G.I.F.T. 1-2-2022

Growing In Faith Together
January 2, 2022

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?

* What does it mean to be a child of God?

* 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 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
Monday Isaiah 6:1-5
Tuesday Jeremiah 31:7-14
Wednesday Isaiah 60:1-6
Thursday Psalm 29
Friday Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Saturday 1 Corinthians 2:11-16
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

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.
Amen
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Devotional Practices:
January 6 is Epiphany (Thursday). 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 + 22 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. Imagine for a moment what you would bring to the infant Jesus. And why?

The CommUnity Food Bank is always in need of disposable diapers. You can drop them off at 

CommUnity Food Pantry at Pepperwood Plaza
1045 Highway 6 East

Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 351-0128

Or give to an organization closer to you. I'm sure that any food bank would appreciate a gift of diapers. 
PS. And the Domestic Violence Intervention Program needs them too... as would any Domestic Violence shelter.



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