2010_Manitowoc_Area_Advent_Devotional_booklet by yantingting


									           “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional
           The Christmas Story
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the
world should be registered. This was the first registration and was
taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own
towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth
in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because
he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to
be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was
expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands
of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for
them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping
watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood

                                                                         Jesus Comes
before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they
were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for
see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to
you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the
Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child
wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly        2010 Manitowoc Area
host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the
angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to
                                                                          Advent Devotional
one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that
has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they
went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in
the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been
                                                                                Provided by Manitowoc Prays
told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at                http://manitowocprays.blogspot.com
what the shepherds told them.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.       “Jesus Comes”, The 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional,
                                                                        may be freely copied and distributed as long as it is not modified
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they        and all author attributions and contact information remain intact.
had heard and seen, as it had been told them.      (Luke 2:1-20)
           “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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           Contact Information                                                        Saturday, December 25, 2010
                                                                                Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Luke 2:1-20

Manitowoc Prays blog
http://manitowocprays.blogspot.com/                                But the angel said to them, „Do not be afraid; for see—I
                                                                   am bringing you good news of great joy for all the
                                                                   people: to you is born this day in the city of David a
Particpating Churches                                              Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)
Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
1921 Adams St., Two Rivers, WI 54241          793-3917             Charlie Brown cries out in frustration, “ Does anyone
Website: www.calvarytr.org                                         know what Christmas is all about?” Linus responds by
Email: office@calvarytr.org
                                                                   quoting from the King James Version of Luke 2.
Faith Lutheran Church
255 Roosevelt St., Valders, WI 54245          775-4141
Website: www.faithlutheranchurchvalders.org
                                                                   Imagine Linus standing on the stage, saying, “Fear
Email: faith21@tds.net                                             not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
Pastor Jim Rasmus: pjrasmus@tds.net                                which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this
First Presbyterian Church                                          day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the
502 N. 8th Street, Manitowoc WI 54220       682-4688               Lord.”
Website: www.FPCfamily.com
Email: firstpresmtwc@sbclgobal.net                                 That, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.”
Pastor Matt Sauer: matthewsauer@sbcglobal.net
First Reformed United Church of Christ                             As you gather today with friends or family or your
3613 Waldo Blvd., Manitowoc, WI 54220         682-6121
Website: www.frucc-manitowoc.org
                                                                   church community, you might find yourself caught up
Email: fruccmanitowoc@milpc.com                                    in the meal or the presents or the details of leading
Lakeshore United Methodist Church                                  worship or many other things. You might find yourself
411 Reed Ave., Manitowoc, WI 54220           682-6311              wondering if there isn’t something more to Christmas
Website: www.lakeshoreunitedmethodistchurch.org                    than all of the trappings that come with the celebration.
Email: secretary.kim@lakeshoreunitedmethodistchurch.org
Pastor Tom Dunham pastor.tom@lakeshoreunitedmethodistchurch.org    Remember Linus, standing upon that stage, and
St. James Episcopal Church                                         remember the good news of great joy which is given
434 N. 8th St., Manitowoc, WI 54220        684-8256                also to you.
Website: www.stjamesmanitowoc.com
Email: info@stjamesmanitowoc.com
Pastor Diane Murray: dianemarie.murray@gmail.com
St. John’s United Church of Christ
1501 Marshall St., Manitowoc, WI 54220        682-3817
Website: building web site                                         Pastor Kay Richter
Email: stjohns@lsol.net                                            Calvary Lutheran Church, Two Rivers
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                   Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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          Friday, December 24, 2010
          Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]                       Jesus Comes
                                                                             2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional
Christmas is the birthday of Jesus. Although we
                                                                       Welcome to “Jesus Comes”, the 2010 Manitowoc Area
celebrate the birth of Jesus, in this season, our                      Advent Devotional, provided by Manitowoc Prays, a
festivities are rarely focused on the nativity.                        collaborative effort of people of faith in the Manitowoc County
                                                                       area. Laypersons and clergy of all ages have shared their
Mostly it’s a time of gathering with family and loved                  thoughts and reflections for this season of preparation.
ones. But we need to carry this on, throughout the rest
of the year; a time to put away our differences, and                   We want to remind ourselves Jesus has come into the
start a whole “new year” anew.                                         world, as well as our lives. Each of us has come to
                                                                       experience Jesus in our lives in different ways. We also
We should celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior,                  yearn for the world to come to know Jesus, who has
Jesus Christ. It should be a time to thank the Lord for                entered into the world in diverse ways. This is the joy of
what he has done for us.                                               Christmas: Jesus has come, Jesus is coming.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and                  It is our hope that this booklet will offer a unique opportunity
good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)                                     for our community to pray and prepare for the coming of
                                                                       Jesus in one accord. And we hope this devotional inspires
                                                                       others to participate in future ecumenical collaborations.

