December 25 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ,
Thou Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, be born into our world. Wherever there is war in this world, wherever there is pain, wherever there is loneliness, wherever there is no hope, come, thou long-expected one, with healing in thy wings.
Holy Child, whom the shepherds and the kings and the dumb beasts adored, be born again. Wherever there is boredom, wherever there is fear of failure, wherever there is temptation too strong to resist, wherever there is bitterness of heart, come, thou blessed one, with healing in thy wings.
Saviour, be born in each of us who raises his face to thy face, not knowing fully who he is or who thou art, knowing only that thy love is beyond his knowing and that no other has the power to make him whole. Come, Lord Jesus, to each who longs for thee even though he has forgotten thy name. Come quickly. Amen. (The Hungering Dark by Frederick Buechner)
Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 2:1-12
Reading for Reflection: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7)
Room is a very important thing in the life of the Spirit. As a matter of fact, new birth seems to require it. Unfortunately, and ironically, during this season, just as in the time of Mary and Joseph, it is so easy for life just to fill up. And when life is over-filled there is simply no room for something new (of the Spirit) to be born in us; the pace and demands of the season are at odds with the room and reflection necessary to pay attention to how, where, and when God might be entering our lives/world.
Maybe that’s why the words of the old Christmas carol remind us, “let every heart, prepare him room.” It seems that the writers of those wonderful songs of old knew well the secret that unless we work diligently to make room for him, it will not simply happen on its own. It will not just “fall on our heads.” Making room takes effort and intention and prayer and planning. And unless we are willing and able to put forth the energy and effort to pay attention, it is likely that when He does eventually come, we will miss him too.
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Dan and Shelly Owens live in Atlanta where Dan works with Sixty Feet. This organization focuses on ministry in Uganda in three categories: relief, rehabilitation or development. Pray today for their project Operation Homeward Bound. It seeks to create a process of continual resettlement that centers on coordination of local authorities, social workers, counselors, non-government organizations, and families. The objective is to create a process that allows for continual resettlement by building the capacity of duty bearers to fulfill their roles, responsibilities, and obligations towards protection of children.
ESL (English as a Second Language) volunteers provide weekly English classes at CSPC for those who need to improve their language skills. Classes meet on Thursdays in the morning and in the evening. International students, visiting scholars, and foreign nationals working in Knoxville are invited to attend the classes. Pray today for both the teachers and the students as they begin a new semester in January.
Closing Prayer: The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world? Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen. - Robert Louis Stevenson