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That fulfillment bears fruit in a love of one's neighbor that strives mightily to bring about the kingdom of God on this earth. Each antiphon is a name or a title for Christ, drawn from the Old Testament. Wisdom, or sapience, has been defined as the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. The readings of the Advent season inspire us and help us to grow deeper in our relationship with God. I challenge you to not let the many things we do for the Christmas season prevent you from celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas! Help us to use that Wisdom in the service of others. We ask this in your Holy Name, Amen. Reminder to Believe. My children are 6 and 7. And this may be our most magical Christmas then again, I said that last year. I know the wonder of Santa Claus will be a faded memory before long. This year, though, this year they believe in Santa with every fiber of their being.
They believe our little elf friend reports back to the big guy each night. To watch my children have such unwavering faith in something - even Santa and his helper elf - brings me joy and comfort. After several months of preparation, we embarked on the remarkable Footsteps of Ignatius Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage led us through the life of St. We visited numerous significant and holy places along the way, including Loyola castle, the cave of Manresa, and the Gesu church in Rome.
Those ten days transformed me and my relationship with God. Ignatius believed in Christ. Faith in something that sometimes seems impossible or almost too good to be true. Sometimes I just need to remind myself to believe. Lord, let me see You in this season. Help me believe when I am busy and tired and in need of direction. Let me hear Your voice speak this Christmas. The Gospel for today speaks about maintaining faith in God throughout difficult times.
Zechariah prayed for some time to have his prayers answered by God, and we see that an angel comes to answer his prayers. After weeks and weeks of tests, essays, projects, and presentations, students get their first week home with their friends and families. The stress and countless prayers to God throughout finals week comes to a close as students, faculty, and staff prepare for the arrival of Christmas.
After a tough semester, our community has our prayers answered. We enter our homes and breathe a sigh of relief. Most important to this time of year is appreciating those around us. It is appreciating the comfort and ability we all have to breathe that sigh of relief at home. While each of us should be grateful that we can enter a warm, beautifully decorated home for the holiday season, we must keep in mind those who are less fortunate. We must keep in mind those who do not get that sigh of relief. While it is important to appreciate the time each of us gets to spend at home, we should take an extra step this Christmas season to do something outside our usual routine to help those in need.
We, as men and women for and with others, should step outside the comfort of our usual holiday routines to try something new this year. Matthew J. Coughlin President, Student Government. God of Light- help us to be men and women for others. Help us to shake off our old ways of doing things so that we can be ready to receive something new and surprising from You! Right now I am in a desert. The group is taught various strategies in order to limit our minds from wandering and to remain centered on God.
To be completely honest, clearing a space is the hardest thing I have ever done. My mind is excellent at wandering onto the most random of topics, but here I am attempting to purposely calm myself to listen for God each day. You are probably thinking, what does any of this have to do with Advent? Mary hears this news, and in what must have been one of the most difficult and overwhelming experiences of her life, she nonetheless clears a space for God.
Mary listens and trusts. The act of listening and trusting someone seems so easy for Mary. May it be done to me according to your word. We are called to listen and trust God. We are called to calm our lives in order that the example of Mary may take hold. Take some time to clear a space this season — physically, mentally, emotionally — and practice listening.
Help us to clear a space for you and for your son this holiday season. Teach us to listen and trust in Your will. Spend a minute — or as much time as you can spare — in silence and just listen. Rise, happy morn! Draw forth the cheerful day from night; O Father! Lord, Creator, as the time draws near, let me hear Your voice. Let me be an instrument of peace and good will this season.
Jesus is the reason for the season! The advent calendar is winding down and we are getting closer to Christmas. As we finish up our Christmas lists and complete our last minute shopping, we begin to turn our heads towards the real reason for the season. It is about family and fellowship and most of all, it is about the love our LORD has for us. Be sure this year to be even more vigilant to show the love to our young ones and direct our young ones to Jesus. As adults we may tend to focus on the glitz and glam of Christmas as well as the excitement of giving the perfect gift that you have searched high and low for.
Remember that our Lord has already given the greatest gift of all in the form of Jesus. Leading our young people to Jesus and guiding them to an authentic relationship with the LORD is the greatest gift you could give. I pray that you all have a happy and healthy new year and that this time with your loved ones is well spent. As Christmas draws near, let us continue to focus on the real reason for the season: Our Lord.
Help us to guide others to You this season. The older of the two, called a cousin, but by age, probably more like an aunt, is a daughter of the priestly clan and the wife of a priest. The younger is betrothed to be married, but recently received the disturbing news of being with child. It had troubled her and caused her to ponder deeply. We often think that Mary went to visit Elizabeth because Elizabeth was pregnant after many years of being barren.
