Advent in the Psalms

					                           HILLSBORO PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH



           2012 ADVENT DEVOTIONAL




               ADVENT	
  IN	
  THE	
  PSALMS
In Advent we enter a season    These daily devotions        We hope you enjoy this
of waiting as we anticipate    include three parts:         collection from our elders
the Messiah’s coming. This     Scripture, Reflection, and    and ministry staff. And this
devotional is a tool for our   Prayer. Further lectionary   Advent, we pray you’re led
Advent journey together.       reading is also included.    to the Christ child.




       SCRIPTURE                       REFLECTION                       PRAYER
                       December 2, 2012
                   The First Sunday of Advent
                                 It’s Worth the Wait!
                                                                             RE F LEC TI ON
                                     Chris Adams
        SCR I P T UR E
                             Christmas is big in my family.
                            My parents worked hard not to
                            spoil us at other times of the
                            year. However, when Christmas
                            came they went all out. I             good at waiting. We want what
                            remember being surprised even         we want, and we want it now.
MAKE ME TO KNOW             as a child at how extravagant my      However, I wonder if in our
    YOUR WAYS, O            mom and dad were with gifts for       rush, we strip away the
  L O RD; TE ACH ME         my sister and brother and me.         possibility of the kind of
 YO U R PATHS . L EA D      Christmas morning was filled           excitement that can only come
ME IN YOUR TRUTH,           with the kind of excitement that      after a long season of
AND TE ACH ME , F O R       can only come after a long            anticipation. The anticipation in
 YO U ARE T HE G O D        season of anticipation. In fact, my   Advent is not about denying
 O F MY S A LVATI O N;      folks never even had to hide gifts    ourselves or being pious by
F O R YO U I WA I T A L L
                            because they knew we would            hiding our joy. It is simply
      DAY LONG.
                            never have tried to find them.         preparing our hearts and minds
   PSALM 25:4-5
                            We didn’t want to know since          again for the absolute joy of
                            that would spoil the surprise of      receiving Jesus Christ again on
                            Christmas morning.                    Christmas morning.
                             The season of Advent is a
                            season of anticipation too. Our
                            fast-paced culture is not very




                                   Lord, grant us the                                PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                  hopeful serenity of
      READING:
     ISAIAH 1:1-9;                waiting for you and
    2 PETER 3:1-10;                 your joy. Amen.
   MATTHEW 25:1-13
                   December 3, 2012
             Monday, The First Week of Advent
                              When I’m Not Looking...
                                                                              RE F LEC TI ON
                                     Marla Albert
        SCR I P T UR E
                             I am great at establishing
                            systems for organizing things.
                            Unfortunately, I’m not as
                            proficient at maintaining those
                            systems. For months my laundry        repaired. Someone had sewn up
                            sorter was torn at the handle.        the fabric with a golden colored
I WAITED PAT IENT LY        Clothes spilled onto the floor         thread. I remembered Michael’s
 F O R THE L O RD ; H E     and the ones that stayed in the       time in the laundry room and
   INCL INED TO ME          bag were difficult to retrieve as it   asked him about it. In his words,
    AND HE A RD MY          collapsed. My attempt to have         “It was ripped, so I sewed it up
  CRY.  HE DR EW ME         the boys sort their own laundry       for you.” God works patiently
     UP F RO M T H E        was not very effective. As I was      and constantly in my life, often
 DE SO L AT E PIT,  O U T   working in the kitchen one day,       answering prayers that I could
     O F TH E MI RY         my eight-year-old son Michael         not articulate. As I reflect, I can
  BO G ,  AND SE T MY
                            was supposed to be taking care        see the many ways that he has
     F EET UPO N A
                            of his chores. But I realized he’d    been at work in my life and in
 RO C K,  MA KI NG MY
                            taken nearly thirty minutes to        our world. He has repaired
  S TEPS SE CU RE .  HE
                            sort his laundry. Why can’t young     relationships, healed wounds, and
  PUT A NEW SONG
                            boys just get the work done and       comforted fears. There is a
  IN MY MO UTH ,  A
                            move on? Later that evening           golden thread beautifully weaving
SON G OF P RA I S E TO
                            when I finally had time to put in      through time, knitting together
       O U R G O D.
                            a load of clothes, I was surprised    what was once broken.
  PSALM 40:1-3A
                            to see that the handle had been



                               God, open our eyes to                                 PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                 the work you are
        READING:
     ISAIAH 1:10-20;           doing in our midst. Fill
1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-10;        our hearts with a song
       LUKE 20:1-8                of praise. Amen.
                  December 4, 2012
           Tuesday, The First Week of Advent
                                      God Is...
                                                                            RE F LEC TI ON
                                   Ron Arildsen
        SCR I P T UR E
                            If you are like me, the beautiful
                          music of Christmas has
                          significance on several levels:
                          spiritual, aesthetic, and
                          emotional. Each Christmas I           Creator/Savior. God knew what
                          enjoy this special music, and I       we needed for a full life, and he
 HAPPY A R E T H O SE     have happy memories, as I recall      sent Christ as the embodiment
WHO S E HEL P IS T HE     enjoying it in years past,            of his divinity. “The Word became
      GOD OF              particularly with those I love.       flesh and dwelt among us...” and
  J ACO B,  W HO S E      One of these pieces that has          Christ tells us, “He who has seen
  HO PE IS I N T HE       special significance for me is         me has seen the Father.” Even
LORD THEIR GOD…           Handel’s Messiah. Recall with me      so, God in Christ not only shows
   PSALM 146:5            the moving passage: “His Name         us the way, he is the Way. He not
                          shall be called Wonderful,            only reveals to us the truth, he is
                          Counselor, the mighty God, the        the Truth. He doesn’t just show
                          everlasting Father, the Prince of     us how to live, he is the Life. He
                          Peace.” God speaking to us            doesn’t just show us where to
                          through the scriptures                hide from life’s storms, he is our
                          apparently puts great significance     Refuge. Likewise, God doesn’t
                          on these names that give us a         just hand us a self-help manual,
                          glimpse into his nature, the          the psalmist claims that God is
                          nature of our awe-inspiring           our Help.




