This week’s devotional prepares the reader for the second week of Advent. The theme for this week is Peace, and the text for the sermon comes from Isaiah 11:1-10.
This week’s Bible readings:
Monday, November 28. Read Isaiah 7:21-25. In this passage Isaiah describes two realities. What are they? Does wealth ever disappoint us? Why do you think that occurs?
Tuesday, November 29. Read Matthew 3:1-3. What was the message of John the Baptist when he was in the wilderness? Where did his message originate from?
Wednesday, November 30. Read Matthew 6:7-15. What do you think Jesus meant by “empty phrases”? What does Jesus want his disciples to be concerned about with regard to the Kingdom?
Thursday, December 1. Read Matthew 19:27-30. What did the two blind men request from Jesus? How were these two men similar to all the other people that Jesus touched and healed?
Friday, December 2. Read Luke 11:14-23. Of what was Jesus accused in this text? What did Jesus say his casting out demons implied?
Saturday, December 3. Read Isaiah 11:1-10. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
This week’s Hymn:
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, Translated by Theodore Baker, 1894.
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!
This week’s Devotional Reading:
Peace On Earth by Tom Norvell
Let There Be Peace
The shepherds received word of the birth of Jesus with these words:
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, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14 NIV).
Peace on earth. How’s that working at your house?
Christmas is just a few days away. Is there peace in your world? You’ve been working for days trying to get all the decorations up. You’re almost finished. Then, you remember that you’re supposed to bake cookies for your children’s class parties. So, the decorations will wait a little longer while you run to the store, buy the ingredients, come home, bake the cookies and somehow manage to get the laundry done before you and your husband leave for his office party. You come home exhausted from the day; but before you go to bed, you have to make sure the children have their Sunday best clean and pressed and ready for church tomorrow morning.
The alarm goes off much sooner than you prefer, but out of bed you jump. And within in minutes you have the kitchen in full gear as you prepare lunch for your church holiday potluck luncheon. As soon as the luncheon is over, you stop by a couple of stores to grab a gift for Uncle Fred and another for Aunt Lucille. Then, you rush home so you can prepare snack foods for the small group meeting in your home.
The group finally leaves and after the kids are tucked into their beds, you head back downstairs to spend a few minutes with your husband who is frantically trying put the finishing touches on a presentation he has to be ready for by 9:00 in the morning. “I’ll be up for a while,” he says, as you head toward the kitchen to clean up the dishes that were left from breakfast. That’s when you see the box of decorations waiting to be unwrapped, dusted and put on display. You do about half the box and get a call from the mother of one of your children’s classmates saying they have a family emergency and asks if you can fill in as a chaperon for the party. “Sure. I’d be glad to,” you say as you finish loading the dishwasher.
Peace on earth.
Your boss just walked in your office, closed the door, and sat down across from you. The plant’s cutting back. We have to let thirty employees go. Your job is safe, but he tells you that you are the best person to inform those thirty faithful employees, that this week’s paycheck will be their last. It’s the week before Christmas.
Peace on earth.
You had gone to the doctor for a regular check up last week and everything seemed to go fine. At least that’s what you thought. Then, you get a call from the doctor saying he needs to see you in his office as soon as possible to “talk about something he saw on one of the scans.”
Peace on earth.
Is there a chance the angels were misinformed? Surely they meant to say, “Chaos on earth and good luck to all men.”
No, they had it right. It was God’s desire when His son came to be “with us” that peace would reign on earth and in our hearts. It wasn’t a miscommunication or wishful thinking. It was an announcement of what can happen when we receive the Messiah. Peace on earth.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be chaos in your world. Sure, you can probably slow your pace, cut out a few things, stay at home more, miss a party, bake a few less cookies, make some adjustments in how your job manages you, and find a way to reduce your level of stress. But, face it: life is a full-time job. It’s hard to say, “No.” Not impossible, but hard.
However, even though your life during these last few hectic days before Christmas is full and overflowing with activity, peace on earth is possible.
It starts with taking a few minutes to listen to the earlier part of the announcement:
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11). That’s the key.
Peace on earth. A Savior is born.
A Savior is born. Peace on earth.
The Savior is with us. Let there be peace.
God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always, and particularly this Advent time.