is the first Sunday of Advent,
as we begin our annual
spiritual journey to your birth.
The prophets call people
to repentance as they look forward
to the coming of a savior.
We enter into the waiting
and expectation of what is to come.
Guide us, Lord, as we prepare for
and enter into a deeper
relationship with you.
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
“Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Lord, today is what the merchants call
Black Friday. They hope
people will rush to their stores
and buy Christmas presents.
Many bargains are offered.
Some stores even opened last night.
When I was younger
I sometimes joined in.
Now I will shop when
it’s not so crowded.
We may have lost sight
of the fact that Christmas
is the celebration of your birth.
Lord, open our hearts
to the true meaning of your
being born among us.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
We think of the Pilgrims, Lord,
and the Native Americans who helped
and provided for them,
through an instinctive kindness.
And we give thanks
for our country, its heritage,
and all its natural resources.
We give thanks for turkey,
pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce.
Lord, we have been greatly blessed.
Thank you for all your
gifts and care for us. Amen.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness.
Hymn: Come, Ye Thankful People Come
As we approach a special day
for giving you thanks, Lord,
we are reminded
of how fortunate we are.
We have food, shelter,
family, and friends.
We read in the newspaper of people
who have lost everything
in natural disasters and war.
Agencies try to furnish necessities
by appealing for funds.
Open our hearts, Lord,
that others may know
your love and care.
Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.
In reply he (John the Baptist) said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”
O Gracious God,
now I’ve done it.
While walking around a lake
I slipped on leaves,
fell, and pulled a leg muscle.
I was with my husband
who was tired, too,
so he called our daughter
on his cell phone
to come and get us
as our car was still a distance away.
Then he walked to meet our daughter,
which was fortunate,
because the area where I was sitting
was blocked. They had to find
a park officer to open the gate.
We are grateful that our daughter
was home and could help us out.
And we give thanks for cell phones.
O Gracious God, help us accept
our limits and live within them.
Psalm 37: 25-26:
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are ever giving liberally and lending, and their children become a blessing.
Hymn: There Is a Balm In Gilead
O Heavenly Father, today
I gave up my roasting pan
and my turkey platter.
They went on a shelf
in our lower level hall
for things to be given away
that others might want.
It’s the end of an era for me, Father.
I did so enjoy cooking the turkey
eating it, and making the turkey soup.
Now my daughter has Thanksgiving
and cooks the turkey.
Guide and be with me, Father,
as I continue to grow into
this later phase of life.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
Hymn: He Leadeth Me
In our building almost everyone
speaks to each other.
The workers have a training course
which encourages them
to greet residents they encounter,
and they do.
Lord, you taught your disciples
to care about everyone.
Sometimes they were surprised.
Help us to grow in understanding
and love for all others.
Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.”
But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?”
Hymn: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian