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December 23, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Advent
"Emmanuel: God's Good Gifts to Us"
"The Gift of Service"
Focus Scriptures: 
Micah 5:2-5a     Luke 1:39-55

Emmanuel means (God with us) and Advent is a season where we remember that God dwelt with humanity in the person of Jesus. He is the gift Christmas that brings hope and meaning into the world we share. This advent we will remember the promises made as we were marked with the cross of Jesus in baptism. We will also redefine the true meaning of gifts from our worldly consumer goods to the true gifts found in Jesus.

Mary visits Elizabeth and then sings her Magnificat (Latin for Magnify) a song of hope and praise for what God is doing in her world. She sees the child in her as a gift for the world that will call all of us out into service. This call is found in our Baptismal promise “to serve all people, following the example of Jesus.” Jesus who will turn the world of Mary on its head finding the lost, restoring the broken, and healing the sick. The gift of Jesus is the gift of service rooted in love for God and neighbor. We are called to serve all people, following the example Jesus lived and Mary sung about. Our life is found as we respond to the needs all around us.


Daily Devotion
December 16, 2018
The Gift of Good News


“And as the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether he was the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the thong of whose shoes I am not worthy to untie: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire:” Luke 3: 15 – 16. All of us live with the expectation of realizing our dreams in life. We look forward to a good job, a wonderful family, a beautiful house in a peaceful community and all the amenities which can make life enjoyable.  John brings divine message to the Jews and this awakens their attention and expectation of the Messiah.  For over four hundred years there was no prophet with a message from God.  So, when John comes on the scene, the people question whether he is the Messiah.  The people look forward to the coming of the Messiah who will ushering in justice, righteousness and peace.  They were expecting to have a better life under the Messiah.  John, with the humility that is characteristic of true greatness did not accept the honor paid to him.  He directs the thoughts of the people to the One who is mightier than himself and who is coming soon to bring God’s salvation to the world.  John pointed to his baptism which is an outward sign of their inward repentance.  But the Messiah’s baptism will be with “the Holy Spirit and fire”.  The Messiah, Jesus Christ, continues to bring God’s salvation to those who believe and trust in Him.  Jesus is the Good News for us and the world. Prayer:  Stir up the wills of your faithful people, merciful and gracious God, and open our ears to the preaching of John the Baptist, that, rejoicing in your salvation, we may bring forth the fruits of repentance through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.

Written by Vernon Mukhlall



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