                             Dear God, you are our                                 PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                              help in this world and
       READING:
     ISAIAH 1:21-31;         the next. In this Advent
1 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12;        season, increase our
      LUKE 20:9-18              trust in you. Amen.
                 December 5, 2012
          Wednesday, The First Week of Advent
                               Wow! What a Beautifully
                                Created World by an             RE F LEC TI ON
         SCR I P T UR E          All-Powerful Maker!
                                     Scott Brunette
                              With my human mind, I
                             wonder how God can know us
                             and everyone in the world and
                             everyone who has ever lived--in
 THE M IG H TY ON E ,
                             our entirety, inside and out. I
   G O D T H E L O R D,
                             turn on the television to the
      SPEAKS A ND
                             science and history channels and
    S UMMO NS TH E
                             see the handiwork of a creator
  EARTH F RO M T HE
                             who has made the solar system;
 RIS ING O F T H E SUN
                             the human, animal, and plant
  TO I T S S E T T I N G .
                             bodies; and the world with such
 O UT O F ZI O N, T HE
                             intricacies and order.
   PERFECTION OF
     BEAUT Y, G O D           Our great God can do
   S HIN ES F ORT H.         anything. He has done
   PSALM 50:1-2              everything. With him nothing is
                             impossible! God, who knows us
                             absolutely, shines forth on
                             everything he has made.




                                 Dear God, thank you                 PRAYER
  FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                 for loving us so much
        READING:
      ISAIAH 2:1-4;               that you’ve given us
1 THESSALONIANS 2:13-20;        such a gorgeous world
      LUKE 20:19-26                 in which to live.
                   December 6, 2012
            Thursday, The First Week of Advent
                                  He Delights in Us!
                                                                             RE F LEC TI ON
                                     Ben Cannon
        SCR I P T UR E
                             It was the same every year
                            when my family would turn the
                            bend on Route 128 and see
                            Blue Hill in the distance. This
                            meant that my grandparents            and engulfing squeeze. They
                            were just minutes away. The car       almost had the gate of the trailer
     I LOVE YO U, O         was loaded with Christmas gifts       shut and locked when Gramps
        L O R D, MY         and, after a long day and a half on   saw us running. Taking no time to
   S TRENG T H . T HE       the road, the energy level was at     double check the bolt, Gramps
 L O R D I S M Y RO C K ,   a maximum. My brothers and I          turned to greet us with open
 MY F O RTR ES S, A ND      argued over whose turn it was         arms. “Take it from here fellas,
 MY DEL IV ER ER , MY       to sit in dad’s lap and steer down my boys are coming!”
 G O D, M Y RO C K I N      the winding farm road to meet
     WHO M I TA KE                                               Those poor farmhands spent
                            Gramps who was working in the
REFU GE , M Y SH IE L D,                                       the rest of the afternoon
                            dell. This particular day, Gramps
AN D T HE H ORN OF                                             rounding the cows back into the
                            and his crew of five men had
 MY SALVATI O N, MY                                            trailer. Looking back on it now, I
                            spent the entire morning
   S TRO NG HO L D. I                                          don’t remember any gifts that I
                            wrestling cows into a trailer to
   C AL L U PO N THE                                           received that Christmas, but I do
                            transport them to another
    L O RD, W HO I S                                           remember that moment--when
                            pasture on the farm. As soon as
   WO RTH Y TO B E                                             my grandfather showed me and
                            our car rolled to a stop, it was a my brothers what unconditional
PRAISED, SO I SHALL
                            race between the three brothers
BE SAVED F RO M MY                                             and uninterrupted love looks
                            to be greeted by his strong arms
        EN EM IES .                                            like.
   PSALM 18:1-3
                                  Lord, you are the
 FURTHER LECTIONARY              strength of our life.                               PRAYER
       READING:                Thank you for showing
     ISAIAH 2:5-22;             us your unconditional
1 THESSALONIANS 3:1-13;
     LUKE 20:27-40             love through your son,
                                     Jesus Christ.
                    December 7, 2012
             Friday, The First Week of Advent
                                        HELP!
                                                                            RE F LEC TI ON
                                  Shawn Cothran
        SCR I P T UR E
                           Sometimes I fool myself into
                          thinking that I am immune to
                          doing this sin or that sin. I think
                          sometimes when King David
                          cries for help, it is for rescue      that I am. Jesus came to be my
                          from himself, his own sinful          advocate, my savior, my
HEA R MY PR AYE R, O      nature. The man prone to              redeemer, not just for fun, but
L O RD ; L E T MY CRY     adultery, as with Bathsheba, was      because without him I really am
C OM E TO YO U.   DO      the very “man after God’s own         lost. Thank God for the
  NOT HI DE YO UR         heart.” I think part of the reason    scriptures, filled with broken
 FAC E F RO M ME  I N     is David’s self-awareness; he         people just like us, crying out for
  THE DAY O F MY          wasn’t perfect, but he was            help.
D IS TRESS.  INC L I NE   absolutely aware of his
    YOUR EAR TO           shortcomings.
  ME; ANS W ER ME
                           THAT is what God wants from
  S PEEDILY I N T HE
                          me, from us! To acknowledge
DAY WHEN I C ALL.
                          that we are flawed, broken
 PSALM 102:1-2
                          people in need of a savior. In this
                          Christmas season, remember
                          why God sent Jesus--because we
                          NEED him. I am in desperate
                          need of salvation, wretched man




