Ultimate Gift: His new life leads to ours

As we celebrate the Christmas season, I am reminded of the reason Christ came into the world. Indeed

He came to die on a cross.

He came to love us.

He came to redeem us.

He came to heal us.

To restore our relationship with the Father.

To be our everything.

A celebration of His birth reminds us that His birth has led to our own birth in Him, the ultimate gift.

May our relationship with Him grow immeasurably in this time.

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To advent or not to advent

Advent begins on Sunday. Having attended both a liturgical church and an anti-liturgical (yep, I said anti) church, I have an internal see-saw on how I feel about the season.

I think it is a great thing to have a time of expectation and waiting for Christ. It can be a time of peace and hope. It can be a time of development and appreciation for the gift of Christ. It can certainly be a time of focusing on Him and not consumerism. Advent traditions in family can bond and heal us. God is where we invite Him, and advent activities will do that too.

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I think too though that by focusing on the Christ child, there is too much time when we don’t allow the child to grow into the man, friend, savior, and redeemer that He is today. We leave him as a helpless babe in the manger. And this time lasts almost one month every year. It is a disproportionate amount of time to spend thinking of the child. When we celebrate birthdays, we may reflect on the birth, but we usually consider the year past and look to the year coming.

Christ has already come into the world. Birthdays are celebrated in most of the world today, and Christ is so important to us and lives today – so I embrace celebrating his birth annually. But I think we need to remember that even on December 3rd or 15th or 20th, our Christ is still the God-and-man who lives. He lives in us and through us.

Christ’s birth changed the world as we now it today; not just 2000 years ago. Let’s focus on His impact for today while recalling the gift we have received in Him.

Prayer for Remembrance Day

We give thanks to you, Lord, for you are good, and your love endures forever! You have redeemed us from trouble and gathered us from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. We cried to you Lord in our trouble, and you delivered us from our distress. Thank you for your wondrous works in the children of man! You have led us by a straight way and reached Vientiane to dwell in. Thank the Lord for your steadfast love, and wondrous works to the children of man!

You who could have spoken a word to eliminate all strife and war on earth, instead you are patient and you long for relationship with each of us around the world. We call upon you to satisfy the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with good things.

-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope


On this day of remembrance of wars past, we are also reminded that still today some sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, please Lord deliver them from their distress. Bring them out of darkness and the shadow of death and burst their bonds apart. Shatter the doors of bronze and cut in two the bars of iron. Release the prisoners, send your word and deliver them.

-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope


Thoughts of war and conflict inflict fear, yet you declared “Don’t be afraid of people. They can kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is God, the one who can send the body and the soul to be destroyed in hell.” We reject all thoughts of fear and proclaim your protection on the weak, the suffering, the soldier, the widow and orphan.

-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope


The ravages of war leave widows and orphans in a desert, diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, loss and sorrow; Lord we call upon you to turn that desert into pools of water, parched land into springs of water. That the downcast and refugees may establish a city to live in, sow fields and plant vineyards with a fruitful yield. Make their families like flocks.

-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope


Though an army encamp against the troops and others on the front line who stand for peace and justice, they shall not fear; though war arise against them, Lord, make confidence in you rise greater in them. that the troops will seek after you and hide them in your shelter, conceal them under the cover of your tent; and lift them high upon a rock. Protect these soldiers. Be their constant companion and their strength in battle, their refuge in every adversity. Guide them, O Lord, that they may return home in safety. For those who experience the soul-damage that is caused by hurting or killing another human being, we ask above all, Lord, for your compassion, mercy, forgiveness and healing. We ask also for those who are physically injured in the fighting, that you bless them with patience and strength throughout their treatment and healing, and with determination in their re-adjustment to life after injury. Finally, Lord, we ask for your loving care to strengthen the families and friends of those who are injured or killed in the fighting.
-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope

To those who decree iniquitous decrees, keep on oppressing, turning aside the needy from justice, robbing the poor of their right and making widows and orphans their spoil, Lord we call upon you to touch their hearts and turn them to you. Nothing to too great for you, the Almighty. Soften our enemy’s heart and bring peace to the nations. We pray for those who persecute. You have created us all and we belong to you, we proclaim for our enemies love and belonging to you, the great I AM and the God who IS love.
-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope

We pray for lives lost, families torn apart, lost and lonely, homeless, hungry, afraid. We pray for factories destroyed in an instant, for machinery shattered, fields and livelihoods ruined. We pray for rescuers finding survivors alongside bodies, courageous, undaunted, hopeful. For boys and girls whose childhood has been stolen in the cause of war, prostitution, slavery and greed, bring restoration, healing, family, love. We pray for recovery in the years to come, for restoration, generosity, healing, closure.
-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope

Bless the hands that bring wholeness to lives blighted by sickness. Bless the saints who in sad and desperate places bring a sense of hopefulness. Bless the Christians facing daily opposition showing a faithful witness. Bless the generosity of the rich and powerful for the gift of thoughtfulness. Bless the peacemakers working in conditions that are often hazardous. Bless the politicians whether good or bad for decisions affecting all of us. Bless our words and actions as we carry your light into places shrouded in darkness. Bless your children wherever they might be with the warmth of your love and grace.
-God of Peace, Shine your light of hope

God of love, God of grace, God of wholeness…Come.

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