Covenant Presbyterian Church Advent Devotional Readings Unwrapping the Gifts of Christmas

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1 Covenant Presbyterian Church Advent Devotional Readings Unwrapping the Gifts of Christmas Date Reading Excerpt/Summary of Text HOPE Jeremiah 33: First Sunday of Advent, Nov 29 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the House of Judah.... I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David... Judah will be save and Jerusalem will live in safety... The Lord is our righteousness. M., Nov. 30 Luke 21:25-36 There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.... Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.... [parable of the fig tree] Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away....be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.... T., Dec. 1 Psalm 90 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn us back to dust, and say, Turn back, you mortals.... For we are consumed by your anger... You have set our iniquities before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.... Turn, O Lord, How long? Have compassion on your servants!... Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us... Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work or our hands.... W., Dec.2 1 John 3: 1-3 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called the children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Th. Dec.3 Job 19: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God. F., Dec. 4 Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us... S., Dec. 5 Romans 8: I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.... For by hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

2 Page 2 of 5 Second Sunday 6 Isaiah 40: 1-11 PEACE Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem....A voice cries out in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low... He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. M., Dec. 7 Micah 4: He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore... T., Dec. 8 Luke 1: [Zechariah s prophesy about Jesus and the role of his son, John the Baptist] Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed the....by the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. W., Dec. 9 Isaiah 11:1-10. A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.... The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together... They will not hurt or destroy on my holy mountain... Th. Dec. 10 John 14: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. F., Dec. 11 Philippians 4: 4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.... And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. S., Dec.12 Isaiah 9:6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. JOY Third Sunday 13 John 16: A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while and you will see me.... [The disciples discuss what this means and ask Jesus. Jesus refers to the pain and subsequent joy of a woman in labor] Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. M., Dec Peter 1: 3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, * even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen * him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. T., Dec. 15 Zephaniah 3: Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!... The Lord your God, is in your midst....he will rejoice over you with gladness... he will exult over you with loud singing... I will remove disaster from you... I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at that time when I gather you...

3 Page 3 of 5 W., Dec. 16 Proverbs 21: 15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers. Th., Dec. 17 Isaiah 25: 6-10 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food... he will swallow up death forever. Then God will wipe away the tears from all faces... let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.... F., Dec. 18 Luke 1: [Pregnant Mary visits pregnant Elizabeth] When Elizabeth heard Mary s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, Blessed are you among women... For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.... S., Dec. 19 Luke 1: [the Magnficat] And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowness of his servant... LOVE Fourth Sunday 20 Lamentations 3: The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! 20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, * his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him. 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. M, Dec 21 Romans 8: If God is for us, who is against us?...who will separate us from the love of Christ?...For I am convinced that neither death, nor life... nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. T, Dec 22 1 John 4: 7-12 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

4 Page 4 of 5 W, Dec 23 John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. LIFE R, Dec 24, Christmas Eve Luke 2: 1-14 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered....and there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors. F, Dec 25 Christmas Luke 2: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go now to Bethlehem... The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, as it had been told them. S, Dec 26 Hebrews 1: 1-4 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God s glory and the exact imprint of God s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. First Sunday after Christmas, Dec 27 Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage. When King Herod heard this, he was frightened... Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.... When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.... Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. M, Dec 28 Matthew 2: Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.... When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.... When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child s life are dead. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.... And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He will be called a Nazorean. T, Dec 29 Micah 6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? W, Dec 30 Leviticus 19: When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. R, Dec 31 Luke 6: But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold

5 Page 5 of 5 F, Jan 1 Philippians 4: 11b- 13 even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. S Jan 2 Colossians 3: As God s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord * has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ * dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. * And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. LIGHT Second Sunday after Christmas, Jan 3 Isaiah 9: 2-7 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them the light has shined.... For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace... M Jan 4 John 1: 1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.... The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God... No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father s heart, who has made him known. T Jan 5 Psalm 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Epiphany, W Jan 6 Matthew 5: You are the light of the world... let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

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