A PERSONAL PRAYER
Gracious, gift-giving God,
There are some amazing people in this world, who reflect your love in tangible ways into my life. A neighbor comes by with tomatoes from his garden. A friend takes the time to write me a note of encouragement. A church member, who I know has limited resources, writes a check to support a project. A colleague takes more than a few minutes to visit with me on the phone when I call. There are signs of generosity all around me. I am so thankful to you for these people, in whom I can see your very essence.
I think these people are generous because you are so generous. We are all made in your image, and you are a generous God. You gave us life itself. And when we were selfish rather than generous, stuck in our sin, you gave us your son that we might have life. So when we are generous with our time, our resources, and especially our love – we are just paying forward what you have given us and living out that divine image. And when I choose generosity, I feel your joy bubbling up inside me. What a gift that is… the gift of your presence I receive when I choose to give my life away.
So God, in this season when you choose to become one of us, I pray that you will pry open the closed places of my heart that I might give my love away generously and indiscriminately and mirror your character in some very small way.
In the name of the giving God, I pray. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
What are the days leading up to Christmas really all about? We call it the “holiday season,” which is really short for “holy days season.” What is holy about it? In the craziness of preparing for Christmas, we can often lose sight of the real essence of the season. This Sunday, December 9, we continue a series of sermons looking at the values that underlie the season of Advent and Christmas. Our message is titled “Tis the Season for… Generosity.”
St. Luke’s Christmas offering this year will be to support the creation of a preschool on our Gethsemane campus. The Early Childhood Education Project will help to pay to renovate a wing on that campus to bring it up to code, as well as some start up costs to get the program going. To find out more, or to support this effort, click here.
We have so much going on during this season, and I would love to have you be a part of it. This Sunday morning is our Rejoice! A Contemporary Christmas Service at 8:45 in the Fellowship Hall.
• Friday, December 7 | Conspirare Christmas | 7:30 p.m. | Sanctuary
• Sunday, December 9 | Las Posadas | Children’s Sunday School hour
• Sunday, December 9 | Nick Finnegan Counseling Center Open House | 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 2714 Joanel
• Sunday, December 9 | Rob Landes Annual Family Christmas Concert and Family Cocoa Party | 4 p.m.
• Sunday, December 9 | Student Sunday Night Live Progressive Dinner | 5:30 – 8:30 pm | Student Building/Area Homes
If you want to know more about all of St. Luke’s Advent activities, click here.
Sunday, December 9
God of Providence, we thank you for the gift of sustenance. From the beginning, you created the world for our benefit to provide for us and to sustain our life. You have blessed us with food to nourish our bodies, water to hydrate us, clothing to keep us warm, and shelter to protect us from harm. You also gave us the responsibility to take care of our neighbors. We pray that you would give us opportunities to show our gratitude to you in our actions by blessing those whose basic needs are not being met. Grant us the compassion of Jesus, and work through us to use our time and our resources to help others. Amen.
Monday, December 10
Heavenly Creator, we thank you for the gift of life. You made us in your image and breathed the breath of life into us. Help us to be good stewards of our lives by using our gifts and talents for the purposes of your Kingdom. Help us to strive to be intentional with our time so we can best serve you. Let our actions and our words be respectful and life-giving. Amen.
Tuesday, December 11
Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you that you love us so much that you want to spend time with us and hear what is in our hearts. Thank you, Lord, that you are always there for us and that we can come to you in prayer at any time and about anything. Draw us close to you and cultivate our prayer life. Amen.
Wednesday, December 12
Divine Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to choose you and to grow in our faith. Thank you for the way our faith gives us hope and sustains us in the trials of life. We thank you for all the ways that you grow our faith each day, and we pray that you would continue to guide us in our journey. Amen.
Thursday, December 13
Almighty God, thank you for the gift of church. We thank you for a beautiful place where we can come together to worship you, study your word, make friends, give ourselves away and grow in our faith. God, we recognize that because we the people make up the church, it is imperfect in many ways, but also that you are at work in our church in amazing ways. Help us to keep our focus on you and your Kingdom so that we may persevere during times of trials, difficulties, trivial differences and differences of human opinion. Amen.
Friday, December 14
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of joy. We thank you that joy is born deep down inside of us and cannot be taken by the circumstances of the world. When we focus on you, your joy fills our hearts. Help us to keep our priorities grounded in you so that we may grow your gift of unending joy. Amen.
Saturday, December 15
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of mercy. You are always faithful to show us mercy and hear our cries for help. We pray that you would grow the gift of mercy in our hearts so that we may hear the cries for help in our world and become your vessels of mercy. Amen.