                                                                       Thank you to all the contributing members, clergy, and
                                                                       friends from the following churches:
                                                                              Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Two Rivers
                                                                              Faith Lutheran Church, Valders
                                                                              First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc
                                                                              First Reformed United Church of Christ, Manitowoc
                                                                              Lakeshore United Methodist Church, Manitowoc
                                                                              St. James Episcopal Church, Manitowoc
                                                                              St. John’s United Church of Christ, Manitowoc

                                                                       Special thanks to the Rev. Matt Sauer (First Presbyterian
                                                                       Church) and Tony Karl (St James Episcopal Church) for
                                                                       their work in gathering, editing, and publishing this material.
Jenny Sittman
St. John's United Church of Christ, Manitowoc                          God bless you in this Advent season as “Jesus Comes”!
        “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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                                                                                   Thursday, December 23, 2010
         First Week of Advent                                             2 Samuel 7:18, 23-29, Galatians 3:6-14, Luke 1:46b-55

The people walking in darkness                                  My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in
have seen a great light; on those                               God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the
living in the land of the shadow of                             lowliness of his servant. (Luke 1:46b-48)
death a light has dawned. (Isaiah
9:20)                                                           By December 23rd, the life of a pastor gets very busy.

Loving God, we seek you in both                                 To be honest it is easy to get so focused on worship
the light and the darkness, the                                 preparations and end of the year needs that we forget
silence and the sounds, the fullness and emptiness of           the real meaning of Christmas. You can imagine how
this Advent season. Fill our hearts with hope for your          low it makes pastors feel when we realize that even we
coming, love for those who are most in need, and faith          have forgotten to take time to reflect on “reason for the
in your promises. May this time of waiting help us              season.”
celebrate the birth of your Son with deep peace,
gratitude and abundant joy. We ask this in the name of          It is helpful for me to read the words of Mary’s prayer
Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.                            because they remind me that the lowliest in the world
                                                                have found the favor of God. In other words, those of
                                                                us who are not perfect have still found favor with God!
The Meaning of Advent
                                                                Perhaps you also find yourself so busy you have
Our word Advent comes from the Latin adventus,                  forgotten to let your soul magnify God and you spirit
meaning “coming.     This season is the period of               rejoice in the Savior. Don’t worry it is never too late.
preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus           God looks with favor upon us lowly, imperfect, over
Christ. In Western Christianity, it refers to the four          worked, over worried, over tired servants!
weeks before Christmas and begins on the fourth
Sunday before Christmas. (In Eastern Christianity the           Dear God, as we prepare for you being born anew in
equivalent is The Nativity Fast, which differs in both          the world and our lives help us to make the time to
length and observances.                                         remember all the blessings you have given us. AMEN

The Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek
parousia, often used in reference to the Second
Coming. We believe that Advent is a reminder both of
the original waiting for the Messiah as well as waiting         The Rev. Dr. Matthew L. Sauer
for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.                          First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                 Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Wednesday, December 22, 2010                                                      Sunday, November 28, 2010
         Isaiah 33:17-22, Revelation 22:6-7, 18-20, Luke 1:46b-55        Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44

“It came upon a midnight clear, …”                                  This night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let
“Love came down at Christmas, …”                                    us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on
“The first Noel the angel did say …”                                the armor of light. (Romans 13:12)

Songs of Christmas fill my heart as the blessed birth of            As Advent begins we prepare for Christ’s coming.
the Christ child once more comes close.                             During his life on earth Jesus has taught us how live:
                                                                    Love your neighbor as yourself. Love the Lord your
My nephew’s wife recently gave birth to their first child.          God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Each day we
Days of preparation for the new arrival. Expectation of             try to be the light as Jesus was the light. Let this little
the life-changes a new baby brings. Hopes for a life still          light of mine shine in the love I show to others. Shine
very much in the formative stages. Excitement and                   in the hope I share. Shine in the positive outlook on
assurance. The uneasiness inexperience and the                      life. In that way I can try to diffuse the darkness. Stop
unknown bring.                                                      the evil deeds and negativity.

And then, all the family rejoiced at the wonderful news             Lord, help me each day to follow your teachings, to be
“All is well, mother and son resting.”                              your servant and let the light shine. So that when the
                                                                    Lord comes at the day of reckoning, I will be prepared
How like the description of the arrival of the “hope of             just as I am prepared to celebrate your birth.
the world.” Mary’s heart filled with song at the                    “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which
magnificence of God’s glad blessing in her life and to              day your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42)
all the world.

