The Watchword for the Week:
He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom.Isaiah 40:11
Come, all who labor and are heavy laden.
Come, all who are lost and in need of a home.
Come, all who have faced their weakness and sins.
Rejoice greatly, shout for joy! See, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and brings salvation.
1 Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin.
3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12 The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
Hear the voice of John the Baptist calling to us from the wilderness, challenging us to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, to repent and to make the pathway to our heart a straight one.
Holy God, we know that you want to come and walk with us through the journey of our lives. You send to us a Savior who seeks to offer us an eternal home in the life to come as well the pattern for the living of our daily lives. Forgive us for the times when we have turned our back on your invitation and have chosen to walk our own way. Forgive us for the times when we make the path into our hearts a steep one, making it hard for you to enter. Forgive us when treat even our loved ones with an unforgiving spirit. Forgive us when we busy our lives with diversions that deflect our attention from you. We invite your Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to bring us close to you this day.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.
We give thanks to the one who creates us, we give thanks to the one who redeems us, we give thanks to the one who brings the spirit of holiness to us today. Amen.
Take time now for reading the Daily Texts or a passage of Scripture. Pause to ponder words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit today. Then spend some time praying for the needs of our hurting world. When you are ready, please continue with the prayer as follows:
O Lord, Hear our Prayer:
Giver of life and grace who dwells in the heavens, we lift our praise to you. We pray that the ways of heaven might be made real in our earthly lives as we, your children, seek to do your will. Give us today the food that we need. Forgive us as we seek to forgive those around us, and as we fix our eyes on you, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil influences. For this is your world, and to you is due all honor, and glory, and praise forever and ever. Amen.
O Emmanuel, God with Us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation,
come to earth we pray.
Shepherd of all humanity, and Savior of our souls
give us rest in your arms today.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.
You alone are the most high, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Come Lord Jesus,
Open our hearts to welcome you, let the Word become flesh in our hearts and in our lives. Amen.