What a Difference a Year Makes

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Today is Friday, December 8th

Light one purple candle.


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Think back to last year. What was going on in your life? How does this year feel different?


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Read Isaiah 9:2-5

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire. [ESV]


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Lord, how wrong I have been to act as if Christ had never been born. As if He didn’t perform miracles. As if He didn’t take my every tear, my daily worries, my sin and insecurities on that cross. As if the tomb wasn’t empty and the throne wasn’t full of His presence and grace. 

It’s that grace that gives meaning and power to Your promises.

I know that Your Word prevails even when our world turns black.

I trust that Your healing comes in different forms, stages and ways.

I believe that You promised to provide all we need, seeking You doesn’t require physical vision, complete health or a life free of troubles.

But instead, a heart full of devotion and obedience, which I offer You.

No matter how many Advent seasons sweep by, Lord, Your reminders remain the same. Each tear we cry has a purpose. Each trying stage has a divine reason. And in Your capable hands, each icy rain of adversity is transformed into the warmth and sparkle of Your grace. Amen

 

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Personalize it. How can your thoughts and these readings and prayers help you worship fully, give more, spend less and love all.


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Bonus: Read how members and friends of Christ-St. Paul's are experiencing today's devotion.

I’m Lynn and I work and worship at CSP. 

Reading today’s devotion and thinking back to last year compared to this year just made me laugh. It is a joke around the office because last year, I was the only full time staff other than the priests and, most importantly, I was the youngest!

We have been so blessed this year with the addition of two full time staff members, Andrew and Tapley, and somehow in the blink of an eye, I became the oldest –ugh. Working alongside two techno savvy, totally creative and energetic people can really make you feel like you have aged much more than a year.  So in my world, a year can make a big difference!!

On the more serious side, Andrew and Tapley are patient with me and give me grace in the office just like Christ does for every aspect of my life. I love the saying 'God loves me just the way I am but He loves me too much to leave me there.' During Advent I purposefully try to slow down to process my spiritual growth for the past year and try not to be disappointed when I haven’t traveled as far as I think I should have. 

The four practices of the Advent Conspiracy have truly made such a difference in my life, just thinking what it means to worship fully makes me appreciate knowing that the Holy Spirit is present each and every Sunday, and I should be so thankful, but then I wonder if I really do acknowledge His presence when I enter the church week after week? I never want to take our triune God for granted. Giving more means I don’t need more money, but to think more of others and not so selfish with my time. Loving all is the most special for me this year because we are able to help the Kramers do something wonderful for children who have nothing, while reaching out to someone who has made a difference in my life but may not know it until I write a personal note and send them an ornament.*

*Lynn is talking about the CSP effort to 'Undecorate the Tree' beginning Sunday, 12/10. Read more in Fr. Craige's Advent notes from Monday 12/4.