Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 24 -- LOVE
Tertullian reported that the Romans often exclaimed, “See how these Christians love! ”When they saw how members of the early Church treated one another, and even their persecutors, sharing everything they had, caring for all who were in need. This love characterized the early Church in its first three centuries.
In today’s world, where terrorism, mass shootings, racism and acts of bigotry and religious persecution are reported daily in the media, is it even possible for present-day Christians to be identified by our acts of love? The fourth candle on our Advent wreaths gleams with the reminder of the Love that has been given freely to us.
Let us try, each day, to show the loving face of Jesus Christ to each person, each neighbour that we meet, not just at Christmas, but all through the year. And let us look for Christ’s face in each person that we meet. Love is stronger than fear and death.

The words of Christina Rossetti’s beautiful poem remind us of the Source of this love which is a gift to all who are willing to receive it.

Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine, Love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign,

Worship we the Godhead, love incarnate, love divine,Worship we our Jesus, what shall be our sacred sign?

Love shall be our token, love be yours and love be mine,Love to God and neighbour, love for prayer and gift and sign.
 -- Gail Holland

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 23 – LOVE -- Luke 1: 78-79

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
- The Benedictus
The Benedictus which we sing or say daily at Morning Prayer always resonates with me. Zechariah’s song of thanksgiving for the birth of his son John the Baptist is such an outpouring of love. First, Zechariah praises God for deliverance of Israel, and for the covenants God has made, in the past and currently in the coming of John and soon, Jesus. The second half of the Benedictus is addressed to John as the prophet and forerunner of Jesus, the Jesus who will bring peace to God’s people.

God’s unconditional love for us is so great that in the incarnation God takes on human flesh in Jesus. Our redemption and freedom are secured by this. Our sins are forgiven. The astonishing fact is that we can do for others what Jesus has done for us. Ronald Rohlheiser says ‘to be touched, loved, and forgiven by a member of the body of believers is to be touched, loved, and forgiven by Christ. The incredible power and mercy that came into our world in Jesus is still with us, if we choose to activate it.’

We are called to be beacons of light in the darkness of this world, not just at Christmas but throughout the year. Blessed be God who helps us to do this!

 – Doreen Davidson

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 22 -- LOVE
I believe that it was through reading The Revelation of Love by Dame Julian almost 20 years ago that I really came to understand the depth of God’s love for us. Julian had a series of 16 visions after she became seriously ill and thought she was dying. Later, she recorded her visions and then spent the next 20 years pondering the meaning of them. She wrote: “I saw that he [Christ] is the ground of all that is good and supporting for us. He is our clothing that lovingly wraps and folds us about; it embraces us and closes us all around as it hangs upon us with such tender love; for truly he can never leave us. This made me see that he is for us everything that is good.”
Sometime after I read Julian’s book, I had a kind of mystical experience myself. I was walking as part of my morning meditation time, and suddenly into my mind came the words: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It’s hard to explain the impact of these words at that moment. [I later discovered that the words came from Jer 31:3.] I believe it was the first time

I had really felt deeply loved by God, that God knew everything there was to know about me, and yet God still loved me, in spite of all my faults and failings. To me that is the meaning of the Incarnation. Through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God was showing us the depth and breadth of God’s unconditional love for each one of us

– Sr. Elizabeth, SSJD

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 21 – LOVE – Psalm 89

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all  generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established  forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

As a singer, I look for the passages that refer to music in scripture and this one resonates (a singing activity) with me.

I have made a number of life changes over this past summer. I have returned to my home of West Virginia after 20 years away. The state is different with both improvements (some increased educational opportunity and some economic benefits) and tragedies (mountain top removal, strip mining, the opioid epidemic). 

I am here to be steadfast, to be true to the values I have held dear, to stand with other members of my community reclaiming the goodness of the neighborhood, the obligation to steward the earth well, and the responsibility to compassionately care for each other. It requires God because I am surely not enough.

And I need not be. 

I can just share the Psalmist. 
And be the Psalmist. 

I declare steadfastness of love and enduring faithfulness for all from age to age! Alleluia! Amen!