Truly, this is a time of “Joy to the world! The Lord is

The Rev. Thomas J. Dunham                                           Bev Wallace
Lakeshore United Methodist Church, Manitowoc                        First Reformed United Church of Christ, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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          Monday, November 29, 2010                                                  Tuesday, December 21, 2010
          Genesis 8:1-19, Romans 6:1-11, Psalm 124                         Genesis 21:1-21, Galatians 4:21-5:1, 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Advent is a new beginning. It may not look like it               Christ Comes… in our Barrenness
starting so late in the Fall of the calendar year. Nature
(at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) appears to            Today, we hear the story of Hannah: a woman scorned,
be in the descent of death and dormancy. Animals are             taunted, barren despite years of unfulfilled hope. In her
in the midst of hibernation. Vegetation is in decay. The         distress, she turns to God and presents her longing for
landscape is bare, cold and perhaps covered with the             a child with anguish and bone-deep despair.
first layer of snow. There is very little that would give
the observer an awareness of the promise of life. Yet,           And in the midst of total absence, God comes. Samuel,
with the hope and persistence of Noah looking over a             one of the Old Testament’s greatest prophet/priests, is
watery horizon, sending out the birds of the air to scout        born. Then, in great love and thankfulness, he is
for signs of life, we search our spiritual surroundings,         offered back by Hannah in service to her faithful God.
across both external and internal landscapes to find
signs of God’s promise of life and growth. That is the           Again, and again the story is retold. The God of lost
spirit of beginning that can be experienced and                  causes and broken dreams grants vibrant life in the
nurtured in this season of Advent. The Readings point            people of faith, transforming the barrenness of great
us to the assurances expressed in the liturgical                 faith mothers, Sarah, Rebeka, Rachel and Elizabeth.
baptismal prayer:
                                                                 Then another child comes: the Father’s own precious
       We Thank you God, for the gift of creation called         child, dedicated instead to serving us, the ultimate
forth by your saving Word. Before the world had shape            offering of parent-love.
and form, your Spirit moved over the waters. Out of the
Waters of the deep, you formed the firmament and                 Often, I’ve found times of bleak barrenness are the
brought forth the earth to sustain all life.                     fallow, fertile grounds that prepare us for God’s coming
       In the time of Noah, you washed the earth with            gifts…gifts we can only appreciate through silent
the waters of the flood, and your ark of salvation bore a        waiting and longing.
new beginning.
       In the fullness of time, you sent Jesus Christ,           So it is this day. Come, Lord Jesus.
who was nurtured in the water of Mary‟s womb.
       Jesus was baptized by john in the water of the
Jordan, becoming living water……

The Rev. James Klein                                             Kim Bremer
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Manitowoc                    Faith Lutheran Church, Valders
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Monday, December 20, 2010                                                  Tuesday, November 30, 2010
         Genesis 17:15-22, Galatians 4:8-20, 1 Samuel 2:1-10                     Genesis 9:1-17, Hebrews 11:32-40, Psalm 124

God said to Abraham, “I will bless Sarah, and I will give        We don’t have time! There are too many stories to tell.
you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give           There are too many saints, too many people of faith,
rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from                too many whom God called to serve; we cannot tell all
her.” (Genesis 17:15-16)                                         of their stories. And you have a story of faith, too.

Tomorrow, December 21, is my birthday. In 2008, I                The people mentioned in Hebrews 11 are ordinary
spent my birthday, and Christmas, waiting for my baby            people who lived ordinary lives, until God called them
brother Joshua to be born. I did not know what it                to serve in extraordinary ways. Gideon was a farmer.
would be like, but I knew I wanted a baby brother very           David was a shepherd. Neither one had any special
much. He is pretty neat, even though he gets on my               qualities. Neither one was perfect or perfectly obedient
nerves. I do not know what he will grow up to be, but I          to God’s call. In fact, Gideon was afraid to go into
know I love him.                                                 battle, and David had that little incident with
                                                                 Bathsheba. God called them anyway.
Sarah, and Mary, Jesus’ mom, did not know what their
baby boys would grow up like, either. They figured               Consider your life – your everyday activities. Look
God knew. We know that baby Jesus will grow up to be             closely. Where do you see God working in your life?
our King, Messiah, Savior, Friend, and Doctor. We                Where do you see God working through you for
have to try to remember that at Christmas.                       others?    How has God called you to serve in
                                                                 extraordinary ways?
We may not know what we will all grow up to be, but we
know we are a child of God.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being a baby and making us
all children of God. AMEN!