                             God, be that help now!                                PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                              Thank you for being
       READING:
     ISAIAH 3:1-4:1;          my ever-present help
1 THESSALONIANS 4:1-12;      in time of need. Amen.
     LUKE 20:41-21:4
                      December 8, 2012
              Saturday, The First Week of Advent
                                        Our God Is
                                     an Awesome God!                             RE F LEC TI ON
          SCR I P T UR E
                                        Linda Diguette
                                 A new wardrobe! Browns and
                                grays are in, shorter lengths (of
                                days), and stark accessories!
                                How easily we grow accustomed        Lingering to admire its beauty, I
                                to our surroundings and dulled       was reminded of the creativity of
  L O RD, YO U H AV E
                                to things that are familiar.         God. Of his everlasting nature
      BE EN O U R
                                Although God’s glory is clearly      compared to the brevity of my
DW E L L I N G P L AC E   I N
                                displayed all around us,             own and the flowers. Of his
 ALL GE NER ATI ON S. 
                                sometimes the busyness of            ever-new ways to commune
     BE F O RE THE
                                everyday life blocks our view. We    intimately with those created in
 MO UNTA INS W E RE
                                take for granted his amazing         his own image.
      BRO UG H T
                                work in our lives. We forget the        If created things are so utterly
  F O RTH,  O R EV ER
                                privilege of being his child. We     lovely, how gloriously beautiful must
 YO U HAD F O R MED
                                neglect the pleasure of his                 be he who made them!
  THE EART H A ND
                                presence and miss the beauty of               -Anthony of Padua
 THE WO RLD,  FROM
                                his creation.
  E VE RL AS T IN G TO
 E VE RL AST ING YO U             On a cold, rainy day recently, I
       ARE GO D.                received a vase of fresh flowers.
   PSALM 90:1-2                 It was bursting with color,
                                perfectly arranged and its
                                fragrance filled the house.




                                    Lord, open my eyes                                   PRAYER
  FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                    that I may respond
        READING:
      ISAIAH 4:2-6;                     joyfully and
1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18;           wholeheartedly to your
       LUKE 21:5-19                 creation and calling.
                   December 9, 2012
              The Second Sunday of Advent
                               A Baby’s Promise
                                                                         RE F LEC TI ON
                                   Amy Dillon
       SCR I P T UR E
                          Five years ago, I became a
                         mother and lost my grandfather
                         both within the space of a
                         week. My family struggled with
                         conflicting emotions associated        How beautiful, then, that God
                         with life passing and beginning. A   comes to us at Christmas as a
 THE EARTH I S TH E      newborn’s presence at family         baby. We are reminded that
  LORD'S AND ALL         gatherings after Papaw’s passing     despite the losses or
 THAT IS I N IT, T H E   somehow relieved the sense of        disappointments we experience,
WO RL D, A ND TH O S E   loss we could not escape, even       in him new life is always possible. 
  WHO L I VE IN I T;     though we knew that his
    FOR HE HAS           suffering had ended and he was
 FOUNDED IT ON           with God. It is difficult for most
   THE S EA S , A ND     of us to contain feelings of joy
ES TABLIS HE D I T O N
                         and delight in the presence of a
    THE R I VE RS .
                         small child for he or she
  PSALM 24:1-2
                         embodies all the hope and
                         expectation of life at its
                         beginning--a human being full of
                         potential for all the things that
                         God has created us to be. 




                                  God, may we                                    PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                             remember this Advent
      READING:
    ISAIAH 5:1-7;              season and always
   2 PETER 3:11-18;          that you are the giver
    LUKE 7:28-35                  of life. Amen.
                   December 10, 2012
           Monday, The Second Week of Advent
                                Life at Christmas Is Not
                                 Always Currier & Ives,                       RE F LEC TI ON
         SCR I P T UR E             Holly & Mistletoe
                                      David Dingler
                               During this pre-Christmas
                              week in 1967, my Hero Dad
                              died suddenly of a heart attack.    search for and find that truer
                              This same week in 2003, as our      center. We are called to praise
G R E AT I S T H E L O R D,
                              daughter Mollie Anne was            God’s mighty acts. On this day,
AND G REATLY TO B E
                              excitedly preparing to study in     let us praise God for his mighty
     PRAISE D ; HI S
                              Spain, my business world was        act, his greatest gift--the birth of
    G RE AT NE SS IS
                              shattered. I was knocked to my      Jesus Christ.
   U N SEAR C HA B LE .
                              knees when a betrayal and legal      Jesus certainly faced many
 O N E G E N E R AT I O N
                              mess began on exactly the same      challenges in his life--he’s our
 S HAL L L AUD YO U R
                              day as my dad’s passing. I still    role model, after we are knocked
       WO R K S TO
                              often feel a sense of loss and      down, he helps us Get Back Up
   ANOTHE R,  A ND
                              emptiness during the Christmas      and Push On!!
   SHAL L D ECL A R E
                              season. I suspect I am not alone.
YOUR MIGHTY ACTS.
  PSALM 145:3-4                I think these experiences also
                              make me less susceptible to the
                              commercial and marketing hype
                              during the holiday season. So I
                              look for a different “center.”
                              Here the psalmist can help us all



