G.I.F.T. 12-18-16

 Growing In Faith Together   

 December 18, 2016

 TODAY'S TEXTS 
 Isaiah 7:10-16 
 Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
 Romans 1:1-7
 Matthew 1:18-25

GATHERED BY GRACE 
Today Isaiah prophesies that a young woman will bear a son and name him Emmanuel. The gospel is Matthew's account of the annunciation and birth of the one named Emmanuel, God-with-us. On this final Sunday in Advent we prepare to celebrate the birth of the one born to save us from the power of sin and death.                  -Sundays and Seasons, Augsburg Fortress 2016

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* What is most surprising to you about the story of Joseph?  Why do you think God chose to risk to come to us in this way? 
* Are you ready to welcome the Son of God? What do you need during this last week to be really ready in mind and heart? 
* The angel told Joseph to give Mary’s son the name Jesus, which means “the Lord saves”.  What did this name tell about his life? 
* Another title for Jesus is “Emmanuel” which means “God with us”.  How have you experienced God as “with you” in your life lately?

DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday.  Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday  Matthew 1:18-25
Monday  Galatians 4:8-20
Tuesday  Galatians 4:21-5:1
Wednesday  Philippians 2:5-11
Thursday  Isaiah 33:17-22
Friday  Luke 2:46b-55
Saturday  Luke 2:1-20
Sunday  John 1:1-14

Next Sunday:  Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4; John 1:1-14

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week: Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.

Throughout the Day: O come, O come, Emmanuel.

A Blessing to Share: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For mealtime say responsively: Let your face shine upon us: We shall be saved.

November Meal Prayer:   
      Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest,
And let your gifts to us be blessed.
      Blest be God, who is our Bread.
      May all the world be clothed and fed.
      
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  
Devotional Practice: 
Isaiah tells us the Messiah will be named Emmanuel which means "God with us." Does your name have a special meaning? How is the Church a sign that Jesus is with us today? How are you, regardless of what your name means, a sign that Jesus is with us? Conclude with your own Advent prayer.

Advent Ritual: 
You will need 5 candles for the season. You can use a wreath or simply use the candles. 
Read Isaiah 7:10-16. Today we shall be lighting the candle of love. No other word so completely describes what we know of our God. For God so loved the world that a child was given. We light the candle of love to proclaim that God's love is revealed in the Child born in Bethlehem. Light four candles. 

SCATTERED TO SERVE
Gloria Dei serves Free Lunch this Friday on the day before Christmas Eve. What a great way to celebrate the One who came to bring good news to the poor! Please come to help anytime between 11 am and 1:30 pm. At 1105 S. Gilbert Court.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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