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Advent Day 23: John the Baptist

Ornament: Sandal

2014-12-19 09.34.05

Bible Passage: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.

 


“You are my hope, O LORD; my trust,
O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength. ”

– Psalm 71:5-6

The Bible teaches us that God is the One on whom we should always depend. He gives us hope and strength in times of joy, pain or sorrow! He has loved us from the first moment of our existence when we were smaller than the eye could see and growing safely inside our mother’s womb. God keeps us safe and wants more than anything for us to love Him and love each other. By doing so, we can hope to join Him in Heaven one day!

Just as the little children gathered around Jesus and begged to be hugged by Him, so we should desire to love God and devote ourselves to Him with all that we are.

Dear Jesus,

I love You so much and I know You love me, too.

I am so thankful to have You as my Savior, You are such a loving and wonderful God! I desire to love and worship You in all I do all the rest of my life.

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 21: Tobiah’s Journey

Ornament: Fish

2014-12-19 09.33.58

Bible Passage: Tobit 5, 6:1-9, 10:1-6, 11:1-15

Short Version (for Tots):


Raphael entered the house, Tobit greeted him first. He replied, “Joyful greetings to you!” Tobit answered, “What joy is left for me? Here I am, a blind man who cannot see the light of heaven, but must remain in darkness!”

The young man said, “Take courage! God’s healing is near!”

Tobit then said: “My son Tobiah wants to go to Media. Can you go with him to show him the way? ” He answered: “Yes, I will go with him.”

Tobiah left to set out on his journey, accompanied by the angel; they camped beside the Tigris River. A large fish leaped out of the water and tried to swallow [Tobiah’s] foot.

The angel said to the young man, “Grab the fish and hold on to it!” He seized the fish, slit [it] open; he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he roasted and ate part of the fish. The two of them traveled on together [and then back home].

[When they neared Tobit’s house,] Raphael said to Tobiah, “I know that his eyes will be opened. Apply the fish gall to his eyes; then your father will have sight again.”

Tobit got up to meet his son. Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand and applied the medicine to his eyes. Tobiah used both hands to peel the white scales from the corners of his eyes. Tobit saw his son and threw his arms around him.

Weeping, he exclaimed, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!” Then he prayed,

“Blessed be God,
blessed be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his great name be with us,
and blessed be all the angels throughout all the ages.
God it was who afflicted me,
and God who has had mercy on me.
Now I see my son Tobiah!”


