Dec 16: Light the pink candle of Joy or Shepherds. Read Luke 2:8-18

Christ brings remarkable joy into our everyday lives; every moment transformed by wonder!

Dec 17 Matthew 2:1-15

Dec 18 Exo 15:11-14a; John 1:35-51

Dec 19 Isaiah 61:1-7

Dec 20 Mark 1:9-11; John 15:8-17

Dec 21 Psalm 46:1-11

Dec 22 Luke 2:8-18

Advent Readings Week 2

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

“Lord Jesus, come yourself, and dwell with us, be human as we are, and overcome what overwhelms us. Come into the midst of my evil, come close to my unfaithfulness…Be my brother, Thou Holy God…Come with me in my death, come with me in my suffering, come with me as I struggle…make me holy and pure, despite my sin...” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer                                       

Readings for the Second Week:

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself.”                             -Mother Teresa

“It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw.”                                                                                             –Bono

“The Good News of the gospel of grace cries out: We are all, equally, privileged but entitled beggars at the door of God’s mercy!”                     -Brennan Manning

“Confession propels the community to imagine a world beyond their current state of sinful existence. Lament that recognizes the reality of brokenness allows the community to express confession in its proper context. Confession acknowledges the need for God and opens the door for God’s intervention. Confession in lament relies on God’s work for redemption.” * -Soong-Chan Rah

“Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord.  Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.” -Thomas Merton

Hymn of Bethlehem

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin, mother and child.  Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia!” Christ the Savior is born. Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from thy holy face. With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.”

Dec 9: Light the purple candle of Love or Bethlehem. Read Luke 2:1-7

The Savior of the World is born in a Manger; love incarnate has come!

Dec 10 Matthew 1:18-25

Dec 11 John 1:1-18

Dec 12 Luke 1:11-38

Dec 13 Luke 1:39-56

Dec 14 Luke 1:57-79

Dec 15 Luke 2:1-7