Olivia G. Sauer (age 10, almost 11!)
First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc                             Calvary Lutheran Church, Two Rivers
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional               Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Wednesday, December 1, 2010                                                      Sunday, December 19, 2010
         Isaiah 54:1-10, Matthew 24: 23-35, Psalm 124            Isaiah 7:10-16, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-25

Enlarge the site of your tent,                                   God spoke to Noah and asked him to do something
And let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;       very difficult. Noah listened, and heeded the Word of
Do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen             God without hesitation.
your stakes. (Isaiah 54:2, NRSV)
                                                                 What this story tells to me is that faith in God is
Each year we hear of Advent as a time of preparation.            everything, and even when God asks us to do what
Often that message comes as a comparison between                 seems like an extremely difficult or impossible thing,
the hectic cacophony of commercial Christmastime,                we must have faith to fulfill the mission and trust that
and an interior, quiet, “drawing in” by the followers of         God will help us with the struggle.
Christ – as if preparing for the birth of our Savior can
best be done by retreating into a quiet place.                   At my age (nearly 70), I have experienced some difficult
                                                                 times. One of the most difficult was the premature
In this verse, the prophet Isaiah urges us to prepare as         birth of our youngest son, Kirk. He was born with
if we were going to meet up with the whirlwind of the            respiratory infant distress syndrome, and was on a
world: a whirlwind of people from all the corners of the         ventilator for months.
earth who will need shelter, a big tent, a place to live
together -- and a whirlwind of forces beating against            During the four months he was in the Neonatal
us, so that strong cords and tent stakes are necessary           Intensive Care Unit at St. Vincents, my faith wavered.
to protect our newly enlarged family.                            When I finally stopped asking God to make our son
                                                                 well, and put my faith in God completely, a huge weight
As we read on in the passage we discover more advice             was lifted, and my prayer changed to "Help me, Lord, to
and comfort in God’s promises. Isaiah tells us “do not           accept what I cannot change."
fear, for you will not be ashamed.” He assures us with
the word of God: “for the mountains may depart and               Our son is now healthy, and a blessing to us in every
the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not            way.
depart from you.” Pray that we may we receive the
grace we need to enlarge and strengthen our tents and
our hearts.

Anne Schuette                                                    Anita Rappe
St. James Episcopal Church, Manitowoc                            St. Johns United Church of Christ, Manitowoc
        “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                 Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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                                                                                          Thursday, December 2, 2010
         Fourth Week of Advent                                                 Isaiah 4:2-6, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, Acts 1:12-17, 21-26

For the Lord your God is God of                                 (Also, see the hymn: “All Hail to God's Anointed” by James Montgomery).
gods and Lord of lords, the Great
God, mighty and awesome, who                                    The history of God's people provides a wonderful
shows no partiality and accepts no                              timeline of experiences as they looked and prayed for
bribes. He defends the cause of the                             leadership.
fatherless and the widow, and loves
the alien, giving him food and                                  The Psalmist sang a prayer of intercession for an ideal
clothing. And you are to love those                             king whose reign would be just, end oppression, and
who are aliens… (Deuteronomy 10:17-19a)                         be long and prosperous.

Loving God, we seek you in both the light and the               Isaiah speaks a message to reform a sinful Judah and
darkness, the silence and the sounds, the fullness and          Jerusalem.      God's people are promised that they
emptiness of this Advent season. Fill our hearts with           prosper again after God scrubbed the city and people
hope for your coming, love for those who are most in            clean! God will again provide the pillar of cloud/fire as
need, and faith in your promises. May this time of              a gift of protective presence.
waiting help us celebrate the birth of your Son with
deep peace, gratitude and abundant joy. We ask this in          In Acts the Early Church gathered together in prayer for
the name of Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.                the election of a new apostle, to replace Jesus because
                                                                God’s mission must continue.

                                                                Dear God, as a modern Christian community, help us to
                                                                grow in understanding of who You are: may we always
                                                                be in prayer, as we share the promise of Your guidance
                                                                and protective presence; may we always be ready to
                                                                serve the Church as witnesses of Your love, peace and
                                                                protection. As we celebrate the coming of your Son,
                                                                may we carry the light of your love into a darkness that
                                                                often frightens us and overwhelms us. Help us seek
                                                                your guidance in every moment of life. In Jesus' Name,

