Monday in the Fourth Week of Advent
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening Sentence – (In the preparation days of Celtic Advent)
+ We have waited long for You. Deep has been our darkness.
+ We long for You to shine right here among us where we are.
+ We will not fear the shadows that surround us if only You will come among us!
+ We wait for the sound of a cry in the night, the joy that follows pain, the coming of hope.
Reading: Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17 (NLT)
Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. I will tell everyone that you alone are just. O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Reading: Luke 1:5-25 (NLT)
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.
When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Mighty and Everlasting God: you are my rock and my fortress; you alone are all I need in life and in death.
+ Turn my mind and heart back to you, Lord; send me your light and your truth.
+ Help me to grasp the meaning of your Son’s coming in a way that is personal and profound.
+ Show me your image in even the lowliest of my fellow-men; may I preserve their dignity and honor.
+ Make me your peacemaker; healing the broken bonds of human life by sharing my hope in Christ.
+ Help me to hear your voice through the situations I encounter today; give me a willing obedient spirit.
Deepen my faith, Lord God, as I prepare to celebrate Christmas; may I never be afraid, for you alone are all I need in life and in death. I ask this through Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
“God Alone Is Enough” – David Haas
Let nothing upset you, let nothing startle you.
All things pass; God does not change.
Patience wins all it seeks.
Whoever has God lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.
-St Teresa Avila
Make your heart ready for the King of Glory to come in. Pray: come dwell in me and be my peace today.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holly Spirit. Amen!
Categories: Life in Christ