Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 24, 2022

Revelation 22:12–14 (Listen)

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Advent / The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve

Shall we receive the crown or the curse from Jesus, our righteous judge? That is the question that plagues my mind as I read this passage over and over, “Behold,” says the Lord, “I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he or she has done.”I keep looking for a loophole to get me off the hook for all the sins I have committed, things I’ve done and left undone. What will be the repayment Jesus gives to me, a poor wretched sinner that I am? I deserve nothing good — none of us do. And the law in this passage is crystal clear — our right to the tree of life does not exist. Just like Adam who forfeited his right to the tree of life when he and Eve sinned against the Lord God in Eden, so we too, through our own sin and disobedience, have been stripped of a place in God’s holy throne room. 
What shall we do then? Work harder and harder to be good? To serve more? Shall we try and find a way to earn our way back into God’s good graces? It’s Christmas Eve and many of us will be in church today. Does that count for anything? 
No — but that’s the good news. It’s not about what we can do for ourselves. It’s about what Jesus has done for us, beginning in the manger, walking the streets of Jerusalem, and dying on a cross at Calvary so that we might be free from that which holds us captive: sin and death. If Jesus were to repay us for what we’ve done, we would surely be lost forever. Instead, we cling to Christ’s righteousness, and His holiness becomes ours, since we are unable to be righteous on our own. We happily cling to Paul’s explanation of salvation from his letter to the Romans, “… the righteousness of God (is) through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22–24).
We deserve punishment and yet what we receive is the gift of new life. We deserve destruction and yet what we are given is pure, unconditional love and mercy. It is only by grace that our Lord Jesus doesn’t repay us for what we’ve done. Instead, through His great love, all who trust in Him, have access to the tree of life. We will wear the crown of glory rather than receive the curse due the wicked! We are promised an eternity by His side in that place where there are no more tears, no more suffering, but only joy and light and peace. 
As we peek into the manger tonight, let us see the beauty of the Christ child, the one who is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and the one who loves us enough not to give us what we deserve, but what he wants us to have, eternal life. Amen.

Prayer: Loving Father, You sent Your Son Jesus into the world to bear the weight of our sin. Grant that we who kneel at the manger tonight may know and trust the gift that was given to us. Let our robes be washed white with the blood of the lamb and may we receive the crown of His glory on that last day. Amen. 

Devotion written by The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Little

Isaiah 35 (Listen)

The Ransomed Shall Return

35:1   The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
  it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
  They shall see the glory of the LORD,
    the majesty of our God.
  Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
  Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
  Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
  with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.”
  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
  then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
  For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
  the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
  in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
  And a highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
  the unclean shall not pass over it.
    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
    even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
  No lion shall be there,
    nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
  they shall not be found there,
    but the redeemed shall walk there.
10   And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
  everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Morning Psalms

Evening Psalms

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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