                                                                Ann and Gary Gold
                                                                First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional             Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Friday, December 3, 2010                                                    Saturday, December 18, 2010
         Isaiah 30:19-26, Acts 13:16-25, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19                2 Samuel 7:23-29, John 3:31-36, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job,          Freedom and Truth are loaded words. There is an irony
urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This           involved when the absolute King (David) gives a prayer
is the right road. Walk down this road.” (Isaiah 30:21,          of thanksgiving for the freedom his subjects enjoy.
The Message)                                                     How much freedom do the people have if they are
                                                                 totally dependent on the benevolence of their
I love my GPS. It has all the maps I need to get from            Sovereign? If they have chosen to be ruled by this
one place to another. I just have to follow the directions       King from freedom they were given are they still free?
it gives me. If I don’t, “Squirrelly” (my favorite of the        Where is truth in this arrangement?
resident voices) chirps: “Ah, nuts! I’ll get us out of
here!”                                                           As the Hebrew people freely chose David as their King,
                                                                 do we in truth chose Christ to have rule in our lives?
The problem is life doesn’t come with a GPS. Isaiah’s            Do we trust that we remain free in this relationship?
“teacher” is not an audible voice that says to us: “In           W.H. Auden stated, “The distresses of choice are our
one-quarter mile turn left” or “That decision will only          chance to be blessed.”
lead to trouble.” So, we have to follow the Bible which
is the road map God has given us. Jesus comes to us              Concerning the life of faith being a matter of choice to
through an inner voice to guide us. Are you listening?           follow with the hope of discovery rather than a
                                                                 decision of certainty with an assurance of destiny the
                                                                 theologian Bultmann writes, “Jesus is the truth; he
                                                                 does not simply state it. One does not come to him to
                                                                 ask about truth; one comes to him as the truth. This
                                                                 truth does not exist as a doctrine, which could be
                                                                 understood, preserved, and handed one, so that the
                                                                 teacher is discharged and surpassed. Rather the
                                                                 position a person takes vis a vis the Revealer decided
                                                                 not whether he knows the truth but whether he is of the
                                                                 truth, “…whether the truth is the ground on which their
                                                                 existence is based.”

Pastor Jim Rasmus                                                The Rev. James Klein
Faith Lutheran Church, Valders                                   St. John’s United Church of Christ, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional              Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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          Friday, December 17, 2010                                                    Saturday, December 4, 2010
          2 Samuel 7:18-22, Galatians 4:1-7, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19                Isaiah 40:1-11, John 1:19-28, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

Let your hand be upon the one at your right hand                   Having taught lower elementary Sunday School for
      The one for whom you made strong for yourself.               many years, I always look forward to introducing John,
      Then we will never turn back from you;                       the Baptist. The children are able to visualize this
Give us life and we will call upon your name                       unusual character who wears animal skins and lives in
      Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;                             the desert. Their eyes open in wonder when we talk
      Let your face shine that we may be saved.                    about locusts being part of his diet.
                                  (Psalm 80:17-19)
                                                                   But, most importantly, we introduce this John as the
Who is there that doesn't cherish that moment when                 person who told people that the Savior, the long-
the clouds are swept away and the full force of the sun            awaited Messiah, was among them. His words echoed
shines down on us? Who can disregard the shining                   those spoken years before by the prophet Isaiah.
face of the bridegroom as he watches the approach of
his bride? Who can forget the love shining from the                Each time, the story is fresh and exciting: “ Prepare ye
face of a mother as she gazes upon her newborn child?              the way of the Lord.” Whether hearing it for the first
                                                                   time as a Sunday School student or as someone who
Like all the faces of love, the shining face of God                has heard it many times before, the message is the
surrounds us with the faith and hope that his love is              same: Open your heart. Make a place for the Son of
with us all. The steadfast love of God is shining down             God. Rejoice! He is coming.
on us all as we prepare to receive the most precious
gift of all. The gift of life, of love, of salvation itself.

Dear and Gracious God, as we approach this
most blessed time, make us worthy to receive the most
precious gift of all. Let your face shine upon us with
your steadfast love. Amen!