                                    Lord, help us all                                 PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                 remember that Jesus is
       READING:
     ISAIAH 5:8-17;              the real reason for the
1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-11;                  season.
     LUKE 21:20-28
                 December 11, 2012
         Tuesday, The Second Week of Advent
                                 In the Gray Area
                                                                          RE F LEC TI ON
                                   Juliana Ericson
        SCR I P T UR E
                             It’s easy to see who is the
                           good guy and who’s the bad guy
                           in a movie. The story is set up
                           to make it easy for us to judge
                           them: black or white, good or       supportive love may be beyond
                           bad.                                my comprehension but
  IF THE L O RD HA D
                            It is trickier when the story is   nevertheless I am confident it is
NOT BEEN MY HELP,
                           us and we’re in the gray area--     there. I can’t even imagine a
   MY SO UL WO UL D
                           not necessarily when we’ve been     world, a hell, where I could no
  S O O N HAVE L I VE D
                           obviously good or bad, but when     longer hear the voice of God--
   IN TH E LA N D OF
                           we’ve been foolish, silent when     such an unbelievably sad thought.
   SIL E NCE. W HE N I
                           witnessing an injustice, or any
    T HO UG H T, " MY
                           other invisible obstruction to
 F O OT IS SL IPPING , "
                           our innocence. These are times
   YO U R S TEA D FA ST
                           when God’s unfailing grace
L OVE, O L O RD, HE L D
                           shines on us unconditionally,
          ME UP.
                           without our request, maybe even
  PSALM 94:17-18
                           without our gratitude.
                           Sometimes I can hear these
                           whispers, although I can’t make
                           out the words, but he never
                           gives up. This unrelenting




                                Sweet Father, thank                              PRAYER
  FURTHER LECTIONARY
                               you for your steadfast
        READING:
     ISAIAH 5:18-25;              love even in my
1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-28;         ignorance. Amen.
      LUKE 21:29-38
              December 12, 2012
      Wednesday, The Second Week of Advent
                                The Joy of Giving
                                                                         RE F LEC TI ON
                                    Don Fiete
        SCR I P T UR E
                           When I was a child, I looked
                          forward with great excitement
                          to Christmas and the presents
                          that came with the occasion. In
                          fact, at my youngest age, we        anonymously so the receiver
                          would write letters to Santa        could truly feel blessed without
HE D ETER MINES TH E      Claus and advise him what gifts     having to acknowledge
   NUMBER O F TH E        we expected for Christmas--and      someone’s generosity.
S TARS;  HE GIV ES TO     I admit I was seldom
                                                               This is the true meaning of
AL L O F TH EM T H EI R   disappointed. But as I grew         Christmas: God gave us his son
  NAMES .  G RE AT IS     older, I became aware that a        as a great gift for all mankind.
   O UR L O RD, A ND      greater joy was experienced in
    A BUN DA NT IN                                            And we have the opportunity to
                          the giving of gifts and the
      POWER ;  H IS                                           keep the spirit of this gift by
                          happiness that came to both
U NDERSTA ND I NG I S                                         living a life that his son models.
                          persons receiving the gift as well
 BE YON D M EA S U RE .                                       That is the reason we so truly
                          as myself as the giver. And even
  PSALM 147:4-5                                               love Hillsboro church, as it
                          greater happiness when I became
                                                             personifies the gift-giving
                          involved in giving to those
                                                             associated with this spirit.
                          individuals who, because of
                          whatever circumstances, were in
                          need of help. I enhanced my joy
                          of giving by making such gifts




                                Lord, grant us the
 FURTHER LECTIONARY           ability to see the true                            PRAYER
       READING:                  meaning of the
     ISAIAH 6:1-13;
2 THESSALONIANS 1:1-12;
                               Christmas spirit by
     JOHN 7:53-8:11            giving to those who
                                    are in need.
                   December 13, 2012
          Thursday, The Second Week of Advent
                                       Firm Foundation
                                                                                 RE F LEC TI ON
                                       Jody Grantham
          SCR I P T UR E
                                 When I was school age,
                                waiting for Christmas to come
                                sometimes meant big
                                excitement for me as I looked
                                forward to traveling from dad’s      aunts and uncles are gone now.
                                Army assignments in Virginia to      That school-age experience
  F O R G O D A L O NE          Maryville, Tennessee so that we      ended long ago, and I don’t go to
MY SOUL WAITS IN                could spend Christmas in our         Maryville much now. Yet I still
S ILENC E;  F ROM HI M          hometown with all the family.        feel like that foundation under
      C O MES MY                Christmas in Maryville was           me is as strong as ever and
    SALVATIO N.  H E            always the best because it made      sometimes wonder at the
ALON E IS M Y ROCK              me feel extra special. My            mysteries of how that can be. As
        AND MY                  grandparents, aunts, and uncles      I wait for Christmas now, I think
   SALVATIO N,  MY              loved me and treated me as if I      of my Aunt Dorothy who, among
 F O RT R E S S ; I S H A L L
                                were their own. So much love         all my elders was always and to
NEVER BE SHAKEN.
                                from so many people built a          this day is, the rock of our family.
   PSALM 62:1-2
                                foundation under me. As I grew       I see now that the foundation
                                up through the many uprootings       Aunt Dorothy built for me is her
                                of military life, I always knew I    quiet trust in the Lord. I shall
                                had a place, a home, in Maryville.   never be shaken.
                                 All my grandparents, my parents
                                Jack and Sara, and some of those




