G.I.F.T. 12-17-17

Growing In Faith Together 
December 17, 2017

 TODAY’S TEXTS 
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 
Luke 1:46b-55 
1 Thess. 5:16-24 
John 1:6-8, 19-28


GATHERED BY GRACE 
The church rejoices as the advent of the Messiah draws nearer. The texts for today echo this “we’re almost there” excitement. Isaiah describes a people restored through images of weddings and springtime and oak trees. In the canticle, Mary rejoices in the transformations coming with the birth of her baby. Paul urges us to rejoice “always.”

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* How do you find joy in the midst of unfulfilled hopes?
* What signs of God’s faithfulness cause you to rejoice?
* In what way do you live confidently within God’s promises? Where do you struggle to “rejoice” in this way?
* As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, who identified his own call with the Isaiah passage, what is the deep hope within us for the world?

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 John 1:6-8, 19-28
Monday Ephesians 6:10-17
Tuesday Psalm 125
Wednesday Mark 9:9-13
Thursday Psalm 89:1-4
Friday Hebrews 1:5-9
Saturday John 7:40-44
Sunday Luke 1:26-38

Next Sunday: 2 Samuel 7:1-11; Luke 1: 46b-55; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week:  Stir up my will, O God, to tell of your light.

Throughout the Day:  Advent God, I rejoice in your light and love!

Blessing to Share: May the God of peace guide and keep you until the coming of our Lord Jesus.

For mealtime say responsively: 
God is close, the world waits: We will rejoice.

Advent Mealtime Prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest; 
      And let these gifts to us be blest.
      Guide us on the servant’s way; 
      lead us to your dawning day. Amen



FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  

Devotional Practice: 
Light three candles and pray: We light the candles of Hope, of Peace, and of Joy. We excitedly await the coming of the Mighty One.  Rejoicing in the mercy and justice of our Lord, we lift our hearts and voices in songs of joy.

Advent Ritual: 
Create a Prayer Central for this Advent! Set aside a place where everyone can add prayers graffiti style. Use a large piece of paper, or a notebook, or a white board. Throughout Advent, all in your home can add names of people and places that need prayer, and common themes such as hunger, peace, or love.  Encourage all to contribute ideas.

SCATTERED TO SERVE 

This Friday is our turn at Free Lunch. Three days before Christmas is a great time to share food and God’s love! Show up between 11 am and 12:30 pm to help. The Free Lunch program is located at 1105 S. Gilbert Court in Iowa City.




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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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