Jane Spindler                                                      Barbara Koch
First Reformed United Church of Christ, Manitowoc                  Lakeshore United Methodist Church, Manitowoc
           “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                    Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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                                                                                              Thursday, December 16, 2010
            Second Week of Advent                                                  2 Samuel 7:1-17, Galatians 3:23-29, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Peace I leave with you; my peace I
give you. I do not give you as the                                         For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through
world gives. Do not let your hearts                                        faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have
be troubled and do not be afraid.                                          clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew
(John 14:27)                                                               or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no
                                                                           longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ
Loving God, we seek you in both                                            Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
the light and the darkness, the
silence and the sounds, the                                                When I was young I recall putting on my frilly dress and
fullness and emptiness of this                                             my patent leather shoes and tapping down the hall to
Advent season. Fill our hearts with hope for your                          my Sunday School class. It made me feel special to
coming, love for those who are most in need, and faith                     dress up for church.
in your promises. May this time of waiting help us
celebrate the birth of your Son with deep peace,                           Now I have a very difficult time convincing my children
gratitude and abundant joy. We ask this in the name of                     to 'dress up' for church. When we were baptized, we
Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.                                       “Put on Christ in the same way we put on new
                                                                           clothes”(Galatians 3:27). We proudly display them for
The Jesse Tree                                                             all to see.
This tradition is a way of recalling Biblical events that led to
the birth of Jesus. It has its roots in a cathedral window in              My children understand something that I can't seem to
Chartres, France, on which the story of Jesus unfolds from                 get past... it doesn't matter what you wear. 'Putting on
“the root of Jesse”. A Jesse Tree can be a fun family                      Christ' means that we welcome everyone into our
project. All that’s needed is a small tree, crafting materials,            Christian family with love, and without judgment.
and imagination. Typical ornaments include:
        - a lion, baby, cow, and bear, from the prophecy of Isaiah who     This season as we anxiously anticipate the coming of
        spoke of a time when all nature will live at peace                 Christ, are we properly dressed with a smile and open
        - an apple, from the story of the Garden of Eden                   arms?
        - a rainbow, from the story of Noah
        - tablets from Moses and the 10 commandments
        - a star, crown, and harp, symbols of King David
        - a scroll to represent the prophets
        - honey and locusts representing John the Baptist
        - tools to represent Joseph and a lily to represent Mary           Joni Shavlik
        - the Greek letters “Alpha” and “Omega” to represent Christ, the   Lakeshore United Methodist Church, Manitowoc
        beginning and the end.
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Wednesday, December 15, 2010                                                        Sunday, December 5, 2010
         Zechariah 8:1-17, Matthew 8:14-17, 28-34, Psalm 42      Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7,18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12

Why are you cast down, O my soul,                                When the filmmaker Woody Allen commented on the
      and why are you disquieted within me?                      Isaiah text he said, “If the wolf and the lamb are to live
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,                       together and the leopard and the kid do lie down
      my help and my God. (Psalm 42:11)                          together, chances are that the sheep and the goat are
                                                                 not going to get very much sleep.”
Illness and disease. Job loss and financial struggles.
Crying babies and sleepless nights. It's easy for our            It is also said that when the king of the Huns was being
souls to become downcast and disquieted. And when                baptized when converted to Christianity, he
they do, it's easy to wonder where God is in the midst           commanded his army to be baptized as well, but they
of our pain and suffering.                                       were to follow his example and hold their right hand
                                                                 above the waters of the river in which they were being
“Why have you forgotten me?” the psalmist/we cry out.            submerged. In this way the warrior king and his army
“When shall I come and behold the face of God?”                  would claim that their fighting arm could participate in
                                                                 combat without condemnation.
Thankfully, God hears our cries and responds. God
responds with the birth of a little baby in humble stable.       I think that what our scriptures are telling us is that
God 's response to our pain and suffering is Jesus,              when it comes to doing God’s will there is no way to
who comes to meet us in the of messiness of our lives            act half way. If it means adversaries are to coexist in
and gives us hope.                                               peace or the Rich and Poor are to live in equality it’s
                                                                 going to take total commitment to the achievement on
Hope not only for a better tomorrow, but for a better            everyone’s part.
forever. What a God we have! Let us praise God for
the One who comes!

Becky Scharnhorst                                                The Rev. James Klein
Faith Lutheran Church, Valders                                   St. John’s United Church of Christ, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Monday, December 6, 2010                                                  Tuesday, December 14, 2010
         Isaiah 24:1-16a, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Psalm 21                             Ezekiel 47:1-12, Jude 17-25, Psalm 42

When you think life cannot get any worse, take a look            "My soul thirsts          for      God,       for     the     living
at Isaiah. The devastation of the city and the ruin of the       God" (Psalm 42:2)
people as they are conquered and carried off into exile
is heart-wrenching to read. There is nothing left for            Advent: a time of waiting, preparing, and thirsting. In
them. The whole face of the earth is devastated … until          the depths of our hearts, for what do we truly thirst?
verse 14, when suddenly there are shouts of joy in the
streets. Two and a half verses of joyful praise interrupt        Spiritual thirst will not be satisfied by drinking in or
the litany of gloom and destruction.                             surrounding ourselves with material “stuff”. It is a
                                                                 deep longing in the core of our being that can only
Isaiah doesn’t say why there is this flash of hope –             begin to be satisfied by encountering God.
maybe a letter from home, maybe news that a loved
one is still alive, maybe a message from the prophet             When we find the courage to enter in silence the holy
himself that gives hope to the people in the midst of            ground of our core being, we open ourselves to the
their suffering.                                                 cleansing, healing, comforting waters of God's deep,
                                                                 abiding Love. This is where we uncover just what it is
And how about you? In the midst of dark times, is                we truly thirst for and…what truly matters.
there a message of hope from God? How has God
brought hints of joy into your difficult days?                   Deep within we become immersed in the rhythmic
                                                                 movement of God's love allowing our inner landscape
                                                                 to be reshaped and transformed. We can emerge
                                                                 refreshed, renewed and peaceful knowing we can
                                                                 return again and again to this place of life-giving water.

