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Mike hated the commercialism of Christmas. When forced to retire early, he checked out altogether. “Get me nothing,” he grouched, “until people understand what Christmas is all about.” That year, his wife, Nan, gave him a white envelope, which she nestled into the tree. Inside, Nan pledged to sew uniforms...

Baby of the manger, may each act of kindness be a straw in your crib, preparing the way for your coming. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
December 4–10, 2017
Scripture Overview

Hopeful anticipation characterizes this week’s texts. God’s people have come to terms with their inability to save themselves. Isaiah 40 states that Jerusalem has “served her term” in bondage to sin; a new era is about to dawn. Psalm 85 continues the theme of old sins forgiven, emphasizing an urgent need for some fresh outbreak of God’s initiatives. Harmonious and responsible relationships are to dominate the hearts of the people. Thoughts of righteousness and peace also pervade the passage from 2 Peter 3. Yet the focus is clearly on Christ’s Second Advent. His coming will be sudden and unannounced; the new creation will then appear. The Gospel text focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus as John the baptizer comes to sensitize all hearts to the advent of the One promised long ago.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 40:1-11. God’s word of comfort brings challenge as well: How are you preparing the way of the Lord?
• Read Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13. What glimpses of heaven in your daily life give you con dence in God’s steadfast love?
• Read 2 Peter 3:8-15a. How are you using this time of Advent waiting to move toward more faithful living?
• Read Mark 1:1-8. John identified himself as “messenger.” How would you identify your role in working toward the reign of Christ?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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