Advent Devotional Week 4

 

This page will list each day's scripture, devotion, question(s) to ponder, and a short bio of each author for the fourth week of the Mountain Sky Conference Advent Devotions. Participants on the journey will receive a daily email with this same content. This fourth week is focused on the theme of peace.


Advent Devotion | December 25

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace


Scripture:

Luke 2:13-14

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[a] praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[b]


Listen to Ramon and Liwliwa:

https://vimeo.com/492654439


Devotion (Philipino, followed by English):

And pasko sa Pilipinas ay siyang pinakamahalagang pangyayari sa buhay ng mga Pilipino. Septyembre pa lang ay naririnig na ang mga awit ng pasko sa radyo. Ito ay isang paalaala sa mga mamamayan na malapit na ang pasko.

Ang magaganding at makukulay na parol ay nakasabit sa mga bintana ng bawat tahanan.  Ang Belen (Manger) ay naka-display na sa sala.

Gayun din ang mga tindahan.  Puno narin ng dekorasyong pampasko at nagpapatugtog ng mga awit pampasko.

Ngunit ang tunay na simula ng pagdiriwang ng pasko sa Pilipinas ay ang pamamagitan ng Simbang Gabi. Ito ay nagsisimula sa Disyembre 9  labing anim na araw bago sa araw ng kapanganakan ni Jesus sa Disyembre 25.

Ang mga iglesyang Katoliko at Protestante ay puno ng mga taong magsasamba. Sa mga pagsambang ito maririnig ang kwento at aral sa Biblia ukol sa kapanganakan ni Jesus. Maririnig din ang mga krismas carol na nagpapaala sa araw ng kapanakan ni Jesus.

Ang isang masayang  bahagi pagkatapos ng simbang gabi sa mga Katoliko ay ang pagbili ng kakanin na gawa sa atin!  Sa mga Protestante, karamihan ay nagsalusalo ng masarap na aroz caldo at pandesal.

Pagdating ng Disyembre 24, gabi ng Pasko (Christmas eve), sa mga Kristiyano Katoliko ay nasa simbahan para sa misa de gallo.  Gabing serbisyo naman sa mga Protestante. Ito ang pinakahihintay na celebrasyon ng Pasko! Pagkatapos ng misa o serbisyo, uuwi ang mga pamilya at magdiriwang sa pamamagitan ng nga masarap na notse Buena (delicious supper).  Ang kasayahan ay ipinapatuloy sa pamamagitan ng pagbukas ng mga regalo na tinanggap ng isat-isa.

Ang sentro o buod ng celebrasyon ng pasko sa Pilipinas ay ang pagparito ni Jesus sa mundo at ipinagdiriwang ng lahat ng mga Kristiyano, mayaman man o dukha.  Ang mga araw na paghahanda sa Pasko ay puno ng magagandang aral ng Biblia, at mga magagandang ugali ng mga Pilipino. Makikita sa mga tao ang mga ugaling maka Cristiano at maka-Pilipino gaya ng kabaitan, bigayan, pagkamatulungin, marespeto, masaya, at mapayapa sa puso at sa gawa.  

 

Christmas in the Philippines is an important and enduring event that occupies a central part in the life of Filipinos.

As early as September, Christmas carols are heard over the radios to remind many homes that the season of Christmas is here! It is time to hang the beautiful and colorful “parol” or star, the symbol of Christmas in the Philippines, on windows or doors. The “Belen” or Manger is prominently displayed in the living room of every home telling all that Jesus is born at Christmas!

Stores and shops are beautifully dressed for the season with elaborate decorations in order to attract the shoppers. In addition, the non-stop playing Christmas carols add to the festive mood!

Yet it is the sixteen days before Christmas that the Filipino Christian traditions begin! Members in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches flock to the churches at 4 o’clock in the morning for the “Simbang gabi” or early morning masses.  Services focused on the retelling of the coming of Jesus into the world and the singing of traditional Christmas Carols.

Food is part of these unique religious practices.  After the Catholic mass, worshippers go to the food stands to purchase and enjoy delicious native rice cakes and hot chocolate drinks. Many United Methodist churches serve delicious rice and chicken soup with “pandesal” or rolls.

Christmas celebration in the Philippines reaches its apex on Christmas eve!  Protestant services include musical or dramatic re-enactment of the Christmas story. The Roman Catholics attend the midnight mass or “misa de gallo”. After church, families go home to enjoy a “noche buena” of delicious Filipino fare. Opening Christmas gifts follows after the sumptuous dinner.

The birth of Jesus is central in the celebration of Christmas no matter what economic or social strata the Filipinos come from. Christmas is not Christmas without these traditions in homes and communities. These unique practices act to strengthen the individual and corporate faith of the Filipinos. They rekindle positive relationships shown in being kind, being thoughtful, and being considerate. Importantly, a unique temperament is demonstrated in the spirit of goodwill and peace in the communities. 


