Devotional 12-31-10

Scripture: Matthew 2:11
On entering the house, ambulance they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, click opening their treasure chests, healing they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Thought for the Day: When we go to visit the hospital or a home where a new baby has been born, we usually take a gift.  Some people take a fun little item like a cute rattle in the shape of an animal that goes around the babies ankle.  Other people are more practical in their gift giving, like diapers.  The wise men from the East brought gifts of great value, but they also were highly symbolic.  The gifts represented kingship, prophetic strength and humble sacrifice.  It is a very interesting combination of symbols, but Jesus often put together what appeared to be an absurd combination only to create something marvelous.
Prayer: In all the gifts you give, Loving God, may I learn something new about you and the way you work in the world.  Amen.

Devotional 12-30-10

Scripture: Matthew 2:10
When the wise men saw that the star had stopped, and they were overwhelmed with joy.
Thought for the Day: I have always appreciated the words of George Bernard Shaw.  He is often shockingly direct, prostate but in a surprisingly beautiful way.  He wrote, sovaldi “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”  The wise men are described as being overcome with joy, and though there remained a great deal of uncertainty in regard to what was a ahead of them, I believe they sensed a God-thing happening.  They truly believed they were participants in a divine movement that would change the world.
Prayer: Provide me with courage so I can participate in the mighty things you, O Lord, are doing.  Amen.

Devotional 12-29-10

Scripture: Matthew 2:8-9
Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem, pills saying, cialis “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
Thought for the Day: The Buddha spoke of how the wise are diligent, and how diligence is the way to life.  I think the same idea is found within Christianity as story after story portrays those who were willing to sacrifice so much in their tenacious search for the Source of Life.  The wise men from the East left behind everything and traveled into the complete unknown with a starry hope as their only guide, yet they did so willingly.  For those of us at First Christian Church of Naples, we will need the diligence of the wise men as we find ourselves following a starry hope into the unknown.
Prayer: We go with faith, O Lord, and not much else… yet we believe you will be present in both the destination and the journey.  Amen.

Devotional 12-28-10

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2
In the time of King Herod, for sale after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
Thought for the Day: When we first brought Zach home from Guatemala, we had all kinds of visitors.  The birth of a child (or in our case, an adoption) is like a magnet that draws well-wishers from far and near.  Of course, family came to see the little one, but so did folks we didn’t imagine ever having much interest…people we didn’t know very well.  Yet there is something about the arrival of a new life that draws a crowd, and that’s the way it should be.  Whatever the family circumstance (adoption, traditional family, single parent, surrogate mother, etc.), a baby needs to be honored.
Prayer: For all life that arrives in this world, we give you thank, O Lord.  Amen.

Devotional 12-27-10

Scripture: Luke 2:16
So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, viagra sale and the child lying in the manger.
Thought for the Day: How many of us have put off something important with a multitude of mediocre excuses?  A friend of mine called himself the excuse factory, and  he often said, “I can find you a good excuse so that people will understand when you miss your own funeral.”  I’m sure the shepherds could have found some excuses for staying right where they were, but instead they ‘went with haste.’  When it comes to those things that are life-giving for ourselves and others, let us put aside the excuses and join the shepherds as we move quickly toward the gifts of life.
Prayer: O Source of Life, you reveal to us  joy and splendor.  Help us put aside excuse-filled procrastination so that we might visit the place where this gift is found.  Amen.

Devotional 12-26-10

Scripture: Luke 2:12
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Thought for the Day: The angels made this grand announcement to the shepherds of an amazing happening.  You would think a grand announcement like the one they made would be accompanied with words like, remedy “You will find an extraordinarily handsome prince living in a castle and being waited on by a multitude of servants, health ” but that was not the case.  It seems as if God always looks for the unlikely, if not the antithetical, to reveal the divine nature.  Maybe we should keep that in mind when we try to describe God using the usual and expected ways.
Prayer: Comfort me, O Gracious King, right before you shock me with something that is far outside my thinking.  Amen.

Devotional 12-25-10

Scripture: Luke 2:10-11
But the angel said to them, nurse “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, drugstore who is the Messiah, doctor the Lord.”
Thought for the Day: We have here an individual gift with an universal application.  The Good News is given to a small band of shepherds in specific moment of time, but it is Good News of great joy for all people.  When an individual becomes the recipient of the Good News, s/he becomes, by default, a delivery agent of that same good news.   The shepherds received the Good News of God’s unconditional love, but such a gift comes with an accessory called responsibility.
Prayer: Thank you, O Lord of Life, for the gift of your love revealed in Jesus.  And might I say, thanks for the responsibility you have attached to this gift which will continue to animate it well beyond this day.  Amen.

Devotional 12-24-10

Scripture: Luke 2:6
While they [Mary and Joseph] were there, buy viagra the time came for her to deliver her child.
Thought for the Day: “The time has finally arrived,” are words most everyone loves to hear.  When that long awaited event is finally about to occur, the excitement reaches its highest intensity.  Suddenly, there is new found energy.  It is like sprinting the last quarter-mile of a marathon as you see the finish line in the distance and hear the crowd cheering.  What you thought would never happen is finally just a few steps away, but before you cross that line and reach your destination, make sure you enjoy what remains of the race.  Some of my fondest memories of running marathons and other long distance races are not crossing the finish lines, but the last 100 yards or so.  I just want to savor those experiences.  We need to make sure we pay attention to what is happening as our life stories encounter the faith story in these last hours of Advent.  We can see the finish line, but let’s relish the divine voice cheering for us as we approach the journey’s end.
Prayer: Almost there, God…almost there.  Let me focus less on what will happen on the other side of the finish line.  Instead, let me enjoy what is happening in these last few hours of the Advent season.  Amen.