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2017 Daily Devotions

Daily Devotion Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day


Luke 2:15-20 New International Version (NIV)

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which God has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen the baby, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Word of Hope

Today is Christmas Day and for those of us who have been experiencing Advent, a season of waiting and anticipation is over.  Today, the Christ-child is born.

For many this will be just like any other day, except, perhaps there will be no work, no school, and a break in the normal routine of life.  For others, it will be a time of gathering with friends, family and family of choice.  For others, it might be a time spent in solitude, not, perhaps, by choice but by circumstances. 

For people of faith, it is a time to give thanks for the birth of Jesus and the transformational work that Christ did in his lifetime, opening a new way to be in relationship with God.  It is a time to reflect on the work that was begun and to consider the ways in which we cooperate with God to complete the work of revealing the unconditional love of God for all humankind.

In our text today, the Gospel writer gives us two very different responses to the arrival of the Savior.  For the shepherds, they responded by hurrying off to see for themselves.  For Mary it was to treasure up all these things now complete and reflecting on them in her heart.

Each of us are called to have a response to the arrival of Christ, the birthday of Jesus.  No matter how it is impacts our lives today, the response that we are called to is to tell the good news.  Some of us will choose to do this, like the shepherds, who spread the word.  Others will do it, as witnessed by others, seeing a change in our lives, others by doing good works as an act of praise and “giving glory to God.”

As you begin your Christmas Day, I pray that you will take time to make it a special day of, like Mary, pondering these things in your heart and, like the shepherds, find a way to tell others of the good news of Jesus through your actions.


A Christmas Prayer

Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth, may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us.  As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart.  May we remember our brothers and sisters, our siblings less fortunate than ourselves in this season and, through word and deed, act to give glory to You.  Amen.

Devotion Author

Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, Senior Minister

Daily Devotion Friday, December 22, 2017

Inspired Text:

“Undecidability leaves open a space for possibility in the ‘perhaps’ moment of not-quite-despair…Radical indeterminancy might find itself in a position to recognize when hope comes from that moment of impossible possibility.” –Margaret Adam, Our Only Hope

A Word of Hope

Which leads to enriching hope and which so often harms us?  Complexification unto uncertainty or absolutism unto certainty?  I recently heard a description I had never heard before: from Hitler’s holocaust to Dylan Roof and ISIS, absolutism and not uncertainty always abounds in the culprit.  Yet many of us, myself included, are frightened of complexification and uncertainty.  We often seem to have a sense that certainty is what keeps us safe and that “completely knowing” is what we in fact must attain.  But perhaps “completely knowing” is what binds us. 

I invite you to consider with me: what are the effects of a way of knowing characterized by certainty and of a way of knowing characterized by an ongoing openness to what more there may be?  Let’s first consider the macro-scale: can you even begin to imagine Hitler or Dylan Roof asking about their own beliefs, “But how might my view be too simple?  What might I be missing?  What needs of mine have given birth to this understanding?”  It’s hard for me to picture complexification on the tongue of these who committed such terrible crimes. 

Even in the realm of our personal mental and emotional wellbeing, absolutism and not complexification seems often to be a source of harm. Each of us is different, but what kinds of questions do you hear from a person wrought with anxiety, stress, shame, or despair?  “There is no way out.” “The world will fall apart if I don’t do this right.” “I’m just so worthless.” “It’s all my fault.” “I can’t imagine how things could get better.”  “They’re all looking at me.” In many of my most potent struggles, these are the kind of feelings I’ve had.  Absolutism has come to reign, leaving no space for any question.  

Could it be that a mind free to always consider the more that may be is the mind free to hope?  Could it be that the mind comfortable with saying they have more to learn about everything is the mind that always makes space for hope and love?  Is there any area of your life or a person in your life where a more complex understanding could be helpful? What would we be like if we interrupted our clarity with open questions?  What would the world be like if we interrupted the clarity of others with gentle questions?  Spirit of complexification, come to us.


God of wonder, of the infinitesimal and the infinite, may we feel your nearness right now.  Help us let go of certainty where it cripples our capacity to hope and love.  May we be filled with questions that open us up, that give us expectation for all we still have yet to learn, discover, love, or find beautiful.  From our families to our God, in all realms of life, may we always know there’s more we have yet to learn.  I cherish you Beautiful One.  -Amen

Devotional Author

Tyler James

Resound Grief Ministry Facilitator

Daily Devotion Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Everything was created through God;

    nothing—not one thing!—

    came into being without God.

What came into existence was Life,

    and the Life was Light to live by.

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;

    the darkness couldn’t put it out.  John 1:3-5

A Word of Hope

Today marks the winter solstice, the day of the year that brings with it the longest period of darkness.  Darkness is often synonymous with fear, even despair.  It is not darkness itself that is at the root of these feelings, but rather it is the fear of what this darkness may be hiding.  What awaits us on the other side of darkness?

We are also fast approaching the celebration of the birth of Christ. In this time of Advent, as I await our Savior’s birth, I find myself contemplating this notion of darkness and light.  The time in all of our lives when we were the most secure and protected was when we were in the darkness of our mother’s wombs, a time and place where I can only assume that we were free of any concept of fear.  We then make our way into the world, birthed into the light.  We almost immediately know fear.  The first thing that most newborns do is cry out.  We have been pushed from the safety of darkness and are greeted by bright light, by unfamiliar voices and hands, by medical equipment, and by separation from our mothers.  We are now a part of the world and can see everything that the darkness masked.  Despite this, many are still afraid of the dark.  How do we lose that feeling of comfort and peace that the darkness of the womb provided for us?

Advent is like that time in the womb, a period of quiet anticipation, a time of growth, a time of waiting securely in darkness.  Christmas is the time of birth into the light, both literally and figuratively.  Birth cannot happen without gestation.  Christmas cannot happen without Advent.   Words of T. S. Eliot come to mind.  “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend.”  In these last few days of the Advent season, try to find some moments of quiet stillness and darkness to prepare yourself to greet the Christ child, to welcome the The Light with joy.


Creator and Mother of Us All, help me to find stillness and comfort in these final days of waiting.  That in darkness, I may feel the same peace, joy, and love that is birthed into the world as Christmas light.

Devotion Author

Kris Baker, Order of Saint Francis and St. Clare

Daily Devotion Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse. Malachi 4.5-6

A Word of Hope

Today is International Solidarity Day. A United Nations holiday, this is:

  • a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;
  • a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;
  • a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;
  • a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals including poverty eradication;
  • a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

When I read the passage from Malachi and then read the description of International Solidarity Day, I was struck by the similarity and the difference. Both speak of coming together. Malachi speaks of parents and children turning to each other. International Solidarity Day speaks to all peoples turning to each other.

But the difference is striking. Malachi says that God will send Elijah who will bring this solidarity to the parents and children of Israel. This is an external force working on the people. God has to send a messenger to bring this about.

The United Nations description of International Solidarity Day celebrates unity in diversity. It speaks of people reminding government to respect agreements, and encourage all peoples to honor and celebrate and work for solidarity.

This difference is for me very illustrative of the change brought by Jesus. The law of Moses is no longer imposed in fear and by firebrand prophets. It is planted in the heart, it comes when we die to our old selves and are reborn in Jesus. It is internal; growing from within; expanding out to our fellow people. We celebrate diversity because we see the Christ in each person just as we see Jesus living as a person.

Prayerful Words

Loving God we thank you for the differences between us. We celebrate ourselves and our sisters and brothers as being part of the human family that carries the breath of life and the Christ within. Be with all of us, and turn our hearts to each other so that we can see you and your Christ in each other.

Devotion Author

Weber Baker, Order of St. Francis and St. Clare

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