Advent Readings 1/4 & 1/5/2019

Friday, January 4

Acts 7:44-53

Christmas is indeed the most magnificent time of the year! We, as Christians, are taught about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the time we are toddlers. The Magi brought the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Today, Christmas is a time when people rush around trying to find the perfect gifts for those who are special to them.

Also, during the Christmas season families adorn their homes with Christmas trees, wreaths, presents, and Nativity scenes. Churches are also decorated with greenery, candles, and other decorations announcing the glorious birth of Christ. In Exodus 25 God directed a portable structure (tabernacle) be built so He could be with His people as they traveled across the desert. Jesus’ first public appearance was in a building (temple) in Jerusalem. However, structures made by mortal men cannot hold our God.

Granted, it is wonderful to have beautiful places of worship, but they are not necessities for worshiping our Lord. In Acts 7 Stephen was accused of speaking against the temple and was ultimately killed for doing so. But Stephen knew that no building was more important than the living God—a God that is living inside us and all around us.

We can worship anywhere, anytime. We can worship alone, in a small group, or in a large gathering. Praise the Lord; lift your voices in song. The Lord is always there for us; He is always listening to us, and He always has his eyes on us. Rejoice and lift your hearts to the Lord!

Cecilia Crews

Saturday, January 5

 John 1:10-18

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

I am reminded of an event that a friend of mine, who was a grandfather, told about a family meal where as the patriarch of the family he was always asked to offer grace before the meal.

He offered the prayer, but little Johnny was not ready to eat. You see little Johnny was accustomed to holding hands at table grace and then he would offer grace. All the adults at the table knew what little Johnny wanted. They simply held hands, bowed their heads, and little Johnny said his prayer.

After Johnny finished, his father turned to his father and said, “You thought you had the grace, but you only had the grace before the grace.”

Isn’t that true? God just continues to offer us his grace. Tomorrow we will enter a new season. It will be Epiphany. We will awaken to God once again showering us with his amazing grace. It will be grace upon grace.

Stan Waldon