Christmas Joy! Hebrews 1:144 (5-12) The Reflection of God’s Glory

HEBREWS 1:1-4 (5-12)

1Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.” 8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 9   You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11  they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; 12  like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What comes to mind when you hear “the reflection of God’s glory”?
  • Savor this word or image.
  • What comes to mind when you hear “the exact imprint of God’s being”?
  • Savor this word or image.
  • How are these words/images present in the world today?
  • God sustains these with God’s powerful word.
  • What powerful new word needs to be spoken by God into the world today?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize God’s presence in the world and to invite God into new place.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Tuesday, December 25, 2018, the Nativity of Jesus Christ Year C 

Isaiah 52: 7-10

Psalm 98:1-9

Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)

John 1:1-14

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Christmas Joy! Isaiah 52:7-10 – Redeeming Love!

ISAIAH 52:7-10

7   How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8   Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9   Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10  The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, what peace do you realize?
  • Someone has news to share with you.
  • What peace is announced?
  • What song arises within you?
  • What comfort blankets you?
  • What salvation do you see?
  • What message does God have for you in this peace?
  • What message does God have for the world in this peace?
  • Give thanks to God for this new sense of peace and for any new insights you have been given.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Tuesday, December 25, 2018, the Nativity of Jesus Christ Year B 
Isaiah 52: 7-10
Psalm 98:1-9
Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)
John 1:1-14

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Christmas at Dawn: Joy to the World!

ISAIAH 62:6-12

6   Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have posted sentinels;
all day and all night
they shall never be silent.
You who remind the Lord,
take no rest,
7   and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it renowned throughout the earth.
8   The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink the wine
for which you have labored;
9   but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in my holy courts.

10  Go through, go through the gates,
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
clear it of stones,
lift up an ensign over the peoples.
11  The Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
“See, your salvation comes;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12  They shall be called, “The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord”;
and you shall be called, “Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.”

PSALM 97:1-12

1   The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
2   Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3   Fire goes before him,
and consumes his adversaries on every side.
4   His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5   The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6   The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
and all the peoples behold his glory.
7   All worshipers of images are put to shame,
those who make their boast in worthless idols;
all gods bow down before him.
8   Zion hears and is glad,
and the towns of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgements, O God.
9   For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

10  The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful;
he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11  Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

TITUS 3:4-7 4But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

GOSPEL LUKE 2:(1-7) 8-201In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph 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. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And 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.8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Imagine you are a shepherd keeping watch over the flock at night.
  • The angels appear and share the good news: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
  • What do you feel in your body when you hear this message?
  • What part of you is leading toward the manger?
  • What mercy does the Christ child extend to you as you move toward the manger?
  • Savor the mercy of the Christ child.
  • Know that you are loved.
  • What message does God have for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to move toward the manger, to share the good news, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below. 

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Luke 2:41-52 – Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor

jesus preaching in the temple 3 days without mary and josephLuke 2:41-52

41Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he said to them. 51Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit ten to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let the breathing soothe you, calm you, comfort you.
  • Push back and down your shoulders allowing the breath to fill you fully.
  • Lift your chest as you lift your eyes to God.
  • Feel the love of God showered upon you.
  • Let a project come to mind that you have been growing and nurturing.
  • What anxiety do you carry around this project?
  • Allow God’s love to shine upon this anxiety.
  • Hear these words, “Why were you anxious? Did you not know that I must be in in the midst of this work.?”
  • What thoughts come to mind?
  • What do you notice in your body?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • How does your faith help you grow in wisdom and in years and in God’s favor?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 30, 2012, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year C)

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Psalm 148
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 148 – Unmerited Joy!

angel announcesPsalm 148

1Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!

2Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

3Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!

4Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
6He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
8fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
11Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12Young men and women alike,
old and young together!

13Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.

14He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you inhale, think “Praise.”
  • As you exhale, think “God.”
  • Praise……….God.
  • Praise…………..God.
  • Praise………………..God.
  • Allow your breathing to be full, slow, and intentional.
  • Praise…………………….God.
  • Praise God for hope.
  • Praise God for peace.
  • Praise God for all of creation.
  • Praise God for your neighbor.
  • Praise God for you.
  • Let every breath praise God.
  • Let all thoughts and words from your lips praise God.
  • Let God fill every part of you with joy.
  • Feel the Christmas joy in your praise.
  • Rejoice.
  • How does God want you to praise God today?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 30, 2012, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year C)

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Psalm 148
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

1 Samuel 2: 18-20, 26 – The boy Samuel continued to grow…

Samuelandeli_500_6111 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

18Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the LORD”; and then they would return to their home.

26Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and with the people.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Breathe in the joy of Christmas.  Let go of any darkness that is trying to come back in.
  • Breathe in the peace of Christmas.  Let go of any tension that has hold of you.
  • Breathe in the love of Christmas.  Let go of anything keeping you from Christ.
  • Allow the Christmas joy to pour over you once again.
  • Sit in the Christmas joy.
  • Notice birth and new life again today.
  • Watch the birth and new life grow.
  • Watch the light grow as the news spreads around the earth.
  • How do you feel favor with God?
  • Is there anything keeping you from feeling favor with God?
  • Allow the Christmas love to nurture this place that needs to feel favor with God.
  • What do you need from God?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 30, 2012, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year C)

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Psalm 148
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD


Advent – Luke 1:47-55 Mary’s Magnificent Response

LUKE 1:47-55

46b My soul magnifies the Lord,
47       and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48  for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50  His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51  He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53  he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55  according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What song is being born in you?
  • How does this song reflect God’s faithfulness.
  • What promise will God fulfill?
  • What surprises you?
  • What hope is being turned into joy?
  • What mercy have you experienced?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize the song arising in you and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 18, 2011, the Third Sunday of Advent Year B 
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:47-55
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Advent – John the Baptist – Praying with Art

John the Baptist by Jesus Mafa

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you sit, allow this image to grow on and within you.
  • Imagine walking down to the river.  You see a crowd listening to one from the wilderness.
  • You are compelled to sit and listen.
  • What do you hear?
  • What truth do you know?
  • How do you know this?
  • Some newcomers arrive, asking questions.
  • Who is asking these questions?
  • What tension do you notice?
  • What truth is spoken?
  • How do you know it is the truth?
  • The one to whom you sit and listen proclaims he is not worthy.
  • How are you not worthy to embrace the One who is coming?
  • Allow God to embrace this place that is not worthy as you give yourself fully to God.
  • The One who is coming will carry this burden.
  • Give thanks to God for this time by the river and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 11, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126:1-6
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Finding Joy in Miriam’s Dance

 

Quilt designed by Brigitte Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Where do you connect with this piece of art?
  • Which piece of the quilt are you?
  • Who or what is next to you?
  • The artist designed this quilt to express joy.  How has the artist accomplished this?
  • Allow yourself to enter the joy of the design.  Stay with the joy.
  • Do you move with the joy?  Or does the joy move around you?
  • What joy do you notice in you?
  • Is there a message from God in this joy?
  • How will you share this joy with others?
  • Give thanks to God for the might power JOY in our lives. Celebrate any new things that have been revealed in you.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 11,  the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114
Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.