-- Maggie Grace

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 20 – LOVE – Luke 1

In today’s reading we eavesdrop on a conversation between the Angel Gabriel and Mary.  She is told she will give birth to the Son of God.

I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “Let it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) 
In the little we are told about Mary in the Gospels, we meet a woman of  resilient, humble  faith; a model for us in our response of love to God.

Committing to the work of nourishing our faith will direct us to lean on God’s steadfast love for the resilience and wisdom we need in meeting daily challenges.  Receiving the gift of faith encourages our response of “let it be to me” for Life and Love in Jesus Christ.  Faith opens eyes to God’s presence; faith opens hearts to generosity and gratitude.  Faith grows resilience.  Importantly this virtue of hopeful determination can be the embers burning strength into a faith that is struggling.  We can help each other here.  Receiving and offering prayer, support and encouragement, sharing wisdom and experiences can shore up discouraged, tired hearts.

What will nourish your faith in the days to come?  And how might we encourage others?  To consider again how our practices of prayer, meditation and spiritual reading  nurture our lives of faith is worthwhile.

We approach the coming Christmastide both merrily rejoicing and like Mary, pondering the mystery of it all in a deep and quiet trust.    

-- Dorothy Dahli 

Monday, December 18, 2017

December 19 – JOY – Luke 2:10
In a recently discovered letter of C.S. Lewis as reported in The Guardian (article by Alison Flood, Dec 9, 2014), Lewis wrote of how; “real joy … jumps under ones ribs and tickles down one's back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o' nights”.  The article further spoke of Lewis’ belief that joy is infinitely more than any amount of pleasure one could experience, and once tasted, is forever sought.  It was joy that brought Lewis to his knees to pray as he finally accepted Christ and Christianity in his life.

Throughout the Scriptures joy is most often connected with exuberant praising of God: making a joyful noise to God!  This too is my great experience of joy especially when I am singing in choir; joy is simply something which must be shared.  In the gospel according to Luke we have that beautiful image of the angel appearing to the shepherds on the hillside and saying, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10) We know that the shepherds immediately left their flocks and went in haste to see that which the angel announced: our Lord Jesus newly born into the world.  After their visit, as they went they told everyone what they had seen: they shared their joy.

What rib-tickling joy have you experienced in your life? With whom and how have you shared your joy?  Share some experience of joy with another this Advent season as we await with eager anticipation for the joy of the world in Christ Jesus, our Saviour.

– Sr. Elizabeth Ann Eckert, SSJD

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 18 – JOY – Psalm 106

Your Word is joy to our hearts, O, Creator of the Dance. May we become bearers of joy, We who are invited to share in The Cosmic Dance! 
Psalm 106:19-20 -Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

The day after I received the invitation to write something on JOY, the assigned psalm included the above. I took it as a (holy!) hint, a gift that I was to unwrap and explore. My thoughts roamed as I reflected on the words through the lens of Advent……Yes, the Word became flesh and lived among us – coming as a babe in a manger in a stable.
The Dance of creation with all its components to which we relate and belong. (Let yourself feel the movement of the waves on the sea, breeze in the trees, the feel of making angels in fresh snow, the awesome fullness of the night sky……)
Joy is defined as a vivid emotion of pleasure, extreme gladness; and each of us is invited to be a bearer, to carry it wherever we go. It can be a heavy load at times depending on what else we have to bear, but still we are invited to be part of something bigger……
The Cosmic Dance – the universe is a well ordered whole, immeasurably vast, some pieces of which collide and break open into other forms but there is beauty in the broken, like ragged pieces of stained glass brought together by a skilled artisan….

