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Mission Devotional - December 24, 2015

Opening Prayer: O Lord, the time has almost come. Just a few more hours and we will once again celebrate your coming into this dark and broken world. Soon the light will dawn, our hearts will be enlarged, and our joy will be increased. We wait, O Lord, in silence and wonder and hope for your arrival among us and within us. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. (Watch and Wait by Jim Branch)

Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-7

Journal: What words about the coming of Jesus stir something to life within you today? Why? Which name for Jesus seems most fitting for where you are in your journey these days? Why?

Reflection: At times we drift in our lives. Amid the uncertainty and suspense of not knowing or the sheer tedium of things remaining the same, we can learn to keep our eyes wide open, scanning the horizon of our experience. Like Noah we may have to do this for a long time until at least some green sprig signals, "There's land ahead." Signs may beckon through something as ordinary as a phone call, as intimate as a touch of a child's hand, or as subtle as an inner urge whispering, "This is where you need to go!" Like Paul and his near-sinking boatload, we would be wise to feast ourselves again and again on signs of promise and hope even as we are tossed about on the sea of not knowing. (The Way of Discernment by Stephen V. Doughty and Marjorie J. Thompson)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

F. & S. are working alongside Arab believers toward the goal of seeing churches planted for those who do not have a church. Their main focus is to work with, mobilize, resource and train nationals for this purpose. Pray today for local believers they work with to open their hearts and eyes to serve others in the region. Pray that F. & S. would be able to walk alongside to encourage and resource them as they lift their eyes to the harvest.

Wears Valley Ranch offers a Christian home, education, and counseling to children from families in crisis. Their vision is to see each child inspired to follow Christ, healed from the past, and equipped to reach their full potential. Pray today for all of the residents that they may know Christ's love and salvation through this ministry.

Closing Prayer: Gracious, loving and merciful God, on this Christmas Eve, as the light of your Word penetrates our hearts, as we are reminded of the gift of life and faith, as the glories of the heavenly hosts are echoed in our church, we open ourselves up to your Spirit and give you thanks. We are grateful, Lord Jesus, that your story has become our story, and we celebrate your birth.

Continue, we pray, to instill in us a profound sense of your abiding presence, and help us to take to heart the wonder of your love, that we may walk in your ways and delight in your will.

Help us, Lord God, to be the faithful, gracious, loving, giving and forgiving people you would have us be. - Rev. Dr. Sean B. Murray