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12.7 Advent Devotional

Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
behold the King of glory waits;
the King of kings is drawing near;
the Savior of the world is here.

Scripture - Isaiah 61:1-4

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

Devotion - The Lasting Gift

Every Christmas of my childhood involved the church and the story of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds and the three Wise men with their gifts. Now Mary and Joseph lived humble lives so what did they do with the gifts? When I was a little older I posed this question to my Mom, Rose, and she wrote me a short story with a possible scenario.  It is titled “The Last Gift”.

A short synopsis goes something like this. Joseph insisted they might be arrested with the gold on the way to Egypt, so they decided to give it to the innkeeper and the poor in Bethlehem. The Frankincense was given to the temple that Jesus spoke in when he was 12. 

The story actually starts and ends with Mary’s journey up the hill to Gethsemane ready to prepare Jesus for burial with the myrrh. When she arrives she cries out with distress and drops the vessel, spilling the myrrh onto the ground, when she sees that the body is already moved. The place and not His body had been anointed with the contents.

I loved that she imagined such insightful answers to feed my curiosity. I loved that my Mom made the Christmas story complete for me. It is a lasting Christmas Joy, the little story book she did just for me, a Christmas gift that will last.


Rebecca Sipprell

Masters in This Hall - performed by Hudson youth on flute and Carol Yeargin, piano. Arranged by Douglas Wagner

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Many of us find that an intentional practice is important as part of our Advent reflections and you may want to consider this one. The Hunger Action Team suggests you set aside one food item or a small amount of money each day to stock the Food Pantry at North Raleigh Ministries. Click here for more information.