But perhaps it was much more the unwed Mary seeking out a woman whom she respected, who was older, and who obviously had deep spiritual roots, in whom she could confide and from whom she could seek guidance in terms of her life. Then without discussion and without judgement Elizabeth cries out in affirmation. She affirms Mary and affirms the child that Mary bears. Empowered by this affirmation, Mary sings out her Magnificat.
Christmas affords us all a great opportunity to affirm one another just as our humanity has been affirmed by God.
May this gift of unqualified affirmation move us all to make of our Christmas gift-giving a means to recognize and affirm that the recipients are important to us. When we imbue our gift-giving with this kind of meaning, it becomes our affirmation that our children, spouses, relatives and friends are unconditionally loved and valued by us and by God. John Sivalon, M. Director of International Learning Programs. God of our salvation- help us to recognize Your Spirit animating the entire human family.
Help us imbue our gift giving with unconditional love so that their recipients may know how much they are loved by God. We use Advent to anticipate the coming of Christ and ready ourselves for this important event in the calendar. It is a clutter of exams, papers and presentations, all of which make reflection a challenge. The Advent season for a college student gets lost in the completion of the Fall semester.
Our heads fill with anxiety over finals or papers, nerves about grades and the anticipation of returning home. Honestly, it is not a very reflective time for me. It becomes hard to appreciate this time of year and I find myself wishing my way to the end rather than stopping to clear a space. This rushing to the end reminds me of a popular writing by the Jesuit Paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He writes:. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet as the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability — and that it may take a very long time. To me, this is my unintentional approach to Advent. I rush impatiently to reach the end. However, something remarkable happens and suddenly everything stops. The papers are in and the exams over. This feeling helps to remind me that Christmas completes the incomplete and ends our suspense.
Virginia Farrell '20 History Major. Lord, help us remember that Christmas completes the incomplete. Help us slow down and let go of anxieties. For we know that Advent is done and Your coming is here. Southwell underscores the greatest gift that all of us receive today and every day: the presence of God in our lives and in our world. At The University of Scranton, animated by the charism of Ignatius Loyola, we have a profound understanding of how blessed we are. We are blessed to share in the sacred work of education. We are blessed with incomparable colleagues and collaborators.
We are blessed with the opportunity to cooperate with God in shaping souls, hearts and minds. Once I felt good about myself, I was able to open up more and trust God more. I realized that I could feel God through normal activities. I found that coloring was a good way for me to feel connected to God. I discovered that coloring allowed me to be still and not distracted. Knowing God loves me, in spite of my imperfections, has set me on the path to having more confidence about myself. Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving me as I am. While I am not perfect by worldly standards, I am perfect in your eyes.
Your love gives me the confidence to trust and connect with you, so that you may guide me through the ups and downs of life. Please help others who are struggling to find their own way to connect with you so they, too, may know the peace and comfort of your love.
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Abby Schuiling. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing United Methodist Hymnal, Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood. Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Advent Prayer UMH, Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation.
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may celebrate aright the commemoration of the nativity, and may await with joy the coming in glory of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
The Greatest Christmas
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It seems as though everyone feels stressed during the holidays and we tend to take our frustrations out on those closest to us. During these times, remember that love is kind. We all face demanding schedules, time traveling on slippery roads, and long checkout lines. During times of frustration, remember that love is patient. Presents will be sent, opened, and posted on social media. During these times of excitement or disappointment, remember that love does not boast or envy.
We especially wanted to share this passage with you because today is our two-year wedding anniversary. Instead, we should offer hope, especially during the the hard times. So if you see someone struggling this Advent season, look for ways to offer love. And if you are struggling this Advent season, remember that God is always with you. Prayer: God, thank you for the blessings of relationships. Help us to offer kindness and patience in our relationships as we journey through this Christmas season.
Advent 2018 Daily Devotionals
Help us to show love today and always. Thomas A. Unexpected Journey The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing. Rae, the youngest of my three children is transgender. Nine years ago Rae, raised as a girl, told our family that he identified as a man.
Even though we understood ourselves to be accepting and loving, even though we thought we understood and accepted all in the LGTBQ community, this new journey was difficult for us. We had long talks to understand this new reality. We struggled with new pronouns. Sometimes we cried.
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Sometimes we laughed. Always we loved. Slowly and carefully we shared this news with persons in our church and beyond. Love filled our conversations and acceptance filled our lives. Rae is Rae: loving, smart, teller of goofy jokes, husband, son, brother, friend. Happy ending, right?
Not so fast. I am painfully aware that The United Methodist Church continues to be divided over whom to fully accept and love. Our country debates whether Trans persons can legally be discriminated against. The political climate is brutal.
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Fear of rejection and misunderstanding get in my way. Fear and anxiety so easily get in the way of love and calm. So today I claim the words from Zephaniah reminding me that God is in our midst. God rejoices over Rae as a man. God rejoices over my journey as a mom. God rejoices over all who accept everyone who is transgender. God rejoices over all who struggle to accept. God loves us all! Imagine God singing with love and joy even in the midst of our struggles! This love is made manifest in the gift of Jesus. Jesus who sees beyond our gender, beyond our struggles, beyond our fear.