How many hymns do we know that have the word JOY in them? (Let them float through your mind's ear and give them a hum or two… )

– Mary L. (Bunny) Stewart

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 17 -- JOY -- Psalm 126

Psalm 126 is set in the Lectionary for this Third Sunday in Advent, a day when the themes of joy and rejoicing run through the prayers and scripture readings. Psalm 126 is itself a song of joy, and is one of the psalms referred to collectively as the Song of Ascents. It is thought by many scholars that these songs were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem for three annual Jewish festivals. I experienced what an ascent that truly is when I visited Jerusalem in 2015.
Nan Merrill’s re-visioning of the Hebrew Scripture’s Psalms in “Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness” has a lovely fresh version of this psalm. It speaks of Divine Love, a love that is in"nite, unconditional, nonjudgmental, intimate, and felt at the depth of one’s being. The initial verses convey the sense of this love and its impact: “When the Divine Lover enters the human heart, all yearnings are fulfilled! Then will our mouths ring forth with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy”
This Divine Love brings joy to the human heart, a joy to be felt not only at this time in Advent, but throughout the year. This love never leaves us. It is an integral part of us. God is in each of us; we are in God. As the beloved, we are God’s presence in the world. God invites us to be instruments of joy in this world. And from this union with the Divine, everything belongs.

– Sandi Austin

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 16 -- JOY

In her poem entitled, Mindful, Mary Oliver says, “Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, … It is what I was born for – to look, to listen, … to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation.” She makes it clear that she is not referring to “the exceptional,” nor “the very extravagant,” but rather, “the ordinary, the common, [even] the very drab.”
In a similar vein, if we consult Christophe AndrĂ©’s, “Looking at Mindfulness,” the text opens with this guidance: “Living in mindfulness means paying regular, calm attention to the present moment. This attitude can radically alter our relationship to the world, ease our suffering and enhance our joys.”
In a world deeply marked by hurricanes, floods, fires and many forms of violence, the easing of suffering and the enhancement of joy may seem like a tall order. But as we approach the third week of our Advent journey, we can ask what it might mean to instruct ourselves over and over in joy.
Are we paying close attention to the present moment? If we look and listen carefully, might we find joy in the ordinariness of our daily life? What makes us smile or laugh? What fills our heart with delight? In these moments, can we feel the touch of the Sacred, perhaps in a new way? As Christmas approaches, may we eagerly embrace the joyful Sacred moments we were born for.

– Cate McBurney

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 15 -- JOY – Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NRSV)
As I was contemplating the word JOY for this reflection, I came to the realization that JOY and happiness are really not the same. I believe that happiness is an emotion which is temporal, but JOY has a much deeper meaning for it is a quality which originates in the heart by the power of the Spirit. Happiness is only a temporary feeling, while JOY is eternal. As John Piper, a Baptist pastor and author, once wrote: “…(H)appiness is what the world has, joy is what Christians have.”
Previously I must admit that I had not given much thought to the differences in these two words. It is happiness I experience when my dog runs to greet me, but when I go to the convent, it is the JOY of the Holy Spirit that I feel. In holiness of the chapel, the gardens, and the stillness of that sacred place, as well as in a hug or a smile from a sister or fellow oblate, I experience a closeness to God. This is JOY, because the Holy Spirit is present. How wonderful!! If only this JOY were present throughout the world, then we all would have peace and confident hope.
It is at this time of year when we await with joyful anticipation the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the true JOY of the world and the source of the peace which passes all understanding. May the JOY of Christmas be yours this year and always.

– Lynn Van der Hiel

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 14 -- JOY

Watercolour by Sister Jean SSJD

I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress; the plane and the pine together ~Isaiah 41:19
God shows us Joy in the trees. I love trees. I was born in Nottingham where the stories of Sherwood Forest permeate the city. Perhaps my love of trees was set in my beginnings. Or I found my delight while dreaming midst the music of the wind filled Aspens of Alberta.
One summer, when I was 13, my friends and I built a treehouse. Every day we went deep into the woods of the valley near our home. Such a team we were, laughing and labouring with anticipation. And then one day we were finished. Taking snacks and lemonade, we climbed up into our treehouse and looked up in silence. And we were part of the tree.
Standing like a tree with my roots dug down   
My branches wide and open Come down the rain 
Come down the sun 
Come down the fruit to a heart that is open….  *

A tree is shade and warmth and a home for life; sturdy and strong yet flexible and giving. Present. Joy to the heavens. My soul is my tree of life. My leaves change with my seasons of life. My roots are always happiness. And my branches are yearning, reaching to God. God responds with Joy. My work is to stand, see and accept Joy with an open heart. 