                                    Lord, you are my rock                                PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                      and my salvation.
       READING:
     ISAIAH 7:1-9;                   Thank you for being
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12;              my firm foundation.
      LUKE 22:1-13
                     December 14, 2012
            Friday, The Second Week of Advent
                                       Hallelujah!
                                                                            RE F LEC TI ON
                                     David Gregory
         SCR I P T UR E
                              Psalm 148 invites all creation
                             to join in praise of the Creator.
                             This psalm is one of a group
                             known as the Hallelujah Psalms.
                             Each begins and ends with the       in the process. When Jennens
                             exclamation, “Praise the            saw the music, he wrote to a
  PRAISE HIM, SUN            Lord!” (or Hallelujah). In our      friend that Handel had “done not
 AND MO O N; PR A IS E       own time the most common            so good as he might and ought
     HIM, A L L YO U         expression of hallelujah comes      to have done.” Nevertheless,
       SHIN IN G             from the beloved oratorio by        Jennens urged Handel to
 STA RS!  PR A IS E HI M ,   George F. Handel. In 1741 a         perform the oratorio in London
    YO U HI G HE S T         wealthy London groupie, Charles     and to pocket the proceeds.
 HE AVENS ,  A ND YO U       Jennens, assembled an anthology     Instead, Handel went to Dublin
 WATE RS AB OV E T H E       of scriptures he called Messiah,    for the winter and debuted the
      HE AV EN S !
                             and pressured Handel, who at        Messiah at Eastertime. Rather
  PSALM 148:3-4
                             the time was ill and out of favor   than retain the profits, Handel
                             with London audiences, to set       donated the money to the
                             the scripture to music. Handel      Society for Relieving Prisoners
                             secluded himself in his study and   and to the charity hospital. The
                             emerged three weeks later with      Messiah has become the most
                             the finished manuscript. Handel      frequently performed choral
                             said, with tears, that he had       music ever written. Nobody
                             experienced a divine encounter      knows Charles Jennens.

                                God, the creator, grant
                                  us the gift to praise                             PRAYER
  FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                you with devotion, and
        READING:
     ISAIAH 7:10-25;                the grace to give
2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-3:5;       ourselves unselfishly to
      LUKE 22:14-30             the betterment of your
                                  creation. Hallelujah.
                   December 15, 2012
          Saturday, The Second Week of Advent
                                     Best Intentions
                                                                             RE F LEC TI ON
                                         Ben Hall
         SCR I P T UR E
                              Sometimes our best intentions
                             can lead us astray. We strive for
                             perfection, but don't define
                             perfection in biblical or even
                             attainable terms.                    be thankful. I won’t do those
                              I saw this in my parents and        things as part of some “to do”
   BL ES SED B E T H E
                             now I see it in myself--especially   list, but I will make them the
L O R D, T H E G O D O F
                             at Christmas. Have you ever          core of the season.
    ISRA EL ,  W H O
                             vowed, “I am going to make this       In Isaiah 8:14, we learn “God is
    AL O NE DO ES
                             holiday perfect”? That seemingly     our Sanctuary.” God does not
     WO NDRO US
                             noble goal can turn this season      expect perfection. He knows
THING S .   B L ESS ED B E
                             into a series of empty tasks.        how flawed we are. He promises
    HIS G L O R IO US
          NAME                This magical season is what we      comfort, strength, and peace.
 F O RE VER ; MAY HI S       make it.  We can buy into the        What could be more perfect?
   G L O RY F IL L THE       commercialized, frantic, and
   WHOLE E A RT H.           ultimately unattainable version of
 A M EN A N D A ME N .       what Christmas should be, or we
 PSALM 72:18-19              can turn to scripture. 
                              My promise to myself this
                             Christmas is to focus on
                             scripture, to pray, to reflect and




                                 Lord, show us the way.
 FURTHER LECTIONARY                Grant us comfort,                                 PRAYER
       READING:                   peace, and strength.
     ISAIAH 8:1-15;              Help us focus on your
2 THESSALONIANS 3:6-18;
     LUKE 22:31-38                 word this holiday
                                     season. Amen.
                    December 16, 2012
                 The Third Sunday of Advent
                           The Sounds of Christmas
                                                                             RE F LEC TI ON
                                    Lisanne Hitt
        SCR I P T UR E
                            I love Christmas. The weekend
                          after Thanksgiving, I go to the
                          attic and take down the large
                          tubs of decorations that I will
                          slowly begin to unwrap and place      favorite. To me, it encompasses
                          around our home. The first box I       not only the emotion of the
 PRAISE HI M W IT H       open is the box containing the        season, but the blueprint for how
TAMBO U RI NE A ND        ornaments, each one a story and       things should be all year long.
DANCE; PRAISE HIM         a memory. In that box also rests      Truly he taught us to love one another,
WITH S TRI NG S A ND      my vast collection of Christmas       His law is love and his gospel is peace.
 PIPE! PRAISE HIM         CDs. Hearing the music of             Chains he shall break, for the slave is
 WITH C LA N GIN G        Christmas always puts me in the       our brother. And in his name all
 C YMB AL S ; PRA I S E   moment of the season. It is           oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of
 HIM WI T H L O UD        something so comforting and           joy in grateful chorus raise we,With all
     CL AS HI N G                                               our hearts we praise his holy name.
                          joyous, just like Christmas. I play
   C YMB A L S!  L ET                                           After Christmas, I put my CDs
                          the music around the house and
EVERYTHI NG TH AT                                               back in their box and into the
                          in my car. I sing aloud in the
 B RE ATHE S PR A IS E                                          attic. It’s not that I am tired of
                          grocery store, the church, the
THE L O R D! PRA I SE                                           the music, it’s just that I want to
                          department store, anywhere I
     THE LO RD !                                                keep them special. I want to feel
                          hear the familiar sounds of
 PSALM 150:4-6
                          Christmas. My favorite Christmas that same way next year when I
                                                           open that box and repeat the
                          song is “O Holy Night.” The
                                                           same ritual.
                          lesser-known third stanza is my