Question to Ponder:

What are the unique Christmas traditions and practices in your family and community that inspire and strengthen family and community relationships and connections, promote peace and strengthen the Christian faith? 


Bio:

Ramon and Liwliwa Robledo are originally from the Philippines where both were college educators. Ramon taught at Manila Central University and Liwliwa, a deaconess, was teacher and administrator at Harris Memorial College, the deaconess training center in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Ramon and Liwliwa are both members of the legacy Rocky Mountain Conference. Ramon is an Elder and served local churches in Colorado.  Liwliwa taught in the public and private schools,  and directed Christian Education in the local church. Both retired in 2014. They are active members of the First UMC, Colorado Springs, CO.

Ramon and Liwliwa see themselves spreading cultural understanding and promoting peace and justice among people they meet.


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!


Advent Devotion | December 24

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace


Scripture:

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Poem:

Rose of Peace

Withering in the bed lays there,
Absent the youth and vigor of old, 
Mind is absent, 
Thoughts are present, 
Body is brittle, yet full of strength,
The journey of life arrives like the sunset.

Strength is Christ, 
Finally…oh have I missed you, 
Have you forgotten me like I forgot you?
Oh, forgive me. 
Forgive my trespasses and sins,
Forgive my thoughts.

Where is God hiding?
Where is the Son?
The mesa, the shanti, the empty box? 
With those that lead?
With those that follow? 
With she? With he? With they?

The budding rose is a promise,
Promise to bloom, 
Bloom with fragrance, 
Fragrance to fill the breath, 
Breath of Life,
Life of promise.  


Question to Ponder:

In this season of Advent, when are you worrying, finding hope, and resting in peace?  


Bio:



Brooke Wade Bixler (he/him), a son, the spouse to a UM clergyperson, and the father of two wonderful children. I am the Director of Risk for a small insurance company. In my spare time, I love spending time with my family, traveling, and listening to music.    


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!

 


Advent Devotion | December 23

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace 


Scripture:

Luke 2:13-14

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’


Watch Sione’s Devotion:

https://vimeo.com/492610500


Devotion (Tongan, followed by English):

“Ko e Kololia ki he ‘Otua ‘I langi taupotu pea ko e melino ki mamani ki he kakai kuo hoifua ki ai.”

Si’I kainga ofeina, I he amanaki ke tau teuteu atu etau moui ki he faahi ta’u oe Etiveni, oku toe fakamanatu mai ehe veesi folofola oe aho ni mo hono kaveinga ko e “Melino” ke tau mateuteu kihe amanaki hoko mai ae pilinisi oe Melino aia ko Sisu Kalaisi koe fakamoui o mamani.  ‘Oku tau lolotonga fononga ihe vaai taimi faingataa mo fakalilifu pea hulu atu moe to takutaku ae mahaki fk’auha kuo tafia ai tokolahi hotau fa’ahinga.  Moui kuo ta’eiloa koe hanga pe ki faitoka.  Havala hotau loto fketangata kihe kaha’u ‘o etau moui pea hange kuo puli e kaveinga folau oe moui pea naa moe kii mataikoloa oe moui koetau lotu kuo tuutuuni ehe mahaki fkauha ke tapuni.

Hanga mai puleanga, kau saienisi, metia, moe ngaahi kautaha tekinolosia o feauhi kihe mau mafai lahi taha.  Kuo fklilifu pea tailiili mo ilifia ae moui ae Kalisitiane.  Ka koe fekau oku tuku mai he houa ko eni kia kitautolu kau Kalisitiane ke tau mau pe ae melino moe nonga he koe meaofa ae Otua ae foaki mai hono alo kene hoko koho tau taukapo.

Mea tatau pe ia ne hoko ihe etau folofola e aho ni.  Lolotonga e tailiili mo ilifia e kau tauhi sipi he ongoongo oe aloi, fkfokifa kuo pavaki mai e hiva e kau angelo “koe kololia ki he Otua ki langi taupotu, pea koe melino ki mamani kiha kakai kuo hoifua kiai.”

Koia ai sii kainga ofeina, fai pe etau teuteu pea tau leo, tau faa lotu, faa aukai, tokanga ki hoo moui moe moui ho family mo ho kaunga api. Pea tau teuteu kiha faahi tau oe Etiveni moe loto hangamalie.

Pea koe melino mo e nonga ‘a e Otua oku mama’o he tatae ‘oe atamai kotoa ihe huafa ‘o Sisu Kalaisi koho tau Eiki, Emeni,

 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

Greetings to all my brothers and sisters in Christ of the Mountain Sky Conference.  As we prepared our lives to celebrate the season of Advent, our scripture today reminds us to have peace in Christ Jesus as God’s gift to us as the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world.  We are now living in a time of uncertainty with a pandemic that has totally changed our livelihood.  Friends and family members left us unexpectedly.  Businesses and schools close down and even our church facilities.  

