December – 2017

Dec. 3 – Advent 1 (Hope)
A Reading from the Psalter (Psalm 80.7)
“Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.”

Arthur Caliandro wrote:
“Your life can dramatically change for the better when you make the decision to take simple decisive steps like these, one at a time:
Decide to adopt a positive attitude. Resolve to be kind in all circumstances. Refuse to give up despite all obstacles. Leave the past behind and move on.”

A Reading from the Gospel According to Mark (13.30-32)
[Jesus declared], “This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day or hour, no one knows…”

Dec. 10 – Advent 2 (Peace)
Arthur Caliandro wrote:
“…no matter how strongly we feel drawn to live in the past – even a dreadful one… – we need to discipline ourselves to keep moving ahead. This is a choice we all have to make – to move beyond past problems and past hurts. We all have the power to turn toward the future and away from the past. It is a critical first step toward a better life.“

A Reading from the Gospel According to Mark (1.1-8)
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God. As it is written…“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths clear…” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance…And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”

Dec 17 – Advent 3 (Joy)
A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (61.1-3)
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the ETERNAL has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to [political] prisoners; to proclaim the year of divine favor, and…to comfort all who mourn; …to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke (1.47-54)
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, who has looked with favor on a lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy are God’s names. God has mercy on…every generation. God has shown strength…and has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things… God has…remembered the promise of mercy.

Dec 24 – Advent 4 (Love)
A Reading from the Psalter (Psalm 89.1-2)
“Your love, O LORD, forever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness. For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; *you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.”

Marianne Williamson has said:
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”

A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke (1.26-35)
“God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a young woman engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the maiden’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: ‘Hail Mary full of grace; God is with you!’”
“Mary was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, ‘Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will…give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great… The holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy…’”

Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
Queen Elizabeth II has said:
“At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child.”

Steve Maraboli tells us:
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote:
“May the Christmas morning make us happy to be [God’s] children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts.”

A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke (2.7-14, 16, 20)
“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. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of God’s presence stood before them, and divine glory shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among all people!” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen…”

Dec. 31
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians (4.7):

“You are no longer in bondage; you are a child of God, and as God’s child you are also an heir.”

Abdul Kalam wrote:
“As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me.”

The Gospel according to Luke (2.22-24, 39-40)
“When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Holy One (as it is written…’Every firstborn male shall be dedicated to the Holy One’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is [required by the tradition], “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” When they had finished everything required…they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”


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