                               Lord, help me to sing                                   PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                   of your joy at
     READING:
   ISAIAH 13:1-13;                Christmas and
  HEBREWS 12:18-19;            throughout the year.
    JOHN 3:22-30                       Amen.
               December 17, 2012
         Monday, The Third Week of Advent
                             The Greatest Gift
                                                                         RE F LEC TI ON
                                  Jen James
      SCR I P T UR E
                        A colleague’s wife recently
                       gave birth to their first child,
                       and the profound change we
                       see in him has touched many of
                       us. This formerly sarcastic and        changed the world for the rest
                       occasionally negative man is           of time!
    MAY G O D B E      flabbergasted by his joy in and
                                                               My friend intends to do
 G RACI O US TO U S    love for his tiny daughter. As we
                                                              everything he possibly can for his
AND BL ES S US A ND    spoke of this new paradigm shift
                                                              new child. What will we do with
MAKE HIS FACE TO       in his life, Paul had tears in his     the gift of Jesus?
 SHINE U P ON U S …    eyes and a grin that stretched
   PSALM 67:1          from ear to ear as he said, “I’ll
                       take a bullet for her!” Truly, there
                       is no greater sign of God’s love
                       than the gift of a precious new
                       life.
                        Mary and Joseph must have felt
                       this same awe and joy at the
                       birth of Jesus. While all children
                       are gifts from God, and every
                       child impacts the world in
                       different ways, the gift of Jesus


                          Heavenly Father, thank
                           you for your greatest                                PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                            gift of Jesus Christ,
      READING:
   ISAIAH 8:16-9:1;       who entered the world
    2 PETER 1:1-11;         as a tiny infant and
    LUKE 22:39-53         taught us how to live,
                              love, and serve.
                 December 18, 2012
           Tuesday, The Third Week of Advent
                               Patience Is a Virtue,
                                    REALLY?                                RE F LEC TI ON
        SCR I P T UR E
                                   Lee Limbird
                           “Our soul waits for the Lord.”
                          REALLY? WAITS? I am not a
                          patient person--I find it hard to
                          wait for anything. In fact, I am not his recent autobiography, Across
                          certain patience is always           That Bridge, his confidence in
  O UR SO UL WA I TS
                          appropriate, given the needs of      crossing that bridge came not
 F O R THE L O RD ; H E
                          our society and lingering            from personal courage, but from
  IS O U R H EL P A ND
                          injustices in our world. But         his faith that God had put all that
SHI EL D.  O UR HE A RT
                          perhaps “waiting for the Lord” is would happen in place, and that
      I S GLA D I N
                          not a passive exercise of            he was in God’s hands if he
  HIM,  BEC AUS E W E
                          patience, but rather a trust in the   survived, and--equally so--if he
TRUST IN H IS HO LY
                          Lord that brings us hope. I was       didn’t. Said another way, with
   NAME. L ET YO UR
                          struck, for example, at the           God in charge, it is only for us to
STEADFAS T LOV E, O
                          response of John Lewis, civil         do our part in faithfulness. What
   L O R D, B E U P O N
                          rights leader and Georgia             better example of faithfulness
   U S ,  EVEN A S W E
                          Congressman, to those who             than Mary, carrying God’s son to
    HO PE I N YOU.
                          extol his courage in walking          birth, and Joseph, choosing to
 PSALM 33:20-22
                          across that bridge in Selma           accept the tidings of angels
                          seeking social justice for people     rather than fleeing? May our
                          of color while staring down the       hearts find this kind of trust in
                          barrel of guns and enduring           God, even in the face of our
                          verbal assaults. As he shares in      faithful impatience.



                              Dear God, give me a                                  PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                             sense of “wait-fullness”
     READING:
   ISAIAH 11:1-9;             and ears to listen for
 EPHESIANS 6:10-20;             your call. Amen.
    JOHN 3:16-21
               December 19, 2012
        Wednesday, The Third Week of Advent
                            God Is Always with You
                                                                        RE F LEC TI ON
                                 Carol Nations
       SCR I P T UR E
                          Some people view the
                         Christmas season as the most
                         exciting time of the year. For
                         others, the holidays may be
                         lonely, filled with grief, or        love, and enrich our lives. He
                         reminiscent of unpleasant           embraces us and protects us
    WO NDRO U SLY        memories. Whether you               every day, kissing our cheeks
     SHOW YO UR          celebrate with gusto, or you        with the gentle breeze, and
STEADFAS T LOV E, O      prefer a simpler approach, God is   watching over us as we sleep,
  SAVI O R O F TH O SE   always with you. Amidst the         unaware of his protection.
WHO SE E K R EF UG E     laughter and the hustle and          Spend time enjoying God our
     F RO M T HE IR      bustle, or the quiet glow of
   ADVERS A RI ES AT                                         divine almighty creator. Know he
                         candlelight, he is with
YOUR RIGHT HAND.                                             specially created you individually
                         you...loving, embracing, and
 G UARD ME A S TH E                                          with unique talents and gifts. He
                         protecting.
 APPL E O F THE EY E ;                                       loves you immeasurably as his
                           God wondrously shows His          child. Be humbled knowing that
   HI DE ME IN TH E
                         love every day in the splendor      you are special in his sight, and
 S HADOW O F YO U R
                         and beauty of his magnificent        he is always with you. Believe in
       WIN G S…
                         creation. He loved us so deeply     the wonder of his love, mercy,
   PSALM 17:7-8
                         he gave us the gift of our Lord     goodness, and grace every day.
                         and Savior Jesus Christ. He gives   Know that he is always with you.
                         us family and friends to enjoy,