*“Standing Like a Tree” by Betsy Rose

 – Joanne Davies

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 13 – HOPE-- Isaiah 40:31

Light one candle for Hope, One small candle for Hope.
Christ gives Hope to everyone, He comes, He comes.

This is one of the verses of a little song that is often sung by children as the Advent Candles are lit.   Each week a new verse and then on Christmas Eve the Christ candle is lit. Yet, we know that some in our world live without Hope.  They live in despair, which is the opposite of Hope.  We ourselves can often slip into despair especially when life’s situations confront us. Hope is also described as Trust: The willingness to rely on the actions of another.

When I first started this reflection I worried that with the way the world is today with so many people living within war, poverty, and abuse, that I wouldn’t be able to find Hope. 
But I went to trusty old Google and typed in “Hope, Biblical”.   Here is where we find our hope.

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we find literally hundreds of assurances from God that in God and through God we will indeed find our Hope. After reading numerous quotes fro the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, I have come to realize that Hope is not our wishes but is a gift from God. It is a gift purchased by the life of Jesus Christ.

Hope in God through Jesus Christ is a trust that all will happen as it should.   God gives us hope that through Jesus Christ we shall find our hope. 

It is our faith in God, our trust in the words of Christ, his dying on the Cross and his resurrection that gives us hope.

 – Sr Louise, SSJD

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 12 -- HOPE

I have been involved in an in-depth bible study of Revelation this past year and the biggest surprise for me in all that I have learned is that it has given me new strength in hope. God does have a plan and God does win. I can be even more confident in that now. We all can. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out in to our hearts...” Romans 5:5
I can look at the current state of our world, listen to the news, and lose hope or can, instead, remember how these issues make the teachings of Jesus even more relevant, more critical than ever. I do not have to have grandiose ideas on trying to change the world which only frustrate in their impossibility but I can offer compassion or forgiveness or love in any one situation. In doing this, hope replaces despair. I then prove, to myself and to others, that God does, indeed, win.

– Nancy Scott

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 11– HOPE --Psalm 146

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the
Lord their God.”
Psalm 146:5 (NIV)

My first reaction to writing about hope was that I didn’t feel I had much hope in how the world is today, but then I realized—my hope is in God, and that helped me focus. It isn’t difficult, to find the word hope in Scripture. Yet, there are many other words that continually speak hope to me as I read the Bible: trust, faith, belief, and prayer, to name a few.

Since Advent is the start of the Christian church year—we reflect on our own faith journeys and are reminded of the origin of our Christian religion. It brings hope as we see with new eyes and renewed remembrances, and deeper spiritual understandings. That is probably why I look forward to Advent. It is like a 4 week retreat to meditate on the story of Jesus coming into the world—and how as a Jewish convert to Christianity, believing in Him as the Messiah, my life took a whole new direction. I committed to live by my baptismal vows, and never looked back, and although the journey isn’t always easy, my relationship with God and others grows and deepens with each passing year.

In our era, we already know the story of Jesus’ ministry years, and that His following was a small minority that grew exponentially, after his death and resurrection. On that note, we are celebrating His birth, but also anticipating the beginning of the church year and the amazing historical and faith journey that will follow. To God be the glory.

 – Phyllis Beauchamp 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 10 -- HOPE

Hope is difficult in a hopeless world where nuclear-based political threats and environmental disasters place our planet in danger. Climate change-related phenomena -- fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes -- devastate our earth. Individually, we can do little to solve political battles; however, collectively, we can be agents of environmental preservation. My Hope is in the Lord.

Sadly, we face the extinction of many animals due to human interaction. Of the remaining 500 North American right whales, 13 were found dead in Maritime waters. Did human interference disrupt their quest for food? Is climate change to blame? My Hope rests with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. To protect the whales, the DFO proposed economically viable solutions: implementing surveillance flights; limiting ships to designated slow speed shipping lanes and mandating marine protected areas.

As good stewards of this Earth,, we should be concerned about what we eat, where we shop, what we buy and how we travel. Dozens of articles have been written about energy, water and heat conservation. Suggestions for using eco-friendly modes of transportation; recycling, repurposing and reusing unwanted clothing and food; buying rechargeable batteries and non-mercury thermometers; reducing paper waste with cloth napkins and shopping bags; making double-sided copies and buying certified, sustainable, recycled-content cards, toilet paper and tissues. My Hope rests with my 16 year old grandson who directed me to this information. This Advent, let us all consider Hope our priority.