The government, scientists, the media coverage and the high-tech companies compete for the authority of our everyday life.  Our Christian lives as followers of Jesus Christ are at stake full of stress and uncertainty.  But our message from the Scripture today gives us hope and peace that Jesus is our Immanuel.  God is always with us and he is coming back as he promised because he loves us.

In our Scripture, while the shepherds were trying to accept the good news of Christmas, they were terrified and afraid but suddenly a multitude of heavenly angels happily praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth PEACE among those whom he favors!”

Friends as we prepared our life for the Advent season, let us pray for the life of our families, our friends, our church and our nation that God will heal our lives and give us PEACE.

The Peace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Question to Ponder:

As you prepare your life for the Advent season, will you have PEACE in Jesus knowing he is God’s most precious gift to us?


Bio:

Sione Maka is a candidate for ministry from First UMC Aurora, Colorado, born in Tonga and migrated to the US in the late 1980s and lives in Denver with wife Gaylene and daughters Mele and Maluhola. 


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!


Advent Devotion | December 22

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace


Scripture: 

Isaiah 9: 2-7

2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.


Devotion:

When I was in the third grade, I discovered that the back of the family dictionary had an etymology section that gave meaning and origin of various first names. I learned that Brian meant ‘strong’ in Gaelic. Being bookworm and very non-athletic, it was a surprise to me at the time to know my name was an adjective that did not describe me. When I was 17 years old, I discovered I was given a Chinese name by my grandmother. Because I was my parents’ firstborn child, the name she gave me means ‘peaceful leader’ in Cantonese. Again, another surprise because at the time I was applying for the Naval Academy with an ambition to be a Navy SEAL. 

As the world has been turned upside down because of the COVID 19 pandemic, I have returned to these discoveries of my names as I try to re-orient myself and find the courage to take the next right step. Every morning, I must remind myself that I have the strength to face the day and that I have place in the work of justice and peace. This season of the year reminds me that I have third name, one that I share with you. It is a child of God. At this moment, we are anticipating the birth of Jesus who also had many names – Emmanuel (God is with us), Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It is in these disorienting times that I am reminded again and again that God is with us. Being named a child of God means that we are loved beyond our imagination and that we belong to one another. 

Take a moment to learn something about the name you have. What does it mean? Is there a story behind your name? What does it mean for you that you are a child of God?


Bio: 

My name is Brian Lee. My pronouns are he/his/him. I’m a student at the Iliff School of Theology who enjoys running, baking macaroons, and watching cartoons with my two children. 


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!


Advent Devotion | December 21

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace


Scripture:

John 16:33 ESV

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Devotion:

Breathe deep… 

Breathe in all of God’s goodness and allow it to fill you to the bottom of your soul.

Now, as you hold God’s goodness within you, allow it to be part of you and you to be part of it.

Then let go of all that is separating you from God

Your worries, concerns, cares, troubles,

Thoughts that anger you, those things that separate us from God…

Release them and let them go with your breath.

And be present with God’s goodness within you, and your part of God’s goodness.

It is so easy to allow the world to bend in on us. To trap us in worry, doubt, and fear, but God’s presence remains steadfast. We are part of that goodness and can free ourselves of the burdens of this world by being present with God’s peace. Take a moment and be at peace with God.


Prayer:

Amazing Creator of all, we are so blessed to be of your creation. Open our hearts to be present with your peace and grace each time we breathe. Allow us to be filled to overflowing with your love so that we may move to share your love in our world. This we pray. Amen


Bio:

Patrick (he, him, his) lives in Billings, MT with his wife Kim and dog Gracie. He grew up in Wyoming, served in Colorado, Utah and now Montana as Senior Pastor at Billings First UMC. Patrick believes each of us are of God and hopes to nurture the Holy Spirit within each of us to become all God inspires us to be.


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!


Advent Devotion | December 20

A daily devotion created by laity and clergy
throughout the Mountain Sky Conference


Theme: Peace


Scripture:

Isaiah 9:6

For a child has been born for us,

    a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders;

    and he is named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Watch Midori Takeuchi video here:

https://vimeo.com/483247915


Prayer (Japanese, followed by English):

Father who are in heaven, hallow be thy name. We are facing the spread of Covid-19 for 8 months now.  Give us wisdom and patience to go through so that everyone stays safe and healthy. What we can do other than hunker down to care for others and do your will on earth?


Question to Ponder:

How are you experiencing God’s peace in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic?


Bio:

Midori Takeuchi serves as Consul General of Japan in Denver since November 27,2018.  She was born in Nagano Japan and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April, 1982.  She has worked in various places in the world.  Baptized in Singapore Wesley Methodist Church, she has been a member of Ginza Church in Tokyo and now attends Simpson United Methodist Church in Arvada, Colorado.  


Join the Conversation:

Join us on Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads for a daily opportunity to interact with others as you engage with each daily devotion. Mountain Sky Ministry Crossroads is a new collaborative platform with resources for ministry and network with others for ministry support and innovation! Sign up here to become a member of Crossroads, and join the “MSC Advent Devotions” Workshop!