Saturday, January 4th

By: Bethany Apelquist
Psalm 148
Reflection—v.5b ‘God commanded and they were created’

God Commanded and they were created, I love that, I love that we serve a God who can create beauty out of nothing with a single command. In a world that is so often filled with war, and violence, and heartbreak I think that there is something that is deep within us that longs for God the creator to be close to us, we long for God to create something new. We long for God to show up and take most broken parts of our hearts, and our world and say the word to create something new, something better, something more holy. And while we celebrate that big awesome power of a God who created the mountains with a single word, I think where the real hope lies is that believe in a Creator who emerges in the bleakest hour to create something new, is that not what the incarnation of Christ is all about? That Christ showed up when the world needed him to the most to offer us something new- offer us a new creation, a new way of life. A way of life that resists the temptation of violence and says yes to peace, a way of life that hold heartbreak with tenderness, a way of life that is marked by more love, more justice, more mercy? This Christmas season may we celebrate the presence of the Creator among us, and work hard every day to co-create that new way of being.

Prayer: Creator God, inspire us to be co-creators with you.

Monday, December 30th

By: Matthew Hyatt
Hebrews 2:10-18
Reflection—v. 14 ‘he himself likewise shared the same things’

When I read this passage, the words empathy and understanding popped into my head. Often, when we are upset or hurt, others will do their best to comfort us. It doesn’t always work, but a frequent method of comforting is letting the person who is hurt know that they are not alone. We tell them that ‘I’m here,’ and ‘You are not alone.’ We also tell them that ‘we understand.’ Sometimes that isn’t entirely true, because we can’t fully understand what the person is going through unless we are that person. We can’t, but God can. Paul explains that God sent Jesus to walk with us, to suffer as we suffer, to go the extra mile and even die for us. God walks with us every moment of every day of our lives. God knows our struggles, our sorrows, our pain, our confusion. God knows because, not only is God there with us, but God stays with us. God was Jesus dying on the cross to show us that he will go the distance with us. God desires to go the distance because God empathizes with us. God understands what we are enduring more than any other person can. The writer also offers us some encouragement in that Jesus did not come to ‘help angels’ but rather the ‘descendants of Abraham,’ us. God knows we are not perfect so God sent God’s Son to spread the word about the forgiveness he freely and abundantly offers for our sins. This passage is a testament to God’s unending love and compassion for us, God’s children.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for walking with me; help me to empathize and walk with others.

Thursday, December 19th

By: Isaiah Lewis
Luke 1:46b-55
Reflection—v. 47 ‘In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior’

In the Magnificat, Mary—a poor, unmarried girl in a colonized territory—becomes a poet and a prophet. She begins by saying her heart magnifies God, then goes on to say how being in relationship with God changes how she expects the rest of the world to see her. Instead of being cast aside because she’s too young, poor, or female to matter, Mary calls others to recognize her dignity and the gifts God has been working through her. She also takes joy in the radical mercy God is showing everyone, not just her, and gives concrete examples of what it looks like: people being unable to organize their arrogant thoughts and dominate others with them, oppressive and oppressed people being put on equal footing, and everyone having enough, but not too much, to eat. Mary is outlining a prophetic vision of the kingdom of God in this passage, and because she knows who God is, she’s willing to risk her body and her reputation to bring it into the world. And she’s happy about it! She shows us that even in the midst of confronting harsh injustices in our lives, we can find joy in the identity God’s love gives us.

Prayer: My soul does magnify the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my savior!