Help Our Planet Everyone

  Sue Ann Elite

Friday, December 8, 2017

December 9 -- HOPE --John 13:34

I don’t have to spend much time walking the streets or following the news to know how much our world needs hope. We live in the midst of a crisis of violence towards the Earth and between peoples. The potential for violence lies in me and, I expect, in each one of us. So how can we be hopeful about the future?

For me, the answer is in becoming keenly aware of my relatedness to everyone and everything else. I’ve found that miracles can happen when I trust enough or suffer enough to relax my defenses and experience the other as myself. People who live on the margins are often less able to keep up protective walls and less invested in impressing others.

Maybe this is why the gospels tell us that God is so close to people who suffer. I think of Tim, who has a severe intellectual disability. Once I brought my friend Mary on a visit to his L’Arche home, and we sat on either side of him. When Mary sneezed, he brought one palm to his forehead, then reached out to my forehead to make sure I was well.

I don’t want to romanticize people with disabilities. There is much suffering there. But I’ve received many gifts of hope from friends in L’Arche. They help me recognize the gift we can be to each other, and that, at heart, we are each other. And they teach me that it is in that place of openness that we discover the hope we need and the hope the world needs.

– Barbara Sheppard

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 8-- HOPE

When the thing we dream for is denied us, we can abandon hope, as if it were a tool that has failed the task we set it. Curiously, when the thing we dream for comes into view, our relief and joy can also cause us to abandon hope, because it has served us and we feel we no longer require it. I forget to be hopeful when all is well – I forget to polish up the hope that is in me when I am most glad.
Watercolour- Nonah N/SSJD
The good news, it seems to me, is that hope has a life of its own. Yes, it hides in the undergrowth while I stroll in the bright pastures but it bounds out like a deer when my path bends down into the valley of shadows. It is never far away. It grows dim and it burns bright. It breathes and pulses. Even when discarded through joy or grief, it is still following me: nearby, a silent friend, not quite tame.
As my daughter stormed through her bleak teens, I had moments when I struggled to feel hopeful for her, and I had other moments when I was so grateful that she had found some joy and courage, or even that she was just feeling okay in her own skin for a little while. There were anxious nights when hope did indeed hide in the bushes. But the spaces of confidence grew longer and longer and today she lives the fulfilling life of an artist, loved and encouraged by her husband. I am so proud and grateful that she has found her own bright pastures, and made her own learning of the wild ways of hope.

When I sit with God, asking my hard questions and sending up my songs of praise and awe; I sense hope’s pathways, rustling between questions and gratitude, the struggles and the love. I hope (there’s that word!) you sense this presence, too.
 – Julie Poskitt 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 7 – PEACE

We pray for Peace in our Life, our Families, our Communities, and in the wider World. It is an ongoing prayer. I am sure it has been human kinds’ prayer since the beginning of Creation. But it seems it is anything but peaceful.
In Mary and Joseph’s life there was constant goings on just to provide for their immediate needs and for the upcoming birth of the Messiah. I am sure this turn of events in their lives did not leave a sense of peace but one of confusion and anxiety.
In Isaiah (26:3) we are reminded that, “Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace – in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.” In Psalm 118 vs. 22 says that, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” And in Matthew 7:24-25, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock... What is God/Jesus trying to tell us here?..
For me, this means that if I keep God at the centre of my being, if God is my cornerstone, that no matter what is going on around me, God will gift me with an inner peace that cannot be shaken.
This is not an easy task because life happens all around me and I am drawn into the whirlwind, but when I focus on my heart’s desire there is a peace that falls in and around me.

As we wait for Jesus to be born in our lives anew each year, it is a wonderful gift that God never gives up on us, and to be encouraged to Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God we have an everlasting rock. 

