Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 17, 2023

Third Sunday in Advent

Grace, peace, and mercy be to you from God the Father and His Son, Christ Jesus on this third Sunday in Advent.
Wouldn’t it be great if our lives could be mapped perfectly into our GPS system, and all we had to do was follow the arrow? During this season of Advent, we may particularly wish we had such a device. We could get all the Christmas cards written and in the mail by December 10; all the baking would occur without mistake, and the gifts would be wrapped and labeled well in advance of December 24. And everybody in the household would be polite, content, and motivated to go beyond what is expected.
It’s a nice dream, but life doesn’t unfold exactly as we desire. Instead, we are often stressed, irritable, noticeably quiet, and exhausted. We find ourselves longing for something more.
In today’s Old Testament reading, the prophet Amos recalls wanting something different for the people of Israel. God gave Amos a hard job to do when He directed him to say to the people “Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the Land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:6). Amos delivers that message to the people, but it is a two-fold message; words of judgment followed by words of restoration.
Restore means to “renew, make useful again, or to make over”. There are people who love to restore things—and often their reason for doing so is because there was something about the project that made it worth saving. When God sees us, He promises to rebuild what is broken. As the master craftsman, He repairs the damage we have done to ourselves and to others. He restores us to Himself again through His Word and Sacraments.
God cares deeply about us. Whatever is weighing heavy on your mind and heart can be given to God in full confidence that He will forgive and return you to wholeness. He is the Master of restoration.

Prayer: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Amen. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Devotion written by the Rev. Susan Fox

O Sapientia/O Wisdom

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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