Join us this advent season as we explore the theme “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and how God makes a home among us, for us, in the flesh, as Jesus Christ. We’ll post daily scriptures readings along with daily activities and prayers. In addition, we’ll hold a weekly gathering on Wednesdays from 7-8 p.m. in the Atrium for a casual, open time for any and all to come together around coffee, cider and treats as we take a moment out of the busy-ness of Christmas. We’d love to see you in person or for you to follow online or both! You can get a complete advent devotional book by stopping by the church office. Or you can download a digital version here.

Advent 4: A home for love

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

13If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Advent Faith Practice: Light a candle for love today and pray for those who need to feel your love, Christ’s love, or another’s love.

Prayer: God of Possibilities, in less than a week I will rest this busy body and watch children, friends, and family open presents, eat meals, and enjoy one another’s company. It will be Christmas Day, and all my preparations will be complete. I give you every concern that overwhelms me and every relationship that is rusty. I invite your love to flow in and through me and those whom I interact with. In your grace, do the gloriously impossible, yet gloriously real. Amen.

Advent 3: A home for hope

 

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Advent Faith Practice: Give a gift to someone today who really needs it. Maybe buy lunch for a friend, coffee for a stranger you see who looks cold, etc.

Prayer: Lord God of all creation, anoint me with your Holy Spirit and let the mind of Christ become my own mind. Open me to the unlimited possibilities of good that you have in store for me. Feed me with your Spirit of wisdom, love, and understanding for each who I encounter and bring about the best possible future for my transformation in Christ. Amen.

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Zephaniah 3:14-20

14Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
17The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.

Advent Faith Practice: Look up to the sky, the clouds, down at the ground, the snow-banks. What do you see in these “common” things? Use your imagination!

Prayer: Womb of love, bear in me the fruit of your presence. Show me the way to life in you as I welcome your life in me. Amen.

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Luke 3:7-18

7John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
18So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Advent Faith Practice: Listening is a spiritual discipline. Ask someone in your life three questions and listen carefully to their answers. Have a conversation with them about these things.

Prayer: Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the preaching of John, that, rejoicing in your salvation, we may bring forth the fruits of repentance; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, December 15th, 2018
Matthew 21:14-16
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, they became angry 16and said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies  you have prepared praise for yourself”?’

Advent Faith Practice: Pray for others today. Who do you know who needs an extra word of prayer to God? Write their name down and keep it with you throughout the day.

Prayer: Source of my being, stretch me beyond the demand for personal advantages. Increase my capacity for silence. Diminish my negative reactivity. Expand my tolerance for ambiguity and acceptance of others just where they are, reducing my addiction to making others wrong. Cultivate in me a skillfulness to love, using every situation and experience as a means for growth toward your likeness. Amen.

Friday, December 14th, 2018
Isaiah 9:2-7

2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
4 For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Advent Faith Practice: Compliment a stranger today.

Prayer: God of my life, I am not just flesh and bones but living breath, rising up into relationship, worship, and service. My future is unveiled in the open tomb, embraced by emptiness assuring that everything in life is my teacher. Even death holds my hand, instructing me in the way of my Teacher, risen, unconquerable light amidst the shadows. Amen.

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

2 Chronicles 15:3-7

3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; 4but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.’

Advent Faith Practice: Light a candle for hope today. Spend a few minutes in prayer for hope around the world, in your own life, and in the lives of those whom you love.

Prayer: Source of light and hope, you hold the mysteries of the heavens and manifest the gift of light through all suns and stars above and sons and daughters below. May your kingdom come on earth as it is in the heavens. In my simple and silent surrender, help me become what I already an – your light-bearing heir. Amen.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018
1 Corinthians 15:42-58
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.48As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Advent Faith Practice: What does it meant o have hope? Draw a picture, write a prayer, or meditate on something that you are hopeful for.

Prayer: Beloved Spirit of God, anoint me with the silence of your strength. However this day may unfold, stabilize my heart with the ballast of Your Hope. Turn my reading into listening. Turn my words into song. Turn my being into becoming, lest I cease to grow. Amen.

Advent 2: A home for faith

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
Luke 1:68-79

‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
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.’

Advent Faith Practice: Do something kind for a neighbor today: shovel their walk, leave a plant or flower arrangement, or write a kind note to them.

Prayer: Joy of my heart, laughter of my soul, help me feel the delight of your living presence in the midst of any moments of despair. By your Spirit, fill me with a lighthearted gratefulness for the gift of life, reflecting joy in my words, gestures, and countenance. Amen.

Monday, December 10th, 2018
Philippians 1:3-11

3I thank my God every time I remember you, 4constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Advent Faith Practice: Do something kind for a neighbor today: shovel their walk, leave a plant or flower arrangement, or write a kind note to them.

