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Mission Devotional - December 26, 2015

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ,

Thou Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, be born into our world. Wherever there is war in this world, wherever there is pain, wherever there is loneliness, wherever there is no hope, come, thou long-expected one, with healing in thy wings.

Holy Child, whom the shepherds and the kings and the dumb beasts adored, be born again. Wherever there is boredom, wherever there is fear of failure, wherever there is temptation too strong to resist, wherever there is bitterness of heart, come, thou blessed one, with healing in thy wings.

Saviour, be born in each of us who raises his face to thy face, not knowing fully who he is or who thou art, knowing only that thy love is beyond his knowing and that no other has the power to make him whole. Come, Lord Jesus, to each who longs for thee even though he has forgotten thy name. Come quickly. Amen. (The Hungering Dark by Frederick Buechner)

Scripture: Luke 2:15-21

Journal: Come to the manger today. Take in all of the sights and sounds and smells. What do you see? What do you hear? Look at the newborn King. Adore him. Marvel at him. What stirs and captures your heart?

Reflection: It is impossible to describe the joy that fills the room at the birth of the child. A midwife friend tells me that the excitement of welcoming new life never grows old. I wept and laughed simultaneously at the first sight of each of my children - beautiful, yet so small, and even to my favorably prejudiced eye, slightly comic. All the waiting and work had brought forth this morsel of promise. There is both mystery and absurdity in raw new life, and only those who have not seen it in its newness and rawness can indulge in sentimental and romantic rhapsodies about it. (Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

H. & L. serve in Asia by providing strategic leadership for colleagues serving in several major urban centers in Asia. Their role involves encouraging and coaching these co-workers in their ministries, as well as networking with others to make sure they have the resources and training that they need for their respective ministries. Pray today for a 10-day trip to meet with church leaders this month. Please pray for safety in travel, good weather, and also wisdom from the Lord as they interact with colleagues.

In community with the local church, World Relief envisions the most vulnerable people transformed economically, socially, and spiritually. World Relief is on the ground in South Sudan working with families internally displaced by the current violence. Pray today for continuing earthquake relief in Nepal.

Closing Prayer: Rest in me, my child, forgetting about the worries of the world. Focus on me - Emmanuel - and let my living presence envelop you in peace. Tune in to my eternal security, for I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. If you live on the surface of life by focusing on ever-changing phenomena, you will find yourself echoing the words of Solomon: "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!"

Living in collaboration with me is the way to instill meaning into your days. Begin each day alone with me, so that you can experience the reality of my presence. As you spend time with me, the way before you opens up step by step. Arise from the stillness of our communion, and gradually begin your journey through the day. Hold my hand in deliberate dependence on me, and I will smooth out the path before you. (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)