Month: November 2014

Advent: First Sunday – Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:26-45

Advent Crown 1 Candle

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
– Isaiah 7:14

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph,
a descendant of David.
The virgin’s name was Mary.
The angel went to her and said,
‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

Mary was greatly troubled at his words
and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her,
‘Do not be afraid, Mary,
you have found favour with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you are to call him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called
the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever;
his kingdom will never end.’

‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age,
and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
For no word from God will ever fail.’
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.
‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’
Then the angel left her.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the baby leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed:
‘Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the child you will bear!
But why am I so favoured,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!’
– Luke 1:26-45

Salt and Light

Salt will be nothing,
If it loses its saltiness;
Light serves no purpose,
If hidden from sight.
Be salt to the world,
To preserve and transform it;
Be light in the darkness,
To shine before all mankind.
To show the true Way,
And bid the shadows beat retreat;
Shining to reflect all glory
Back to the Father above.

Quotes on Advent

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

“For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.”
― Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

“I am determined to enjoy each day to the fullest. I don’t want to wish away Christmas. I want to enjoy these last moments of Advent and look forward to Jesus’s birth with anticipation.”
― Shelley Shepard Gray, Grace

“There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m so thankful for Advent. Consider it a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.”
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

“It is not enough to celebrate Christmas. We need to be changed and shaped by what we are celebrating. If our spiritual life is no better in spite of all our praying, fasting, and church services, then we have not yet begun to fully respond to the significance of Advent and of the Nativity.”
― Vassilios Papavassiliou, Meditations for Advent: Preparing for Christ’s Birth

“I long to look at my holiday season with eyes that see the Christ in Christmas.”
― Ann Marie Stewart, Preparing My Heart for Advent

#FF @TearFundRhythms ‘Follow Friday’ Haiku – #AntiBlackFriday

Self-serving idolatry –
The mindset of greed

Fair trade, living wage,
Investing in livelihoods –
A heart set on grace

dedicated to @TearfundRhythms

Faith Unlocked’s Friday Haiku – Vain Folly

Ronovan Writes Haiku Prompt Badge Autumn 2014

Written following this week’s Haiku Challenge on RonovanWrites – “Hunt and Wind”

Hunting down the wind –
A meaningless vain folly
Like envying God

A Ronovan's Choice!

You might also like a Tanka with similar subject matter, Chasing After the Wind

Thursday is Verse Day @FaithUnlocked – Psalm 107

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labour;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.

Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.

He turned rivers into a desert,
flowing springs into thirsty ground,
and fruitful land into a salt waste,
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish.

Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
he who pours contempt on nobles
made them wander in a trackless waste.
But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
and increased their families like flocks.
The upright see and rejoice,
but all the wicked shut their mouths.
Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

– Psalm 107


I thank my Lord, with all my heart;
And tell all of His wonderful deeds.
I am glad and rejoice in Him
For He is the Most High
And most worthy of praise.
My Lord reigns forever;
And I thank Him with all my heart.

He has upheld my cause,
Established his throne for judgement;
He rules the world in righteousness
And judges the people with equity;
He will rebuke the nations,
And destroy the wicked,
Blotting out their names for ever and ever,
And I thank my Lord, with all my heart.

The Lord is a refuge for His children when oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
Those who know His Name, trust in Him,
And He never forsakes those who seek Him;
The wicked are weakened
By the work of their own hands;
But God will never forget those who seek Him,
The hope of the afflicted will never be extinguished;
And I thank my Lord, always, with all my heart.

– inspired by Psalm 91

Treasures in Heaven

Written following this week’s prompt on Haiku Horizons:


Don’t store up treasures –
Earth’s moths and vermin destroy,
Thieves break in and steal.

Rather be gen’rous,
And invest in God’s kingdom –
Blessing one and all.