G.I.F.T. 1-3-16 Christmas 2

 Growing In Faith Together   

 January 3, 2016

 Today’s Texts: 
Jeremiah 31:7-14 
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14 
John 1:10-18

Gathered by Grace: 
This wonderful text is assigned for the second Sunday following Christmas for all three years of the lectionary.  But the calendar does not always have two Sundays within the twelve days from December 25 through Epiphany, January 6.   Consequently, it is not used very often. In many ways the text offers a summary of the life of Jesus.  He was in the world, but the world did not accept him. That rejection included his own people.  Nevertheless, some people believed and accepted him.  They were given power to become children of God. 
           – Daily Discipleship, ELCA 2005

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* What do you think of this opening of the Gospel of John? What is he trying to emphasize?   
* How do you define “grace upon grace”?
* Imagine a friend of yours comes to you and asks you what grace means.  What kind of an answer would you give?

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 1:10-18 Thursday Psalm 29
Monday Isaiah 6:1-5 Friday Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 
Tuesday Jer. 31:7-14 Saturday 1 Corinthians 2:11-16
Wednesday Isaiah 60:1-6 Sunday Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

NEXT SUNDAY: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Memory verse:
From his fullness we have all received, 
grace upon grace.
John 1:16

Prayers for this Week 
For the Week: Thank you for granting us grace upon grace.

Throughout the Day: Holy light of God, shine through me this day.

A Blessing to Share: God dwells among us.

For mealtime say responsively: Arise and shine: For our light has come!

Christmas Mealtime Prayer: 
 Sing this to the tune of “Away in a Manger
      Be present at our table, Lord.
      Be here and everywhere adored.
      These mercies bless and grant that we,
      May strengthened for Thy service be.

For further reflection  

Devotional Practices: 
January 6 is Epiphany. Epiphany means “appearing”, “revealing” or “making visible”.  The season celebrates Jesus’ revelation to us as the Light of the World.  Traditionally, January 6 is associated with the Wise Men who followed a star to find the Christ child. Make stars out of gold or yellow cards.  In your devotional times this week think about ways in which we can be “stars” for Jesus, pointing others to him (e.g. “saying kind words”, “being helpers”).  Write these onto the stars.  Hang them around your house.  Pray for God’s help to shine as lights in the world.

Epiphany Ritual:
An annual blessing of homes is associated with Epiphany.  Prepare a mixture of perfumed water (symbolizing the gifts of the wise men), gather a piece of chalk, and light a candle to symbolize Christ.  Go from room to room.  Sprinkle each room with the water and say:  “Lord Jesus, bless this room and all that takes place here. Light this room and our lives with your presence. Amen.”  When you have gone all through your home, write this inscription above your entrance door in chalk:  “20 + C + M + B + 16”. The letters C, M and B stand for Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the traditional names of the wise men, and for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for "Christ, bless this home."  20 + 16 is the year. Keep this inscription above the doorway until Pentecost.

Scattered to serve  

The wise men came from a faraway land to offer their gifts to the small child Jesus.  Make up small Epiphany gifts to give to young children – perhaps at Gloria Dei, a pediatric floor, or a community child care center.

Weekly Reflection on these texts at gatheredbygrace.org

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245