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Merry Christmas by Eleanor Guinn

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Four: Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Christmas Eve
Sunday, December 24

Luke 2:1-14

Luke 2:1-14 made me feel happy and kind of tired. It made me happy because most of what I was reading was happy. Mary is going to have a baby! The text made me tired because some of the verses happened at night. The verses that happened at night were verses 6-14. I usually do not feel tired when I read a story that takes place at night, but this time I did. When Mary was expecting a baby, it reminded me of when my sister, Mim, was born. When Mim was born, I was happy and excited. I was excited because I wanted to see Mim so badly. I was happy because I had always wanted a sister or brother. When I saw Mim, I thought she was sooooooooo cute because she was sooooooooo tiny. I like what the angel said to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” I like what the angel said because it made me happy but not as much as Mim. I think the shepherds listened. I like that.

I think the most important thing in the text was what the angel said. What the angel said is good because the angel told them everything and was specific. The words are important. I like verses 13-14.  The verses mean to me that the birth of Jesus really happened. The angels really happened. The shepherds were frightened at first and then happy. That was kind of how I felt when Mim was born, except Mommy told me the news, not angels from the sky.

The story is about Jesus. He is God’s son. I enjoyed reading the verses. Merry Christmas!!!

Eleanor Guinn

at Sunday, December 24, 2017 | 0 comments
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Concerning Pedigrees by Andrew Nash

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Three: the Benedictus

Saturday, December 23

John 7:40-52

“From Galilee?” (John 7)

We like to imagine the Bible is filled only with kind words and loving guidance sent with divine inspiration. But there are many insults, too. They range from the serious, like “blind fools” in Matthew 23:17, to the silly, like “baldhead” 2 Kings 2:23.  

Three times in these 12 verses, the Pharisees use Galilee like an insult:

“How can the Messiah come from Galilee?” (verse 41)

“Are you from Galilee, too?” (verse 52)

“…a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” (verse 52)

They seem to imply that nothing good can come from Bethlehem. The Messiah comes from Bethlehem — not Galilee. Galilee doesn’t fit the profile. Galilee isn’t the right pedigree.

Luckily, God doesn’t care what the right pedigree is or isn’t. He uses people of all backgrounds. There’s no requirement that you be from a certain area or have the right name or have the right job to be successful in God’s eyes.

Of course, when we think about this idea — that anyone can serve God well — it’s often in opposition to someone else. But we can do this to ourselves, too:

“God wouldn’t want someone with my education.”

“A godly leader doesn’t look the way I do.”

“Deacons don’t come out of a broken home.” 

What barriers are you putting up that block you from serving God the way he intends?

There’s one more thing to note: the Pharisees were wrong. They were wrong about Jesus — who grew up in Galilee, but was born in Bethlehem — but they were also wrong about Galilee. The Pharisees bragged about knowing scripture, and that no prophet comes from Galilee. But Jonah — who spent three days and nights “dead” in a whale in a symbolic forerunner to Jesus’ resurrection — is described in 2 Kings 14:25 as being from a town in Galilee.

Andrew Nash

at Saturday, December 23, 2017 | 0 comments
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Hootin' and Hollerin' by Steve Hemphill

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Three: the Benedictus

Friday, December 22

2 Samuel 6:12-19

And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. (2 Samuel 6:16b)

When I was a kid in the 1960's in Monett, Missouri, there was one day a year that really stood out: the Saturday before Vacation Bible School started the next Monday. I'm certain nobody else can share this memorable experience. We decorated cars with VBS banners, honked horns, tossed candy out the windows and drove all over town yelling out invitations to VBS. The key to the success of this 20-30 car caravan was the fact we were led by a siren blasting fire truck and police cruiser. Since my uncle was the county Sheriff, I always got to operate the police siren. The concept of separation of Church and State never occurred to anybody, but apparently it did later as the practice was stopped by the mid-70's. I guess the rationale was to show the unchurched how much fun we had at VBS.

Today's reading describes when King David brought the Ark of the Lord to town with a big parade, dancing and loud rejoicing. When Saul's daughter looked out the window to check out the commotion, “and when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.”

There may have been some Monett “sourpusses” watching that VBS parade but we didn't care about them. We were more interested in those who looked upon the “hootin’ and hollerin’” and thought those Christians sure do have fun!

This Christmas may we be more like King David and share publicly the joy of the Lord and care not about those “bah humbug” people out there!

Steve Hemphill

at Friday, December 22, 2017 | 0 comments
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