Tag Archives: December

Joy! Jesus is our Joy!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 25, 2015

joy to the world blackboard

Joy! Jesus is our Joy!

As much as I love Henri Nouwen’s writing, he is by no means the only Christian writer I fangirl.

I need to make a confession. When I was considering the Advent season and the month of December (last month), I chose two writers of stature, whose writings I greatly respect. I ordered two books of Advent meditations featuring their writings. And, I said to myself, whichever book arrives first will be the one I use. Henri Nouwen’s book arrived first. So, that was settled.

However—Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book of meditations and reflections is also rich. Deeply moving and meaningful. Even though I couldn’t manage the whole season of Advent, at least I could finish up December with Bonhoeffer. See whether I can finish this year of prayer well. Bonhoeffer is certainly a heavy hitter, as far as prayer, meditation and devotion are concerned.

Joy to the world! That’s what I am called to consider. Joy to the world!

Bonhoeffer walks us through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. Vignettes, in a brief glimpse form. Different ways in which Jesus revealed Himself to different segments of humanity. Until, at last, Jesus was resurrected for all of us, that Easter morning.

This hymn, “Joy to the World,” is full of theological detail from a broad scope, The vast sweep of eternity. Yet, I am drawn to consider the birth of Jesus. That specific moment in time, over two thousand years ago. Bonhoeffer makes reference to 1 Peter 1, especially “even though you do not see [Jesus] now, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.”

Yes. Jesus is my joy. I find joy in the entrance of the eternal God into this world. I find joy in God the eternal Son loving the world so much that He chose to empty Himself and become human. I find joy in God desiring a relationship with me. With me!

Thank You, God. I know I don’t deserve any of it. But, I try to be grateful. Thank You, God.


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‘Twas One Week Before Christmas

snowy trees and blue sky

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In recent, past Decembers, I have been harried, rushed, almost frantic with everything that needed doing. But not this year. I’m so proud of myself—I have not been rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off. (Yay!)

However, I must confess that I did not set out to act like this—calm, peaceful, almost sedate. No, my December just turned out that way. So far, at least.

Perhaps the calm came to me as a byproduct of the email prayer list I moderate (St. Peter’s Prayer Project, an intercessory prayer ministry for members and friends of the church I belong to). Or, possibly, the peace could have come from my fairly regular Advent devotions (I’ve only missed two days this season so far—great batting average for me!). Then again, I have been joyfully consistent in my exercise at the YMCA gym in town—three times a week for several months. Yay! (My spiritual director knows and approves heartily.)

I am not quite sure what is helping me to maintain a modicum of peace and serenity this Advent season, but I am thankful for the wonderful feelings of calm and contentment that come to me more often than not. More often than in recent Decembers, I can tell you! Whatever (Whomever?) is helping me, may it continue. (Thanks, God!) I do appreciate the peace.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thanks for helping me to stay in the peace and calm of Your presence this Advent season—at least for a while. Forgive me when I stray from Your side, and from where You want me to be. I know I don’t always need to run away in a physical sense. I can stray mentally, spiritually and psychologically, too. But You help me to quiet my mind. You still the tumult in my soul. You allow that Peace that passes human understanding to enter my heart. Thank You, Prince of Peace. Amen, God!