Mission Devotional - December 29, 2015

Opening Prayer: The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. Amen. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Scripture: Luke 2:36-38

Journal: What about Anna captures your heart? What do you love about the description of her? What do you think Anna would have to say to you? What does God have to say to you through Anna?

Reflection: Anna, her name meant grace. And her description was as compelling as her name: "She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day." She was absolutely consumed with God, and the things of God, even though in her younger years life had evidently thrown her some pretty nasty curve balls.

But somewhere along the line - though we are not told exactly when or where or how - she had been captured by God's grace. God had put his song in her heart and she could not stop singing it. It is what she did day and night; she sang continuously to God. She was so full of his song within her that she simply had no choice, it was what poured out of her soul whenever she opened her mouth. I wonder if it was that song in her heart that allowed her to recognize exactly what was happening in the temple on this particular day. For when she saw the baby Jesus being presented, the song once again poured forth - a song of thanksgiving, a song of deliverance, a song of hope, a song of redemption. For after all of those years of waiting and watching, the Word had finally become flesh and she wanted everyone to know about it. Thanks be to God!

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Carlos and Sandy Rios are planting Rivers of Grace Bible Church in the San Andres area of Guadalajara, Mexico. The church is growing and many new families have begun attending. Pray for the Rios as they travel through the U.S. this month on home assignment.

Beatriz and Gustavo Fuentes lead the work of Young Life in Mozambique. Beatriz first encountered Young Life in Brazil and became a Christian through that encounter. The Fuentes moved to Beira, Mozambique in 2010 and began building relationships with teenagers there to introduce them to Jesus. Pray today for the Fuentes and the students they are reaching through Young Life.

Closing Prayer: Lord, during this Christmas season, may we be like Anna, not departing from your temple, but worshipping, fasting, and praying night and day. May we, like her, be constantly giving thanks for the gift of your redemption, both in our lives and in our world. Amen.