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2020 Advent Devotional – Day 8

Praise

What Child is This?
Words by William Chatterton Dix, 1865

“This, this is Christ the King”

Video: What Child is This?


Reflection

This arrangement of William Dix’s hymn picks up on the themes from yesterday’s carol, emphasising the poverty into which Jesus was born. The two carols share a sense of amazement that Jesus is born into such circumstances, to experience and understand the hardness of life.

And yet this experience is central to the life of Jesus, who God made to become one with us, to live as one of us. This is not God apart from humanity, apparent but ultimately out of reach, to be viewed and revered from afar.

This instead is God immersed in humanity, knowing the dirt on the stable floor, the growl perhaps of a stomach still wanting for more. This is our God, caring for us extravagantly and embracing our very lives. Our God grieves with the depth of our pain, soars on the heights of our joy, enfolds us with the strength of his peace.

This is a personal and intimate God, longing to know us deeply and wholly, to greet each morning in our hearts, to end each day in our thoughts. This is Christ the King, not of a palace but of our very being.

This is Christ the King, who transcends both the world and the divine. Thus, the outcast and shunned shepherds will guard him while tributes flow down from heaven, sung by angelic choirs, surrounding him in honour.

And we are called to join in: to guard Christ in our hearts, to honour him in our living, and most of all to praise him. To let praise burst from our lips in song and heartfelt worship, to let our praise resound into the world as we go about our days. This is Christ our King, who belongs with us and abides in us. Praise be to God.


Exalted God,
Christ the King, be also the Lord of my heart. Nurture me each day to recognize your abiding presence. Inspire me each day to lead my life with your love and to be guided by your forgiving grace. In my quiet moments let me recognize the calm of your peace. In my joyful times help me remember the glory of your love. And in my periods of despair, let me praise your eternal comfort and strength. Amen.


Reading

What Child is this?

What child is this, who, laid to rest
on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him praise,
the babe, the son of Mary.


If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.

Praise

Purposed - Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Luke 19:37-38

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, today read Luke 19.

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Today then, we read of the events of Palm Sunday; of Jesus’ acclaimed entry into Jerusalem, with a multitude of believers worshiping God and praising Jesus and his ministry. The adulation, we know, will be short-lived, and within days the crowd will turn against Jesus, but in this passage we have a reminder of why we also praise God. As the disciples were driven by the “deeds of power that they had seen,” so too we are encouraged to give thanks for the ways in which God works in our lives: our prayers that are answered, our hopes that are fulfilled, and the love we are blessed with. The disciples cried out “Peace in heaven,” while we can remember the peace in our hearts that comes from the promise of God’s grace and forgiveness. And as the disciples worshiped, “glory in the highest heaven,” we can be inspired to offer glory to God through our lives.


Blessed God, glorious Lord, let our voices and our hearts praise and worship You. We give thanks for Your presence in our world: for the strength and support You provide us in challenging times, for the comfort and peace You send us through our prayer and worship of You. Let our lives resound with Your love, ringing out for all to see. Amen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.

Lent Devotional Home

Praise

Luke 1:59-64 – Zechariah names John and can speak

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.


Praise - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

If you hadn’t spoken a word in nine months, you might have a great deal to say. You might even have nine months of frustration and resentment stored up, that you are bursting to give voice to. Not so for Zechariah, who has had nine months to reflect on the promises shared by the angel Gabriel and to think about God’s plans and purpose for your son and the world. And so as Gabriel’s prophecy gradually unfolded, Zechariah is overwhelmed with his personal experience of God’s power. Praise and wonder are the only fitting response. Today, let Zechariah inspire us to make the time for praise, because it is far too easy to overlook how often God answers our prayers. Pause today and remember all our cries of help that God has answered, and praise God for all the wondrous ways he is at work in our lives.


Magnificent God, wow! And hosanna! You answer our prayers and see all our needs, working in marvellous and unexpected ways. Thank You for caring for us. Thank You for walking beside us, in our good times as well as in our moments of fear and despair. Thank You for being Emmanuel, God with us, for reassuring, comforting and inspiring us. Praise be to You, O Lord, for Your generous and tender care. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2019.

Praise

Blessed- Advent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario
Photo credit: Vanil-Noir

We, each of us, have more blessings than we have time to count, from a frosty breath on a cold winter’s morning to the twinkling of stars in the sky at night. Mary’s song reminds us that we too have great things, and that our spirit should rejoice and glorify God’s divine love.


Dear Lord, God of all creation,
Forgive us that in our day-to-day rushing about, we so often overlook and take for granted your endless love. Inspire us to see your glory in our world today, in the small and ordinary moments, and to pause and give you thanks.
Amen.

Luke 1:46-49

Mary’s Song of Praise

46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
     Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
     and holy is his name.