EChurch@Wartburg 12/1/18

Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

Christmas Prayer by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
Amen

A thousand people came together to record this lovely song, “Gloria”

Nativity Prayer by St. Augustine of Hippo, (AD 354-440)

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
Amen

This is a Christmas favorite picked by TWW readers. Unless you are a awesome singer (I’m not), this is one to enjoy by listening.

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 NIV

I love this account which records the words of Mary, a woman, in Scripture. I must say she managed all of this with great composure and faith. God chose a woman to bring forth the greatest gift for all men and women.

 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Do you know who Jeff VanVonderen is? He is one of the two authors of the book I always recommend on spiritual abuse. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church. He was a guest preacher at Emmanuel Enid and I didn’t want our readers to miss out on this.

We live in a world that promotes, even idolizes individual performance. Even we Christians often use our performance and other people’s assessments of our performance to measure our personal worth and identity, but what the gospel teaches is completely different. The gospel says, “You can’t do anything, and don’t need to do anything to earn it. It’s a gift.” This doesn’t make sense in our world, but this is the “foolishness of the gospel that makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” It truly is too-good-to-be-true, but it is! link

Jeff VanVonderen: Too Good To Be True from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

You may want to stand up and dance to this version by Pentatonix.

Christmas Benediction link

Let us go from this place proclaiming that we have seen the glory of God
Believing that there is a light that shines in the darkness
Which the darkness shall not overcome
And may the love of the Creator
The joy of the Spirit
And the peace of the Christ-child
Be with you this Christmas, and evermore
Amen.


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