A PERSONAL PRAYER
God of my salvation,
What must I do to be saved from my sins? Is it saying the right words, that I “accept you” as savior? Is it actually believing that? What changes do I have to make in my life? Do I have to behave a certain way along with saying it and believing it? Surely there is something I have to do. Surely there is a formula of some kind, a protocol for salvation. If I do X, I will receive salvation… so what is the X I have to do? Show me, O Lord, what I must do.
But God, it is hard for me to really comprehend that salvation is not what I do but what you do. You are my savior. For centuries, the people of Israel cried out for a savior, waiting for that day you would break into the world and intervene on their behalf. How surprised they must have been when you intervened on behalf of all of us. So in this season, I thank you for that intervention, that not because of what I have done – any hoops I have jumped through, but rather in spite of what I have done, you have chosen to save me. That is such good news, so I praise you with my whole being.
In the name of the one we have waited for, Jesus the savior, Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, we launch our new sermon series for our Advent entitled “Savior.” The Gospel of Matthew records that the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph, and said that Mary would give birth and that he was to name him “Jesus” because he would save the people from their sins. The name Jesus, like Joshua and Hosea and the word Hosanna, comes from the Hebrew root yasha, which means “to save.” So what does it mean that Jesus is our savior? Why do we need saving at all? During this season, as we await the birth of the Christ child, come and find out just why his birth matters so much.
This Sunday, December 1 at 2:30 p.m., come check out Miracle on 34th Street in the Rotunda Theatre, a live radio drama with costumes, radio mics, sound effects, and more. Find out more here.
I hope you will consider making a gift to St. Luke’s 2019 Christmas Offering, benefitting Amazing Place, a ministry that supports people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers. We hope to raise $500,000 to support Amazing Place’s campaign to expand to a second location and broaden their outreach programs in the community. The prophet Isaiah says, “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:15-16) Christmas is a time to remember those most vulnerable around us, and often we focus only on children. We want to be God’s agents in helping those who struggle with the isolation of dementia to know they are not forgotten. You can find out more or make a gift or pledge here.
There is so much happening this Advent Season. Make sure and put on your calendar the Contemporary Music cantata “Rejoice!” on December 8 at 8:45, and the Traditional Christmas Festival with choir and orchestra on December 15 at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00. This year, we are adding a family movie night to watch “The Star.” There is lots more as well, so check out the whole Advent and Christmas calendar here.
If you have not had the opportunity to make a commitment to our “Giving with Gratitude” generosity campaign to support the ministries of St. Luke’s for 2020, you can do so here.
Did you miss last week’s message, “Gratitude Revisited” on November 24? Watch it here.
Sunday, December 1
Heavenly Father, Christmas is coming soon, and our hearts are filled with joy as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior. In the midst of all of our preparations, let our focus remain on you so that our lives reflect your love in all of our words and actions. Work through us to share the joy of Jesus with all whom we meet. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday, December 2
Heavenly Father, as we head off to work or our daily routine, it is easy to remember why we need a Savior. We pray that you would place it on our hearts this Advent season to be extra-patient, to add love to everything we do, and to point the world back to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Tuesday, December 3
Lord, we pray for our children who are in college and studying for final exams. We pray that you would help them to focus on their studies and to do their best on their exams. We ask that you would keep them safe, grant them rest, and give them signs of encouragement during this time. Amen.
Wednesday, December 4
Almighty God, we pray for those who are sick and in the hospital. We ask that you would use your healing power to ease their pain and suffering and restore them to good health so that they may get to be home for Christmas. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Thursday, December 5
God of light, shine into our world so that we may see a better way to live. Illuminate our hearts to share your love with others. Brighten our paths so that they lead us to righteousness. Amen.
Friday, December 6
Heavenly Father, anticipation fills the air. We know the day of your birth is coming! Help us to get ready for Christ’s entrance into the world and into our hearts. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). May we treasure the love, joy, and peace that will soon be ours not just during this season but all year long. Amen.
Saturday, December 7
Heavenly Father, we pray for our active-duty military servicemen and women. We pray that you would keep them safe from injury, and allow them to experience the joy of Christmas wherever they are serving, comforting them as they are away from their families. Amen.