READINGS for 2008-12-24
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” – Luke 1:76
Wall Street Journal published an article about a certain Hemant Mehta who wanted to find out if he was “missing something” as an atheist. So the DePaul University graduate student went on eBay with this proposition: He would spend one hour of church attendance for every $10 bid by the highest bidder. A former evangelical minister won with an offer of $504.
How much would you be willing to pay to “prepare the way of the Lord” for someone? Jesus paid a cost the universe could never know when He left the glories that not even the heavens could contain. He did this just to speak our language and say that “we are ‘missing something’ without God.”
John the Baptist literally gave up his head for it. The apostle Paul gave a lot more than $504 in hard times of shipwreck, imprisonment, floggings, stoning, beatings, exhaustion, hunger, cold, and peril to bring the Gospel to people who had never heard of Jesus. How much are you willing to pay to recapture for yourself the clear message of the Christ becoming a helpless child of Christmas? How much, to bring the miracle of this love to someone? Jon Escoto
Don’t rush to tomorrow. Stop and pray! Are you ready to be awed again by Christ’s mysterious love that He reminds you about this Christmas?
Lord, thank You for paying so much for me, and for Your servants who did the same. Help me be awed again by Your love, that I may pay You forward by “preparing” others for You.
Samuel first gives his approval to David to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant, but later rescinds that approval when the Lord tells him that it is not for David to do this as he has been a man of war, and his hands are bloodied with the death of too many men. Each of us has to be willing to receive God’s word as it comes. Sometimes, it will confirm what we are doing; at other times it will not. Let us seek to follow whatever He asks us to do.
2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-11, 16
1 When King David was settled in his palace, and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!” 3 Nathan answered the king, “Go, do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.” 4 But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said 5 “Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD Should you build me a house to dwell in? 8 “Now then, speak thus to my servant David, ‘The LORD of hosts has this to say It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. 10 I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance. Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old, 11 since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.’ ”
P S A L M
Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29
R: Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
1  The favors of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. 2  For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. (R) 3  “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant. 4  Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.” (R) 26  “He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the rock, my savior.’ 28  Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm.” (R)
G O S P E L
Zechariah prophesies that John, his son, will have a role in preparing the way for the coming of the Son of God as Messiah. This blessed moment of prophecy is recorded for posterity in the Benedictus, a prayer prayed every morning as part of the Daily Office of the Church. It is good to be reminded often of the way God works in the lives of His people as it gives us hope that He will work through us and for us in our lives.
67 Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. 69 He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant, 70 even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old: 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72 to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant 73 and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that, 74 rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us 79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
think:Let us seek to follow whatever God asks us to do.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Habakuk 1-3
VIGILANT WAITING CONTINUES
During these past weeks, we have learned that the attitude of vigilant and prayerful waiting continues to be the Christian’s fundamental characteristic. It characterizes the holy men and women who have guided us through the past days and others whom we will still meet: Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds, the wise men. Above all, there is Mary’s and Joseph’s waiting. More than any other, they experienced first and foremost the emotion and anxiety for the Child about to be born. But they waited patiently, full of trust that God would not disappoint them. May their attitude become ours.
In this connection, let me quote St. Maximus of Turin, a bishop who lived between the fourth and fifth centuries: “Time alerts us that Christ’s Christmas is near. The world, with its own anxieties, speaks of the imminence of something that will renew it and hopes with patient waiting that the brilliance of a more brilliant sun will lighten its darkness....This expectation of creation also leads us to await the rising of Christ, the new Sun.”
St. Maximus also gives an exhortation we can make our own especially on this day before Christmas: “While we prepare to welcome the Lord’s Christmas, let us put on clean, stainless garments. I am speaking of the soul’s garment, not the body’s. We do not have to be clothed in silk garments, but in good works...”
May the Child Jesus not find us distracted simply to decorating our homes with lights. Rather, in our spirit let us decorate a worthy dwelling in which He feels welcomed with faith and love. May the Virgin and St. Joseph help us live the mystery of Christmas with new wonder and peaceful serenity. I wish to express to all of you, dear readers of the SABBATH, and to your families, my most heartfelt wishes for a holy and happy Christmas, remembering in particular those who are suffering in body and in spirit. A Blessed Christmas to you all! Fr. Rudy Horst
How can I nourish the attitude of vigilant and prayerful waiting in order to be always prepared and ready when the Lord comes to call me to Himself?
Lord, preparation for Christmas comes to an end. But we still wait for Your coming into our lives and for Your final coming at the end of time. Grant us to be vigilant and prayerful, learning from the holy men and women who surrounded Your first coming into this world.
St. Adela, widow, pray for us.
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