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Saturday, December 31: “A Matter of Time”

Psalm 90: 9, 12-14:  “For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. … Do return, O Lord, how long will it be? …O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness.”  For much of western society tomorrow is a day about time, as the turning of a calendar page will remind us.  Perhaps that is why this Psalm is appointed for its eve, because it, too, concerns itself with time: eternity, days, years, morning, how long?  This is not a bad thing; once in a while we all need to stop and ask the Lord to “teach us to number our days.”  After all, one day we will wake up and time will be no more.  When that day comes, we do not want to be wishing we had used our time more wisely.

Friday, December 30: “Give ‘em the Finger”

John 8: 5, 6: “’Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what do you then say?’ And they were saying this, testing Him, in order that they might have grounds to accuse Him.” These men were not concerned with righteous, or justice, or the Law.  They only wanted to get at Jesus, and they were willing to sacrifice the woman to achieve their aim, using as their weapon the accusing finger.  But Jesus took His finger, the same finger that had written the Law on tablets of stone (Deuteronomy 9: 10), and wrote it again on the ground.  Their fingers were accusing, His was embracing; for the Law in actuality points us to God’s love, not His judgment.  Do we use our fingers to accuse, or to liberate? (Isaiah 58)

Thursday, December 29:  “Who Needs Nike?”

Psalm 18: 33:  “He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places.”  There are certain brands of sneakers that can make you fly, or so they say, but this is even better.  Even as the feet of a hind (a type of deer) are especially suited for the rugged mountainous terrain of Palestine, enabling the animal to ascend heights above his enemies, so the Lord sets us on the high places of His presence.  And there in His presence, who can assail us? There our souls find safety, peace, and rest, and are renewed for the battles ahead.   

Wednesday, December 28: “You are God’s Tattoo”

Isaiah 49: 20: “The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears, ‘The place is too cramped for me; make room for me that I may live here.’”  How can children of whom we have been bereaved, such as the martyrs of Bethlehem (whose Feast we celebrate today), come back and ask to live with us again?  How?  As the Lord says, “This is My work” (v. 23), His work of resurrection.  We can apply this in other ways, as well; those who raised children in the Church only to see them stray when reaching adulthood, and those who have seen spiritual children likewise wander and leave the pasture desolate, will again see them, for God has inscribed them on the palms of His hands (v. 16).  Those who hopefully wait for Him will not be ashamed!

Tuesday, December 27: “How Will They Know?”

John 13: 35: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  It’s not the big crowds, it’s not the Gospel tee shirts, it’s not the smells and bells, it’s not the inspirational music or energizing beat, it’s not even the number of scripture verses memorized and quoted.  Only one thing will prove your love for Jesus, and that is your love for your fellow believers.  On this Feast of St. John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, let us remember and practice this greatest of signs that point the way to Christ.

Monday, December 26: “Highly Qualified”

Acts 6: 3, 5:  “’But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.’ … and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”  So, you wanna serve the Lord?  You wanna be a deacon?  Where do you start?  You’d have to start where St. Stephen did: four times (Acts 6: 3, 5, 10, and 7: 55) it says he was full of the Holy Spirit; thrice (Acts 6: 3, 5, and 10) it says he was full of wisdom, which comes from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2: 10-16), so you might as well say that seven times he is noted as being full of the Spirit.  For divine ministry, you do like Stephen and even Jesus Christ did - you start with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1: 10), you end with the Holy Spirit (Luke 23: 46), and everything in between is about the Holy Spirit, too (Acts 10: 38).  Happy Feast of St. Stephen!

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