– Sr. Dorothy, SSJD

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 6 – PEACE -- Philippians 4: 4-9

This week in Advent as we light the candle for Peace, and at the Eucharist we wish each other “the Peace of God”
What is this Peace that we long for? Is it the absence of war and conflict? Is it much more than that? Is Peace a noun or a verb? As we listen to the news, Peace, that is the absence of war, seems very far away. Yet in this passage we are assured that the Peace of God is a gift we are given.
How can we find it? I think one of the ways is to consider Peace as a verb. Peace will happen if we work at it. Maybe we cannot influence the big, world shaking events, but we can create peace in the way we live with our neighbours. Our actions can be peaceful.
This does not mean the absence of anger, or even a quiet stillness. It does mean active love. It does mean confronting wrong ideas and treating our neighbours with respect and dignity. It does mean actively working against injustice. It does mean speaking up when confronted with those times when we hear or see people being treated in disrespectful ways. It does mean confronting our own actions and bringing them to God and asking for forgiveness, not just from God but from those we may have hurt. So as the hymn says. “Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me”.

– Jean Gandon

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 5 -- PEACE

We leave together in peace. As an act of
prayer and an act of remembrance
 patients, staff, volunteers and
 Sisters place their poppies on our
wreaths, at the Chapel of Our Lady
and St. John at St. John's Rehab
Decades have passed since a younger, late John Lennon of Beatles fame penned the lines “Give peace a Chance” in a New York City hotel room. These were somewhat violent times as college students and the American public marched against the US backed war in Vietnam of the 1970’s.

Another young person adopted her own heroic version of peace, rallying her fellow Pakistani school students against Taliban insurgence to quietly insist, day by day, that their cause of education for young women and children was of vital importance to their future. This all caught the attention of global media, especially when Malal Yousafzai was shot and wounded; she was subsequently co-awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, later addressing our own House of Commons in Ottawa. She continues her university studies and work in Birmingham, UK.

We must all give peace a chance when we love, forgive, pray, wear a poppy in November for Remembrance Day for our long dead and present-day peace keeping troops.

A constant reminder in our benediction exhorts us to always, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

– Janice Barnes

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 4 – PEACE -- Isaiah 2:1-5

Each Thursday the Sisters pray specially for
the unity of all Christian peoples
Isaiah's words 'O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord' describe to me an utopia of heavenly peacefulness.
To me it is descriptive of a life of listening, obedience, love and faithfulness. In my view, living such a life cannot only save us from all earthly peril and sinfulness but by giving us a blanket of peacefulness for survival.
Isaiah's words further describe those who adopt that heavenly principle will not only see the greatness of God's love but will continue to exist in a world where the love of God will always guide them from utter peril and damnation. In our day, we yearn for God's peace not only for our immediate surroundings but for worldwide peace among nations. As Isaiah pleaded with the people of Judah and Jerusalem we, today, pray that all nations will plead for God to be our supreme mediator in settling very troubling international dispute and wars between different countries.
Our hope for today should be that all nations will no longer fight against nation nor train God's children for war anymore. Isaiah envisions, also, and with confidence, a promise of a house where the people from Judah and Jerusalem will inherit a peace which will enrich their lives through following our God.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!” These words are giving, sharing, comforting and above all Peace that passes all understanding .

– Beulah Walcott

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 3 -- PEACE

Did you ever have to sit through a boring “After Dinner” speech? Perhaps the most exciting and memorable after dinner speech ever given was the one Jesus gave to his disciples at the last supper.
On the last day of his earthly life, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be with them only a little longer. That would certainly catch their interest.
He encourages them to trust in God and also in him. They show bewilderment. Jesus assures them that he is going to prepare a place for them, and that he will come back and take them there with him. They have many questions. He says that he is the way to the Father, that he is in the Father and the Father is in him.
Picture their confusion, their questioning, their fear, riveted to his words, wondering what was coming next.
You may ask anything in my name, and I will do it”. Now that’s an offer not heard every day.

Jesus wraps up by gifting them with the wonderful assurance that he will not leave them comfortless, but with his Peace.
Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give you”.
Now, wasn’t that a speech worth listening to!
People have heard this speech countless times over the last 2,000 years. Today we begin the season of waiting for the birth of the baby Jesus… The Prince of Peace.

Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give you”.

 – Carolyn Madeley