G.I.F.T. 12-8-19

Growing In Faith Together 
December 8, 2019

TODAY’S TEXTS
Isaiah 11:1-10 
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 
Romans 15:4-13 
Matthew 3:1-12

GATHERED BY GRACE
At the heart of our Advent preparation stands John the Baptist, who calls us to repent and make a new beginning. As the darkness increases, we turn toward the light of Christ's coming. We wait with hope for that day when the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and there will be no more hurt or destruction. We proclaim that in Christ the kingdom of God has come near.
Discuss in your household or small group: 
* The “gifts of the spirit” listed in Isaiah 11:2-3 are those for which we pray at each person’s baptism. What does it mean to you that you have received these gifts?  What difference does this make for you? 
* How do you experience Isaiah’s vision for us here?  When and where do you yearn for this to be especially so? 
* Have you ever experienced the sort of reversals Isaiah offers?  What might it look like if we were all to live as if this is so? 

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 3:1-12
Monday 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Tuesday Isaiah 41:17-20
Wednesday Psalm 21:1-7
Thursday Psalm 146:5-10
Friday 2 Peter 3:11-14
Saturday 1 Samuel 2:1-2
Sunday Matthew 11:2-11

Next Sunday:  Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week: Open us, O God, to your unfolding vision of peace.

Throughout the Day: Stir up my heart to prepare the way for you.

A Blessing to Share: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.

For mealtime say responsively: Prepare the way for the Lord: Make straight the paths before him.

Advent 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 describes the peace that the Messiah will bring by reversing the hostile elements of nature. The prophet dreams of the day when God's reign of justice and peace is established over all creation. Divisions between people seem to be the headlines these days. Take time to consider how you can share in Isaiah's vision by helping enemies to become friends. Then write your own Advent peace prayer.

Advent Ritual: 
You will need 5 candles for the season. You can use a wreath or simply use the candles. 
Read Isaiah 11:1-10. Today, the prophet Isaiah describes his vision of a new and transformed world - a world where all creatures live together in harmony and peace. We light the candle of peace to proclaim that the Prince of Peace is coming into the world. Light two candles.

SCATTERED TO SERVE
Support a holiday meal for a family in need. A $25 donation to Project Holiday purchases a complete holiday meal for a local family in need. Think of all the holiday cheer you could spread!  Donations will be accepted through the end of the year. Make checks out to and send to Project Holiday, CommUnity Crisis Services & Food Bank – 1121 Gilbert Court, Iowa City, IA 52240-4528.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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