Jesus whose very being is love. Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your love that creates calm.
Help me to move beyond my fear and to share my journey with love and joy. Laure Mieskowski. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. Money, much of it used to build St.
The theme of fear also came to my mind having attended several of the Inclusion First events at church this week. I was reminded that rather than succumb to the tendency to fear and judge those who have had different experiences than myself which actually happens to be every other of the over 7 billion people on earth , I can seek to understand others whatever our differences. The above Bible passage tells us that this is where God lives.
For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, For every sigh, a sweet song, And an answer for each prayer. Amen Gary Rich.
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You are the light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one lights a lamp and puts it under a clay pot. Instead, it is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Parent in heaven.
Matthew I am not a winter person. If it is below 50, I find every reason to go inside. I could happily be a snowbird who flies south for the winter. Then local law enforcement and community members respond by flashing their lights back. We were scheduled to do this project a warmer month earlier, but rain had cancelled the event. Because we were excited to be a part of this display of community, we ignored the cold and join the crowds outside. And, wow, was it cold. I was wearing three pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, fluffy earmuffs, and few other layers, and I was still freezing.
We saw the first lights start to flash out of the hospital windows. My frozen fingers were holding a visible light of hope, a reminder that these kids were surrounded by a community who cared. Standing next to me was a NICU nurse, who chose to use her night off to shine a light in for her fellow nurses and patients. Together, with the others in our group, we held our light for everyone to see. Push us to recognize your light shining through others and to be thankful for these opportunities.
Sami Marasigan. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians We are not perfect. Our world is not perfect. Today we face so many struggles: death, gun shootings, natural disasters, discrimination, and more.
Personally, my heart has become weighed down by issues specifically related to the acceptance of others. My mind struggles with grasping the reality of some people who do not accept others simply by the color of their skin, their sexuality, their political ideologies, or other differences. These injustices have been placed on my heart. I realize not everyone has to agree with my beliefs; however, the division of people pains me. God has called us to accept each other so we may be in perfect unity.
How can we do that if we keep trying to divide ourselves into groups? I often feel frustrated and angry when people treat others poorly. I look to God to give me direction on how to deal with these differing views. I pray God will direct my path and help me to impact society, thereby easing the burden of those who feel unaccepted. In spite of my desire to be accepting of all people, I have judged others. However, no matter why we judge people, we must work toward accepting them through forgiveness and love, as God has forgiven and loves us.
Prayer: Dear God, please change the judgment and hate in our hearts. Let us love each other with acceptance and kindness so that we may truly be a unified community under you. Emma Schuiling. Where will your journey take you? A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. In Isaiah, we are given the vision of a child coming into the world who will show a way of life, who accepts all his children as his. In his path, Jesus became the model for us to follow.
Will we be like Jesus and be open and inclusive to all? Can we do it? People come to our building for help every day. Do we open the door and invite them in? Or not? The journey that Jesus took taught us how to help in many ways of life. For me, every day is a journey.
Not just getting to work, but in helping others. I feel very fortunate to work at this church. Sundays provide many opportunities for worship, education, and fellowship. During the week, our church has many activities for all, along with providing space for other groups in using the building. Almost every evening we have activities in our building. I am proud that we are open to the community in the use of our facilities. The journey is the destination for me.
We continue to explore new ministries to help others. Over years of doing ministry here in downtown Grand Rapids, we have had an immense impact on our local and global community. The journey has changed for every generation that has been on this campus. What will be our next path in the journey? A lot has changed since I went to Sunday school in Detroit many, many years ago. There have been many changes in society and how we do our ministry. What happened in the sixties is no longer relevant in Be open to the change and use the model that Jesus provided.
The Greatest Gift. First Chapter. The Nester author of the Nesting Place. I read and understood with a fresh perspective. Patsy Clairmont author of bestsellers including Stained Glass Hearts. The Greatest Gift — a gift for life. Hello, Christmas. Hello, wonder. Christine Caine founder of the A21 Campaign, and author of Undaunted. Emmanuel, God with us. Priscilla Shirer best-selling author of Gideon: Your Weakness. Her pen crafts a beautiful masterpiece that slows us down only long enough to lift us up to see Him more clearly. Thank you, Ann.
On the farm. At the woods. In the barn. By the manger. Come away from the whirl. Greatest Christmas Extras. Free Tools to help make this The Greatest Christmas. Holiday Sticky Notes for the Soul. Coloring Pages. Coloring Ornaments: 4 per page. Coloring Ornaments: 6 per page. Adult Ornaments.
Keep Calm Printable. Christmas Gift Tags. Gift Boxes. Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt. Christmas Card Template.