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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 15, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Zephaniah 3:14–18

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. (NRSV)

“Sing aloud,” “rejoice and exult,” “gladness,” “delight,” “the Lord is in your midst,” “he will renew you in his love”—I can’t think of better words to describe Christmas, even though these words from our reading today are from the prophet Zephaniah. The Christmas season, with all its attendant hustle and bustle, is my favorite time of year. I love thinking about the people I love as I plan their presents, buying gifts for the kids being tutored at Fourth Church, sending and receiving annual Christmas letters to connect with longtime friends, listening to many different versions of favorite Christmas carols and holiday songs, and buying the plane ticket for South Carolina, so that I can spend Christmas with my family there.

Without doubt, this is the season of love, the time to give love and the time to receive love. What a legacy of Christ’s life! Of all the gifts at Christmas, this is the most crucial. Christ was born so that we might live abundantly. And to live abundantly is to love.

I think it’s appropriate that we use this time of year to connect, to give and receive, to show love. For me, amidst the hustle and bustle, it’s a time to consider what Christ did for me and to consider what I can do for others as I continue on my own Christian journey.

Lord, help me to use this Advent season to think of ways to show love to those I know and to those I don’t know, so that I might fully and abundantly live. Amen.

Written by Beth Rizer, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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