An acquaintance sent me this “Advent Action Calendar.” It gives one small thing to do during Advent as a way of preparing for the celebration of the birth of our Lord.
When Philip requests from Jesus that he show them the Father, Jesus replies, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Let us all agree: that is quite a claim. If I were to say to you, “Friend, if you have seen me, then you have seen God,” at the very least you would be doubtful. Most likely, you would be worried. And yet, that is our Lord’s claim. If we have seen him, we have seen the Father.
The 2nd century Christian, Irenaeus, put it this way, “For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consist in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God” (Adversus Haereses 4.20.7).
In other words: If God’s glory is revealed in creation, which gives life to all on earth, how much more so is God’s glory revealed in Christ, who gives life forever? In Christ, we see God. As we see God in Christ, we become more like him, for God is what we desire most. We imitate him, and by grace grow more like him, loving as he loves us.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures for evermore” Psalm 16:5-6,11.
Eternal and Almighty God, thank you for this day. Thank you for another day to walk in the light you have spread before us. Thank you for another opportunity to live according to your good will and pleasure. May our thoughts, words, and deeds bring glory to you. By your grace, show us the path of life given through your Son so that we may walk in it.
Gracious Father, we lift up those who seek, may they find you. By your Holy Spirit, grant wisdom and discernment to those who ask, trusting that you give good gifts to your children. Guide our steps that may we walk along the way with you. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” John 14: 5-7.
Look at the happy faces of these beautiful people as they discuss the Presbyterian Catechism. Who knew theology could be so fun?!!
“It is also written: Open your lips, and let God’s word be heard. God’s word is uttered by those who repeat Christ’s teachings and meditate on his sayings. Let us always speak this word. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about peace, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking of Christ….When you get up or rise again, speak of Christ, so as to fulfill what you are commanded. Listen and learn how Christ is to awaken you from sleep.” Ambrose from Explanation of the Psalms
“But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6
Eternal and Almighty God, we rise up thanking you. Our prayers glorify you throughout the day. Remind us, again and again, that we look to you in all things. And may our hearts ever be grateful.
Gracious Father, we pray to you in the name of your Son, for he has given us life and grace, and you have given him all authority. May the only debt we owe be the debt of love. For by love we fulfill your law. May we love as your Son has loved us, and may you be glorified in it. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8-10
“Come, children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:11-14
Almighty and Eternal God, we come before you as your children, trusting wholly in your generous providence and abundant grace. We thank you for your many blessings, those we have received and those to come. Open our ears and guard our mouths, so that we may hear your Good Word and speak blessings to others. We are your children, Holy Father, for we seek to be merciful just as you are merciful. May the love of your Son overflow through us. In his light may we see light.
Most Gracious and Merciful Father, bless and keep all the little children, for your kingdom belongs to them. Bring them up in the love and grace of your Son. May the world be filled with child-like hearts that have grown to maturity through faith. We ask these things humbly and gratefully, and in the power of your Holy Spirit, for we know your steadfast love and faithfulness will never end. To You belongs the praise and glory; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God for ever and ever, Amen.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15
“For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens.
He is God!
He formed the earth and made it,
he established it;
he did not create it a chaos,
he formed it to be inhabited!
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in chaos.’
I the Lord speak the truth,
I declare what is right.” Isaiah 45:18-19
Almighty and Eternal God, we look to you our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer in all things. We come to you, for you speak the truth and declare what is right. We thank you, for all that we are and all that we hope to be is from you. We glorify your Holy Name, for in you we live and move and have our being. Receive the prayer of our heart this day, and may it be found acceptable in your sight.
All Wise and Holy Father, guide and guard our thoughts, our words, our actions. Help us to love as we have been loved. Help us to give grace, just as we have received grace. Conform us to the image of your Son, as we follow closely in his footsteps.
Gracious and Loving Father, we lift up to you the broken-hearted, grant the peace that surpasses understanding. We lift up to you the sick and injured, grant healing and well-being. We lift up to you those who are dying, may they hear those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Holy Father, we pray for your kingdom to come so that there will be an end to sin, sorrow, suffering and death. We wait for the coming of your Son where life, love, joy, and peace in your presence will never end. In faith, we offer up this prayer to You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God forever and ever, Amen.
Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:8-11
“Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:18-22
Gracious and Loving God, we look to you in all things, for our hope is in your steadfast love. Instruct us and teach us in the Way. Counsel us with your loving eye. Our soul waits for you, our help and our shield. Grant us your grace and mercy, for we trust in your Holy Name.
All Wise and Holy Father, nourish your people with the resurrected life of your Son. In his light, may we see light. We offer our lives to you as a living sacrifice, for this is our spiritual worship. Transform us by the renewing of our minds so that we may be able to discern your perfect will. May your steadfast love be upon us, for we hope in You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God for ever and ever. Amen.
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
Let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.” Psalm 6:1,11
Almighty and Eternal God, we lift up our prayers to you in the name of your Son. We thank you for the blessings we are aware of, and those that pass our notice. For, we know that all good things come from you. Guide us through this week, that our words and work may bring honor and glory to you. Grant us opportunities to share the hope that is within us, so that the prayers of thanksgiving and praise to you may be multiplied.
Holy Father, we lift up those who are sick and injured, grant strength and healing. We lift up those who are in need of guidance and direction, may they hear the gentle leading of your Holy Spirit. We lift up those who have not yet heard of your steadfast love and faithfulness, may they find a friend in one who loves you.
Gracious and Merciful Father, lift up for us leaders who serve, and servants who lead. Bend the hearts of the powerful towards what is good and right. Open the mouths of those who have influence, to speak words of peace and unity in a world so divided and chaotic. We look to you in all things, trusting in your providence. Please hear our prayers and fulfill our hopes, for we are your children who seek to be merciful like you. We offer up this prayer to You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God forever and ever. Amen.
“For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:10-12