December – 2016
Isaiah 11.1-2, 4-6, 8-9 (GWT)
A shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from its roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of advice and power,
the Spirit of knowledge and [reverence for] the LORD.
…He will [overpower] the wicked with the breath from his lips.
Justice will be the belt around his waist. Faithfulness will be the belt around his hips.
Wolves will live with lambs.
Infants will play near cobras’ holes.
Toddlers will put their hands into vipers’ nests.
They will not hurt or destroy anyone anywhere on my holy mountain. The world will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD like water covering the sea.
Matthew 3.1-6, 11-12 (TLB)
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the [Commonwealth] of heaven has come near.” This is [the one] who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord…’”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan…[And] they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
[He told them], “I baptize you with water…But after me comes one who…will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.
Isaiah 35.4-6 (CEB, adapted)
Say to those who are panicking: “Be strong! Don’t fear! Here’s your God, coming…to save you.”
Then [those who couldn’t before will see and hear and dance and sing].
The wisdom of Marianne Williamson
“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.”
Matthew 11.2-5 (CEB, adapted)
Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see: [People who couldn’t before now see and walk and hear. The diseased are healthy and the lifeless are full of energy]. The poor have good news proclaimed to them.”
John 1.6-7, 9 (ICB)
There was a man named John who was sent by God. He came to tell people about the Light. Through him all people could hear about the Light and believe. The true Light was coming into the world. The true Light gives light to all.
The wisdom of Desmond Tutu
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
Matthew 1.18-25 (The Message)
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant…Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph…don’t hesitate to get married…She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus…
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary [and after the baby was born], he named the baby Jesus.
December 24 (Xmas Eve)
The wisdom of Agnes M. Pahro
“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
Titus 2.11 (ESV)
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.
The wisdom of Marianne Williamson
“All [God] needs is a little space in the manger, just a little willingness on our part in order for [the Divine] to be born on earth.”
Luke 2.7-14, 16, 20 (King James Version)
[Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward [all people].
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen…
December 25 (Xmas Day)
The wisdom of Gary Kowalski
“Christmas is not a creed we have to believe in; it’s not a feeling that comes and goes…Christmas isn’t a story we tell so much as a drama in which all of us have become participants whether we feel like it or not, whether we like it or not. Christmas is a reality, here and now just as love is a reality…
We are all brothers…and sisters, born of a single womb. Whether we like it or not we are all one tribe and share one fate. Separateness is the illusion, while interdependence is the plainest fact.
We know it in our heads and when we know it in our hearts, then the center will be everywhere and the circumference will have no boundaries and the sun will rise on a new and different kind of dawn.
The wisdom of Howard Thurman
“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone…when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins:…to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace…to make music in the heart.”
Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.