Prayer: Joy of my heart, laughter of my soul, help me feel the delight of your living presence in the midst of any moments of despair. By your Spirit, fill me with a lighthearted gratefulness for the gift of life, reflecting joy in my words, gestures, and countenance. Amen.

Sunday, December 9th, 2018
Luke 3:1-6

1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Advent Faith Practice: Take in something beautiful today, either alone or with others. Take a walk in the park or the woods, look above you and around you to see God’s creation and the beauty that bursts forth from it.

Prayer: Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming give to all the people of the world knowledge of your salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, December 8th, 2018
Isaiah 55:1-5; 10-13
Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Advent Faith Practice: Practice hospitality today by inviting someone into your home to share a meal or coffee and conversation with them.

Prayer: Most gracious and loving Heavenly Father, pour provision upon my life today, grounding me in the life-giving presence of your living Word and deepening my connection with the resurrected Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 7th, 2018
Ephesians 3:16-21
16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Advent Faith Practice: Play a card or board game with someone today (family members, friends) and take time for conversation together while playing, remembering that our connections with one another are more than just passing ones, but deep and abiding ones.

Prayer: Jesus, servant of all, through faith I ask your help to redefine my visions of success in the light of your total defeat through which the most unlikely of victories arose. Amen.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
Galatians 3:21-29
21 Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. 22But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Advent Faith Practice: Practice gratitude today by taking 5 minutes to sit with your family and have a conversation about being thankful.

Prayer: O Lord, giver of this journey of faith, soften my edges as your grace forms me. Uncoil me by your incomprehensible love and grace. How else shall I reply to such blessings than to kneel with adoration as you gift me with the inheritance of your healing Word? Amen. 

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
1 Corinthians 2:1-16
2When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are discerned spiritually. 15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.
16 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.

Advent Faith Practice: Write a note of appreciation to someone who works in a “helping” profession (teachers, fire-fighters, police, nurses, etc.) and tell them how much you value their work.

Prayer: Beloved one, pour out your Spirit upon me today so that all my suffering and misunderstanding might be touched by the presence of your victory. Amen.

 

 

Advent Week 1: A Home for Peace

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Advent Faith Practice: Donate some food or other needed items to an organization that serves those in need. (Olivet’s Food Pantry, Churches United for the Homeless, YouthWorks)

Prayer: Most gracious and peace-giving God, as I rest with you in prayer, I request the mind of Christ. Guide my decisions. Instruct my conversations. Nurture wholeness in my relationships. In this moment, fill me with the awareness that in Christ by your Spirit I belong to you. Amen.

Monday, December 3rd, 2018
Jeremiah 33:14-16
14The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Advent Faith Practice: Light a candle for peace today. Spend a few minutes in prayer for people, places and situations that desperately need God’s peace to reign.

Prayer: God of transformation, help me feel again the uprising of your energy meeting me in the furnace of my being – awakening, empowering, driving me by your Spirit further into the wilderness to confront the deepest layers of my hidden false-self and programs for happiness that cannot possibly compare with you. Amen.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018
Luke 21:25-36
[Jesus said:] 25“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. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be 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.”

Advent Faith Practice: Patience is a virtue, or so it has been said. How long can you sit in silence? Try one minute, two minutes, or even five minutes today.

Prayer: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, December 1st, 2018
Psalm 89:1-9
1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
3 You said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
4 “I will establish your descendants forever,
and build your throne for all generations.” ’
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
8 O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.

Advent Faith Practice: Practice waiting today by taking a few extra moments to rest in the midst of your busy schedule. Breathe in the peace surrounding you.

Prayer: God of Peace, Grant me the grace to meet each thing, event, relationship I perceive as a problem today with a deepened attention to the center that holds all things together in ways that transcends my perceptions. Where I feel friction with others, reveal the way into the mystery of seeing how your love connects the many ways of being and the multiple points of human perspective, all with perfect harmony. Amen.

 

Friday, November 30th, 2018
John 21:4-14
4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ 6He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Advent Faith Practice: What gives you peace? Thank God for peaceful things and share that peace with someone you meet today.

Prayer: Beloved of my deepest self, help me to remember today that you are an unfailing guide, showing me the way through all of life’s events into the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

 Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Philippians 2:1-8
2If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8   he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Advent Faith Practice: Pick up trash or litter around your neighborhood or another public place (park, school yard, etc.) today, making peace with God’s good creation.

Prayer: God of Wondrous Ways, in the confusion of commerce and over years of myth-making, it is easy for my mind to wander from the intention of Christmas. Open my mind and heart to the truth that is hiding in plain sight: Jesus’ birth is a demonstration of what you wish to do through each of us. Amen.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 17-18
10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.12What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?  17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Advent Faith Practice: Who in our community might be in special need of a note, a call, or a visit? Make a plan today to check in on that person.

Prayer: Abba, Father, unwrap the layers of my heart in these Advent days so I can more clearly see the presence of your Christ in both friend and stranger. Amen.