                                                                 For what do you thirst this Advent?

                                                                 Brenda Korinek
Calvary Lutheran Church, Two Rivers                              First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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          Monday, December 13, 2010                                                  Tuesday, December 7, 2010
          Isaiah 29:17-24, Acts 5:12-16, Psalm 42                                 Isaiah 41:14-20, Romans 15:14-21, Psalm 21

The Time is Short…                                               It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel
                                                                 where Christ was not known…‟Those who were not told
Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful       about him will see, and those who have not heard will
field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? On        understand‟. (Romans: 15:20-21)
that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll,
and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the              Many people in our society have no knowledge of or
blind shall see. (Isaiah 29:17-18)                               relationship with Jesus. It is because of this that we
                                                                 are called to share the Gospel not only in our churches,
The Feast of Our Lord’s Birth is in a short while. Isaiah        but beyond the comfort of our sanctuaries to a lost and
said the same: time is short. A reason to rejoice!               hurting world.. This is a ministry to which all baptized
                                                                 Christians are called.
Yes, even as we plan for this great feast we need both
penitence and rejoicing. Penitence for we need to strip          The fantastic thing about Jesus is that when we
ourselves of the same vices that marred the soul back            proclaim the Gospel, he will not only come into the
in the days of the prophets: we have no excuse,                  hearts of those we share him with, but he will more
though. The Savior has been born releasing humanity              fully come into our own hearts blessing us as well.
from its bondage to darkness! Arrogance shall cease.             This Advent, may your life be a reflection of Jesus and
                                                                 may you shine brighter as you share him with those
Oh really... has it? Even among Christians? Those who            who know him not.
are quick to point other’s sins, are told to stop. What
about those who rejoice in peoples’ iniquities and               Amen.
foibles? Isaiah preaches to us: the reign of God is here
– the time is short. A wake-up to welcome that Candle
which enlightens darkness.

Rejoice, turn the spotlight on our relationship with God
and allow neighbors to be focus on their own path.

The Rev. Glenn Davidowich                                        The Rev. Diane Murray
Byzantine Catholic priest residing in Manitowoc                  St James Episcopal Church, Manitowoc
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional              Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Wednesday, December 8, 2010                                                    Sunday , December 12, 2010
         Genesis 15:1-18, Matthew 12:33-37, Psalm 21                Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 146:5-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:1-11

Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and           John is in prison. He is ready to die for his faith, if
praise your power. (Psalm 21:13)                                 that’s necessary. And he sends messengers to Jesus
                                                                 to ask for some reassurance that his hope is not in
We feel that God's blessings are beyond our                      vain. Jesus responds, “Tell John what you have seen.
imaginations. God will stay with you through difficult           God is active in the world. Great things are happening.
times and will always defend you because of his great            Hold on to the hope. The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
                                                                 We’re halfway through Advent. The holiday is drawing
Our faith was tested recently when Rudy's son was                near. The preparations are in high gear. And stress
involved in a major accident. At the time we were not            levels are running high, too. Are you feeling like John?
members of our church but due to the outpouring of               Overwhelmed and not sure where the holiness of the
love and support in the congregation we joined                   holiday has disappeared to? Hear Jesus’ response,
knowing that this was our place. The Lord’s strength
can come to us in many ways even through a church!               Remember what you have seen. The Son of God has
                                                                 come into the world to bring you new life. The
As Christmas approaches, we need to remember all the             Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 11:2-5)
gifts that God has already given to us. Even the gifts of
suffering and crisis can become situations that allow
us to sing and give praise to God’s power.

