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Many Advent calendars refer to the third Sunday as Gaudete Sunday—the Sunday of joy. In many churches, congregants will light a candle and read words that remind us to lean into the season with joy. Beyond the church walls, generators of joy surround us as well—ribbons and bows, carols and...

What are three specific moments, people, or things for which you are thankful today?


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Lectionary Week
December 11–17, 2017
Scripture Overview

In Isaiah 61, the Anointed One declares a message of liberation. Justice, righteousness, and praise will blossom as new shoots of growth in the garden of the Lord. Psalm 126 remembers a time in the past when God’s mercy broke forth in an unparalleled manner. The character of the community and of the individual members will be transformed. The First Thessalonians text voices a yearning for the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” yet the promise of the Second Advent has kindled great hope and gladness in the heart of the Christian community. The reading from the Gospel of John also raises the issue of the mood of expectancy that characterizes the period of time between promise and fulfillment.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11. If “the spirit of the Lord GOD is upon” you, what does that mean for the way you live day by day?
• Read Psalm 126. Have you experienced joy in a time of brokenness? How do you understand the seeming contradictions?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. Which of the disciplines Paul speaks of in verses 16-22 do you faithfully practice? Which might you cultivate further?
• Read John 1:6-8, 19-28. John not only knows his role; he knows who he is not: the Messiah. In this time of Advent waiting, consider who you are not. How does that consideration simplify your life? What may you release?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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"It was my first year at my new school . . .

and I was making a ton of friends. There was one girl who always got picked on for her height. Nobody wanted to be her friend." Click here to read more about Pockets.