To Know Christ For Ourselves (Mon. Dec. 28)

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “know.”  In our reading of Hebrews 8:7-15, the apostle refers to the new covenant that makes the old covenant between God and His Chosen People obsolete.   The people had broken the laws of the old covenant, which was written on stone.  But the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34)   had promised that God would make a new covenant (vs. 9) that would be written on the heart (vs. 10).  In that new relationship with God, no one would need to be taught to know the Lord.  All would know him, from the youngest to the oldest (vs. 11).  And in knowing Him, everyone would know His will and ways.  His laws…

The Gospel Not According to Man (Sun. Dec. 27)

Christ is born! Glorify Him! The word of the day is “revelation.”  In our reading of Galatians 1:11-19, St. Paul insists that the Gospel that he preaches did not come from any human source.  He writes, “I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation  of Jesus Christ (vs. 12). Paul declares that “His” Gospel was not “according to man” (vs. 11 OSB).  The Greek term for “according” means “to come down in place or time” (Strong’s  #2596, 128).  Thus, the Gospel did not come from any human being, nor was he taught it.  Accordingly, the Oxford Annotated Bible translates that “it is not of human origin” (vs. 11 OAB). Revealed in…

Sent in Humility: Manifested in Glory

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “God.”   In our reading of 1 Timothy 6:11-16, St. Paul offers a doxology of praise to the Lord of lords and King of kings who is immortal, and invisible, and in glory hidden from human eyes. Pau’s hymn of glorifying God is appropriate for this day after the Feast of the Nativity.  On this second day of the Feast,  all that we have said and done now blend together in a song of honor, adoration, and worship of the “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, and incomprehensive” God (“Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,”  St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1984). Lord of Lords, King of Kings The passage may have been a doxology…

God Sent Forth His Son (Fri. Dec. 25)

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “sent.” On this glorious day, we hear Paul’s concise summary of the gospel in our reading of Galatians  4:4-7. He writes, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons” (vs. 4-5). How long did it take for the time to be filled up with hours, days and years and decades (Strong’s #4136, 204)?  How much suffering did the Chosen People endure as the centuries heaped up one on top of the others? How much perseverance did it take for the People…

A Different Kind of Kingdom (Thurs. Dec. 24)

Christ is born! Glorify Him! The word of the day is “kingdom.”  On the eve of the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, we hear of the identity of the child to be born and the significance of His birth. As our reading of Hebrews 1:1-12 begins, the apostle argues that the angels may be magnificent.  But the divine Son of God is greater than the most stupendous angel.  Through Him, the worlds were made. He was His Reign is Forever the agent of the Creator who laid the foundations of the earth.  In Him, the brightness of God’s glory shines.  With Him, there is no change or alteration. On Him, God has poured the anointing oil of kingship,…

Spiritual Growth Requires Solid Food (Wed. Dec. 23)

The word of the day is “solid.”  Today, our reading of Hebrews 5:11-6:8 emphasizes the necessity that everyone should continue to grow in faith and the knowledge of the faith.  The apostle writes, “Therefore leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation…” (vs. 6:1). As this passage begins, the apostle notes that there is much more to say about the High Priest Melchizedek.  Yet, he gives up trying to explain it because he complains that his readers have become “dull of hearing” (vs. 11).  The  Greek word that the apostle uses means sluggish (Strong’s #3576, 174).  They have become slothful in their comprehension of the teachings of the…

The Doors Are Open: Let Us Enter (Tues. Dec. 22)

The word of the is day is “rest.”   In our reading of Hebrews 4:1-13, we hear that the doors of God’s offer of “heavenly rest” remain open to us.  Therefore, we should not pass by the opportunity.  But we should mix the hearing of the Gospel of hope with faith in its promise lest we lose that heavenly calling. Think what our Heavenly Father offers us in the proclamation of the apostle.  It is the rest of divine help in trial and temptation now and the greater rest of glory and relief from our labors in the age to come.  It is the precious  “heavenly calling” (vs. 3:1) that as the Creator rested from his works on the first Sabbath,…

To Soften the Heart (Mon. Dec. 21)

The word for today is “harden.”  In Hebrews 3:5-11, 17-19, we read of the apostle’s urgent plea that we should “hold fast our confidence” (3:6 and 3:14) and not “harden our hearts.” We should not falter lest we should forfeit our heavenly calling (vs. 3:10). The apostle quotes the psalmist who recounts the rebellion of the Children of Israel in the wilderness (Psalm 95:8-11).  The psalm referred to the incident of “rebellion” when the Israelites “provoked” the Lord (Strong’s #4894, 191) and “tested” Him. They “challenged him to prove Himself” (Strong’s #3986, 196).  Because of the people’s contempt and Moses’ disobedience, God vowed that Moses would not bring the people into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12). Entering into God’s Rest…

Not Apart from Us (Sun. Dec.20)

The word of the day is “faith.” Today’s reading from Hebrews is a memorial of the Old Testament saints who by faith persevered in the hope for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.  In Hebrews 11:9-10, 17-23, 32-40, we read of the faithful witness of those who endured incredible suffering as they firmly clung to God’s promise, a pledge that is now fulfilled in the birth of the Savior. Heroes and Heroines of Faith In today’s passage, the writer of Hebrews names the ancients: Abel, Enoch, and Noah.  He recalls the patriarchs: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob. The apostle brings to mind: Joseph, Moses, Joshua, deon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets  (vs. 11:4-32). Then he recounts…

The Riches of Our Inheritance (Sat. Dec. 19)

The word of the day is “inheritance.”  In today’s reading of Ephesians 1:16-23, St. Paul speaks of the inheritance that is in store for all the faithful.  He tells the Ephesians that he prays that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know… what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (vs.18). Paul begins his letter with the assurance of the birthright of the faithful. He writes, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).  Yet Paul considers that it is not enough for the faithful to believe that they have a…