Dear Lord thank you for your strength that endures
forever and for our faith communities that help us see
your strength. Amen

Rudy and Nancy Baumann
First Presbyterian Church, Manitowoc                             Calvary Lutheran Church, Two Rivers
           “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional                  Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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                                                                                            Thursday, December 9, 2010
           Third Week of Advent                                                            Ruth 1:6-18, 2 Peter 3:1-10, Psalm 146:5-10

But the fruit of the Spirit is love,                                     The LORD God of Jacob blesses everyone who trusts
joy, peace, patience, kindness,                                          him and depends on him. God made heaven and
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness                                       earth; he created the sea and everything else. God
and self-control.       Against such                                     always keeps his word. He gives justice to the poor
things there is no law. Those who                                        and food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free
belong to Christ Jesus have                                              and heals blind eyes. He gives a helping hand to
crucified the sinful nature with its                                     everyone who falls. The LORD loves good people and
passions, and desires. Since we                                          looks after strangers. He defends the rights of
live by the Spirit, let us keep step                                     orphans and widows, but destroys the wicked. The
with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)                                     LORD God of Zion will rule forever! Shout praises to
                                                                         the LORD! (Psalm 146: 5-10)
Loving God, we seek you in both the light and the
darkness, the silence and the sounds, the fullness and                   Dec 23rd, 2005 – Our oldest son, Curtis was serving as
emptiness of this Advent season. Fill our hearts with                    a Peace Corp volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, Akuse to
hope for your coming, love for those who are most in                     be exact. Our family joined Curtis for two weeks over
need, and faith in your promises. May this time of                       the Christmas holiday.        This was an amazing
waiting help us celebrate the birth of your Son with                     experience. The villages we stayed at were primitive.
deep peace, gratitude and abundant joy. We ask this in                   Bucket baths replaced hot showers; face-to-face visits
the name of Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.                         replaced emails; people took care of each other - no
                                                                         need for a social service organization. Respect of
                                                                         others, especially the elders was a given. Christianity
A prayer for a day when it’s hard to slow down...                        and the church played a huge role in people’s lives.
                                                                         Going to church on Sunday was an event one looked
Loving God, the days are drawing close to the birth of your Son.         forward to as this was a time to dress-up and
There is a lot we still need to “do” but help us to simply “be” and to   fellowship together. What I witnessed was one big
slow down and savor these days. You know the anticipation we             HAPPY family, a family where God was the center. God
feel. Help us to deepen that sense and to allow it to build in our       gives justice to the poor and food for the hungry in
hearts. We are grateful for this great gift of your Son in our lives.    ways we don’t realize.
Continue to offer us the gentle nudge of your grace so we cherish
that gratitude in the busy-ness of our days, and let it move us to be
more generous to those around us. Amen.
Reflect:       Did I find an Advent moment in my day today?              Greg Saueressig
               What do I want to slow down and savor these days?         Faith Lutheran Church, Valders
         “Jesus Comes” - 2010 Manitowoc Area Advent Devotional            Manitowoc Prays - manitowocprays.blogspot.com
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         Friday, December 10, 2010                                                 Saturday, December 11, 2010
         Ruth 4:13-17, 2 Peter 3:11-18, Psalm 146:5-10                            1 Samuel 2:1-8, Luke 3:1-18, Psalm 146:5-10

Dear Lord,                                                       Psalm 146, 5-10 tells us that there is a place where your
                                                                 voice is always heard, where your complete trust is
In this season of Advent, please guide me in                     well-deserved, and your faith, whether small and weak,
remembering the very things that are important. Help             or great and strong, always belongs.
me to be more like Mary in Luke 1:46b-55 and
remember to be kind and humble.                                  Where else but with the Lord? God is always willing to
                                                                 listen whenever we need to talk, is always trustworthy
God, you have done wonderful things across the lands             and never breaks the bonds of that trust, and God
and let me not forget them. You have been kind and               keeps faith "forever." No human being can ever meet
generous to those who need you the most. You prove               those impossible standards, but God can and does--
to us many times over that you will never forget us in           past, present, and future. God doesn't ask much of us,
our times of need.                                               compared to what we ask of him. We are asked to have
                                                                 faith and trust in him, and to love and praise him.
Let us all rejoice in Your presence in our lives and
share this greatness with others around us. In your               We will never be disappointed in this relationship if we
name we pray,                                                    are honest with ourselves and with God. We always
                                                                 have the ability to feel closer to God and forge a
Amen.                                                            stronger connection with him by living a
                                                                 compassionate and loving life. God believes in helping
                                                                 the oppressed and so should we. When one human
                                                                 being helps another, a spark of love is passed along.
                                                                 What better way to show God we are his faithful and
                                                                 loving children than to shower the world with sparks of

Paige Cobarrubias                                                Lisa Bergner
First Reformed United Church of Christ, Manitowoc                First Reformed United Church of Christ, Manitowoc

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