                            Dear God, let us savor                              PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                            your love and presence
      READING:
   ISAIAH 11:10-16;         with honor, praise, and
 REVELATION 20:1-10;              glory. Amen.
    JOHN 5:30-47
                   December 20, 2012
            Thursday, The Third Week of Advent
                              Remember Who You Are
                                                                               RE F LEC TI ON
                                     Hudson Neely
         SCR I P T UR E
                              “See you in the funny papers!”
                             Growing up my grandmother
                             often used this lighthearted
                             goodbye. But when I went off to
                             college, she started using a          past. For Israel, then, there is a
                             different farewell. Whenever I        grounded hope that restoration
    WHEN T H E L O R D       came home for a visit, I’d make       will come again in the future.
      RESTO R ED TH E        sure to see her before heading
                                                                    Christmas is a time of
      F O RT U N E S O F     back to school. And as I was
                                                                   remembering, remembering and
 Z IO N,  WE W ER E L I KE   getting in my car, she would          reenacting traditions from years
       THOS E W HO           always say, “Remember who you         or even generations past that
  DREAM.  TH EN O U R        are!” In this section from Psalm
  MO U TH WA S F IL L E D                                        remind us who we are. But at
                             126, the Psalmist is recalling days
WI TH L AU G HT ER   A ND                                        Christmas we also remember
                             past. If you go on to read the
  O U R TO NG UE W I T H                                         who God is and the great things
                             remainder of the Psalm, you see God has done for us, the
SHO U TS OF JOY;  THE N
                             that times are hard for Israel. The greatest being the gift of Jesus
 IT WAS SA ID A MO N G
                             Psalmist is praying for God to
  THE NATIO NS,  “T H E                                          that first Christmas morning.
                             again “restore the fortunes” (v.4)
    L O RD H A S DO NE                                           Christmas is the perfect
                             of Israel. So perhaps it’s not
  G REAT TH ING S F O R                                          opportunity for all of us to
                             surprising that this Psalm begins remember who we are: beloved
T HEM.”  THE L O R D H A S
                             with remembering, remembering children of a loving God who
 D O NE G RE AT T H ING S
                             that the Lord has brought
    F O R US,  A ND W E                                          came to and for us in the birth
                             restoration and rejoicing in the
         REJOI CED.                                              of Emmanuel, God With Us.
    PSALM 126:1-3
                                 Today and every day,                                 PRAYER
  FURTHER LECTIONARY             help us to remember
        READING:                  who you are, loving
     ISAIAH 28:9-22;
  REVELATION 20:11-21:8;         God, and who we are,
       LUKE 1:5-25               your beloved children.
                   December 21, 2012
            Friday, The Third Week of Advent
                            The Gift of Forgiveness
                                                                          RE F LEC TI ON
                                  Stephen Nix
       SCR I P T UR E
                           I was music director/pianist
                         for a music artist on a
                         Christmas tour some years ago
                         and he spoke rather boldly in a
                         concert, “The holidays would be      conversation clearly paints this
                         much more peaceful if we didn’t      awareness.
 IF YO U, O L OR D,      have to visit family and could
                                                                Maybe this holiday season is a
   SHOU L D M A R K      choose the friends for the invite
                                                              time to let go of all of the
IN IQU ITIES ,  LO RD,   list.” At first, I was surprised at
                                                              grudges or a grievance you’ve
    WHO C O UL D         what he said, but years later I      held with a family member or
STAND? B UT T HE RE      began to realize his statement       friend. Give the gift of
  IS F O RG IV ENE S S   holds truth.
WITH YO U,   S O TH AT                                        forgiveness and build a bridge of
                          With all of the seasonal            love to that individual or even
    YO U MAY B E
                         gatherings of family and friends     yourself.
      RE VER ED.
                         and projected expectations at
 PSALM 130:3-4                                                  In forgiveness, you will find joy
                         these events, it’s very easy to      in the celebration and sense an
                         experience a bit of anxiety.
                                                              ineffable peace. It’s how we
                         Sometimes, you can almost taste
                                                              understand how much God loves
                         the feelings in the atmosphere of
                                                              us. Don’t be surprised if you find
                         those who get along and those        yourself singing, “Joy to the
                         who don’t. In my family, body        world...” with a new energy.
                         language among those involved in




                               God of mercy and                                  PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                              grace, this Christmas
      READING:
   ISAIAH 29:9-24;            season may we give
 REVELATION 21:9-24;         the gift of forgiveness.
     LUKE 1:26-38
                   December 22, 2012
            Saturday, The Third Week of Advent
                               Praise as Part of Daily Life
                                                                               RE F LEC TI ON
                                        Rich Shiavi
         SCR I P T UR E
                               Many of the Psalms are
                              prayers asking for God’s help or
                              thanking him for help. The last
                              several, such as Psalm 149, are
                              psalms of praise. As in the two        Let us make time every day to
                              verses for today, the people of       thank God for the goodness that
        PRAIS E T H E         Israel are being encouraged to        we find in our lives.
 L O RD! SING TO T HE         praise God, their maker and
      L O RD A NE W           king. Other verses encourage
   S O NG ,  H IS PR A IS E   people to praise God with song,
I N THE A SS E MB LY OF       music, and musical instrument.
  THE FAI THF UL .  L E T
                               So we also should be praising
  ISRAEL BE GL A D I N
                              God joyfully with song and music
 ITS MAKER ; L E T TH E
                              during parts of the worship
 C HILDREN O F Z IO N
                              service and even in our daily life.
   RE JO ICE I N T HE IR
                              During worship, many of us have
           KING.
                              to “shake-off” the tendency to
    PSALM 149:1-2
                              always be solemn and serious. As
                              is written in the Book of
                              Ecclesiastes, there is a time for
                              joy and a time for solemnness.




