Wednesday, December 24th
Gospel Reading Luke 1:67-80
67Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: 68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. 78By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.
Today’s scripture lesson recounts the story of the birth of John the Baptist, precursor and relative to Jesus. John made God’s presence known in down to earth ways as he proclaimed God’s kingdom in the familiar Judean wilderness. As people remember the church’s gatherings to celebrate Christmas, JoAnn Gibson, Jennifer Milne, and Virginia Milne (amongst many others) fondly remember Katherine Paterson’s Christmas stories. For dozens of years, Katherine has written a Christmas story a year to bring the realities of Christ’s birth to life in our day and age.
Questions for Reflection:
Think of a memorable experience of celebrating Christ’s birth, in a church, in your home, or elsewhere. Who was involved and what was memorable or inspiring? What insight into God’s live with us did you receive?
Thursday, December 25th
Gospel Reading John 3:31-36
31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. 34He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
Today we celebrate the day of Christ’s birth and the first of twelve days of Christmas. On this first day of Christmas, hear these words of Martin Luther, “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.”
Questions for Reflection:
What would it look like for you to experience the mystery of the incarnate God today? How can God’s sinking into flesh change the way you live your life today?
Friday, December 26th
Scripture Lesson : Colossians 1
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell
Archbishop Jose Gomez, on the New Evangelization, writes, “In the mystery of his becoming man, Christ showed us what humanity was meant to become. He showed us the transcendent dignity and destiny of each human person as a child of God.”
Question for Reflection
In considering Jose Gomez’ quote, how would it be to consider others as holding not simply dignity but transcendent dignity? Would you see yourself differently if you were to recognize yourself as destined to be a child of God, part of the body of Christ whose birth we celebrate.