Saturday, December 27th
Gospel Reading John 13:20-35
20“Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” 31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Wendell Berry, in his book Given Poems, writes,
Those who have learned
To love one another
Have made their way
To the lasting world
And will not leave,
Questions for Reflection
A tangible manifestation of the birth of Jesus Christ is that we have a greater capacity for love in our world. Jesus said, “If you have love for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” Having given us the command to love one another, how might Jesus’ birth into our world increase our capacity to love in concrete ways? How might you demonstrate Christ’s love over the course of your day today?
Sunday, December 28th
Gospel Reading Matthew 1:18-25
18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
God comes down in the form of this long-awaited child named Jesus. Jesus is full of both grace and truth, a grace and a truth that will unfold before and around people of faith across many generations. Among other names, Jesus is known as The One Who Comes. Paula D’Arcy writes, “God comes to you disguised as your life.”
Question for Reflection:
How might we see God disguised as our very life?