                                 Let everything that has                              PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                    breath praise the
      READING:
    ISAIAH 31:1-9;                     Lord. Amen.
REVELATION 21:22-22:5;
     LUKE 1:39-56
                     December 23, 2012
                 The Fourth Sunday of Advent
                                  Jesus Is Here for Us
                                                                              RE F LEC TI ON
                                       Linda Smith
         SCR I P T UR E
                              About a year ago, I was
                             teaching art to a class of 2nd
                             graders. When the students
                             finished their projects, if they
                             had extra time, they were             uncertainty as to Mr.
                             allowed to “draw for fun” or          Melchizedek’s identity or
    THE L O RD HA S          draw whatever the wished on           history. He was some sort of
  S WORN A N D W I LL        extra paper. One little girl began    great king and priest who gave
  NOT C H A NG E HI S        her drawing and then asked me,        wine to Abram. However, like the
  MI ND,  “YO U A RE A       “Ms. Smith, what color is God?”       little girl in my class, we don’t
    PRIEST F O RE VE R       Not wanting to be pinned down         have to worry and ponder over
 ACC OR DIN G TO TH E        on the skin color of the              this fellow and his history. We
       ORDER OF              almighty, I told her that I wasn’t    know who Jesus is and that he is
    MELCHIZEDEK.”            sure. She continued to wrestle        here for us. He is our connection
     PSALM 110:4
                             with the concept for a while          to God. He is the Son of God.
                             until I heard her say, “ Well, I’ll
                             just draw Jesus instead. I KNOW
                             he is brown!”
                              Our Bible passage today affirms
                             that Jesus will forever be a high
                             priest, just like “Melchizedek.”
                             There is apparently some




  FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                  Lord, you are always                               PRAYER
       READING:                   there for us. Help us
    ISAIAH 33:17-22;                to rely on you for
REVELATION 22:6-11, 18-20;         whatever you need.
      LUKE 1:57-66
                           December 24, 2012
                             Christmas Eve
                                Taking Time to Focus
                                                                             RE F LEC TI ON
                                    Rebecca Swan
        SCR I P T UR E
                              Growing up, my family always
                            went to the Christmas Eve
                            Candlelight Service. Our old
                            stone church was beautiful
                            everyday but, when filled with        families. But on that night, the
                            the laughter and love of             focus was exactly where is
 F O R THE L O R D HA S     extended families and friends, it    should be--on celebrating the
  C HO SE N ZI O N; H E     seemed magical. As “Silent Night”    birth of Jesus, the love of God,
HAS DESI RE D I T F O R     filled the air, the lights went off   and the bountiful blessings that
   HIS HA B I TAT ION :     and the candles slowly began to      we have. And I felt that I was in
"THIS I S M Y RE ST IN G    glow, I truly felt God’s presence. I the safest, most perfect place in
          PL ACE            was reminded of the amazing gift the world.
   F O RE VE R; HE RE I     that he gave us on that first
 WIL L RES IDE , F O R I                                          As I reflect on Christmas Eve as
                            Christmas Eve so many years ago
  HAVE D ES I RE D IT.”                                          an adult, I hope that we slow
                            and the many, many blessings in
 PSALM 132:13-14                                                 down a bit, to remember why we
                            my life. My childhood was            celebrate this season. Because
                            peppered with the usual tension
                                                                 God loved us so much that he
                            about homework or grades or
                                                                 gave us his son. I cannot imagine
                            popularity or last-minute holiday
                                                                 a better gift ever.
                            errands and the million other
                            things that children find to
                            disagree about with their



                               Dear Lord, in this busy
                               season of life, may we                                PRAYER
 FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                be reminded daily of
      READING:
    ISAIAH 35:1-10;             your promises to us
REVELATION 22:12-17, 21;        and be ever grateful
     LUKE 1:67-80                for the gift of your
                                  son, Jesus. Amen.
                           December 25, 2012
                             Christmas Day
                                      Perfect Gifts
                                                                               RE F LEC TI ON
                                       Lisa Taylor
        SCR I P T UR E
                             Be still and listen! So simple,
                            yet so difficult! Especially during
                            the Christmas season, I can be
                            easily caught up in busyness, and
                            the desire to get "it" all just         our hearts and reflect for all to
                            right, that I forget where the real     see throughout every day of the
  SAY AMO NG TH E           beauty lies...where the real gifts      year. We have a new beginning!
   NATIO NS , “T HE         are. When I open my heart and           Jesus Christ is born! We can live
L O RD IS KI NG !  T H E    listen for God's love, I can truly...   each day with the hope that God
 WO RL D I S F I RMLY
                             Rejoice! God's love for us is          gives in knowing our lives are
  ESTABL IS HE D; I T
                            vast, larger than words can begin       truly in his hands.
  SHAL L NE VE R BE
                            to describe. His gifts to us are   Rejoice! Live each day with the
  MOVED. HE WILL
                            more "wondermous” (as my          wonder of today.
JUD G E THE PE O PL E S
                            husband likes to say) than we can
WITH EQ UIT Y.” L E T                                          Go out into the world and fear
                            begin to comprehend! God
  THE HEAVE NS B E                                            nothing!
                            knows us better than we know
G L AD, AND L E T TH E
                            ourselves. He knows our needs
EARTH RE JO IC E; L E T
                            and blesses us with all the
THE S EA ROA R, A ND
                            "perfect" gifts...the gifts that
A LL THAT F ILL S I T…
 PSALM 96:10-11             nurture our hearts and souls.
                             The wonder of this Christmas
                            Day is meant for us to carry in



                                 God, fill us with the                                 PRAYER
FURTHER LECTIONARY
                                   wonder of Jesus
     READING:
 ZECHARIAH 2:10-13;               Christ. Help us to
   1 JOHN 4:7-16;               carry your love in our
    JOHN 3:31-36                hearts always. Amen.
HILLSBORO PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
5820 Hillsboro Pike Nashville, TN 37215
            hpcnashville.org

				
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