Full Version:
Then Tobiah replied to his father Tobit: “Everything that you have commanded me, father, I shall do. But how will I be able to get that money from him, since he does not know me, and I do not know him? What sign can I give him so that he will recognize and trust me, and give me the money? I do not even know the roads to Media, in order to go there.”
Tobit answered his son Tobiah: “He gave me his bond, and I gave him mine; I divided his into two parts, and each of us took one part; I put one part with the money. It is twenty years since I deposited that money! So, son, find yourself a trustworthy person who will make the journey with you, and we will give him wages when you return; but bring back that money from Gabael while I am still alive.”
Tobiah went out to look for someone who would travel with him to Media, someone who knew the way. He went out and found the angel Raphael standing before him (though he did not know* that this was an angel of God).
Tobiah said to him, “Where do you come from, young man?” He replied, “I am an Israelite, one of your kindred. I have come here to work.” Tobiah said to him, “Do you know the way to Media?”
“Yes,” he replied, “I have been there many times. I know the place well and am acquainted with all the routes. I have often traveled to Media; I used to stay with our kinsman Gabael, who lives at Rages in Media. It is a good two days’ journey from Ecbatana to Rages,* for Rages is situated in the mountains, but Ecbatana is in the middle of the plain.”
Tobiah said to him, “Wait for me, young man, till I go in and tell my father; for I need you to make the journey with me. I will pay you your wages.”
He replied, “Very well, I will wait; but do not be long.”
Tobiah went in and informed his father Tobit: “I have found someone of our own Israelite kindred who will go with me!” Tobit said, “Call the man in, so that I may find out from what family and tribe he comes, and whether he is trustworthy enough to travel with you, son.”
Tobiah went out to summon him, saying, “Young man, my father is calling for you.” When Raphael entered the house, Tobit greeted him first. He replied, “Joyful greetings to you!” Tobit answered, “What joy is left for me? Here I am, a blind man who cannot see the light of heaven, but must remain in darkness, like the dead who no longer see the light! Though alive, I am among the dead. I can hear people’s voices, but I do not see them.” The young man said, “Take courage! God’s healing is near; so take courage!” Tobit then said: “My son Tobiah wants to go to Media. Can you go with him to show him the way? I will pay you your wages, brother.” He answered: “Yes, I will go with him, and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media and crossed all its plains so I know well the mountains and all its roads.”
Tobit asked him, “Brother, tell me, please, from what family and tribe are you?”
He replied, “Why? What need do you have for a tribe? Aren’t you looking for a hired man?” Tobit replied, “I only want to know, brother, whose son you truly are and what your name is.”
He answered, “I am Azariah, son of the great Hananiah, one of your own kindred.”
Tobit exclaimed: “Welcome! God save you, brother! Do not be provoked with me, brother, for wanting to learn the truth about your family. It turns out that you are a kinsman, from a noble and good line! I knew Hananiah and Nathan, the two sons of the great Shemeliah. They used to go to Jerusalem with me, where we would worship together. They were not led astray; your kindred are good people. You are certainly of good lineage. So welcome!”
Then he added: “For each day I will give you a drachma as wages, as well as expenses for you and for my son. So go with my son, and I will even add a bonus to your wages!” The young man replied: “I will go with him. Do not fear. In good health we will leave you, and in good health we will return to you, for the way is safe.”
Tobit said, “Blessing be upon you, brother.” Then he called his son and said to him: “Son, prepare whatever you need for the journey, and set out with your kinsman. May God in heaven protect you on the way and bring you back to me safe and sound; may his angel accompany you for your safety, son.”
Tobiah left to set out on his journey, and he kissed his father and mother. Tobit said to him, “Have a safe journey.”
But his mother began to weep and she said to Tobit: “Why have you sent my child away? Is he not the staff of our hands, as he goes in and out before us? Do not heap money upon money! Rather relinquish it in exchange for our child! What the Lord has given us to live on is certainly enough for us.”
Tobit reassured her: “Do not worry! Our son will leave in good health and come back to us in good health. Your own eyes will see the day when he returns to you safe and sound. So, do not worry; do not fear for them, my sister. For a good angel will go with him, his journey will be successful, and he will return in good health.”
Then she stopped weeping.
When the young man left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out and went along with them. Both journeyed along, and when the first night came, they camped beside the Tigris River.
When the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris River, a large fish leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm.
But the angel said to the young man, “Grab the fish and hold on to it!” He seized the fish and hauled it up on dry land.
The angel then told him: “Slit the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the other entrails. Its gall, heart, and liver are useful for medicine.”*
After Tobiah had slit the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he roasted and ate part of the fish; the rest he salted and kept for the journey.
Afterward the two of them traveled on together till they drew near to Media.
Then the young man asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicine is in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?”
He answered: “As for the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them to make smoke in the presence of a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, any affliction will flee and never return. As for the gall, if you apply it to the eyes of one who has white scales, blowing right into them, sight will be restored.”
Meanwhile, day by day, Tobit was keeping track of the time Tobiah would need to go and to return. When the number of days was reached and his son did not appear, he said, “Could it be that he has been detained there? Or perhaps Gabael has died, and there is no one to give him the money?”
And he began to grieve.
His wife Anna said, “My son has perished and is no longer among the living!” And she began to weep aloud and to wail over her son: “Alas, child, light of my eyes, that I have let you make this journey!”
But Tobit kept telling her: “Be still, do not worry, my sister; he is safe! Probably they have to take care of some unexpected business there. The man who is traveling with him is trustworthy and one of our kindred. So do not grieve over him, my sister. He will be here soon.”
As they drew near to Kaserin, which is opposite Nineveh,
Raphael said: “You know how we left your father. Let us hurry on ahead of your wife to prepare the house while they are still on the way.”
So both went on ahead together, and Raphael said to him, “Take the gall in your hand!” And the dog ran along behind them.
Meanwhile, Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she called to his father, “Look, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!”
Raphael said to Tobiah before he came near to his father: “I know that his eyes will be opened.
Apply the fish gall to his eyes, and the medicine will make the white scales shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will have sight again and will see the light of day.”
Then Anna ran up to her son, embraced him, and said to him, “Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!” And she sobbed aloud.
Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate to meet his son. Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand and blew into his eyes. Holding him firmly, he said, “Courage, father.” Then he applied the medicine to his eyes, and it made them sting.
Tobiah used both hands to peel the white scales from the corners of his eyes. Tobit saw his son and threw his arms around him.
Weeping, he exclaimed, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!” Then he prayed,
“Blessed be God,
blessed be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his great name be with us,
and blessed be all the angels throughout all the ages.
God it was who afflicted me,
and God who has had mercy on me.
Now I see my son Tobiah!”
Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice. Tobiah related to his father how his journey had been a success; that he had brought back the money; and that he had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah, who was about to arrive, for she was near the gate of Nineveh.

Coloring Page >>


“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.”

– Genesis 49:2

Throughout the Bible, God uses many prophets and people to spread His message to the world. That message is that He wants us to turn away from our sins and love Him completely!

In the book of Genesis, Jacob has many sons and most of them have not behaved very well. Before Jacob dies, he tells his sons that although they have done wrong, he still loves them and forgives them.

In the same way, God loves us! He sends His Son, Jesus, to us at Christmas so that we can learn from Him and be forgiven of our sins.

Dear Jesus,

Your Father was so wonderful to give us such a precious gift: You!

I am so excited that soon we will be celebrating Your birth on Christmas day! Guide me always so that I can give my love and holiness as a gift to You.

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 22: Daniel & the Lions Den

Ornament: Lion

2014-12-19 09.34.12

Bible Passage: Daniel 6:1-29


 

Short Version (for Tots):

And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom. [His] ministers stormed in to the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! All the ministers of the kingdom agree that whoever makes a petition to anyone, divine or human, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. ”

So King Darius signed [it] into law. Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer  with the windows open. So these men stormed in and found Daniel praying.

So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “Your God, whom you serve so constantly, must save you.”

The king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den.

As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?”

Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither have I done you any harm, O king!”

This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was brought up from the den; he was found to be unharmed because he trusted in his God.


 

Full Version:

And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

Darius decided to appoint over his entire kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps. These were accountable to three ministers, one of whom was Daniel; the satraps reported to them, so that the king should suffer no loss. Daniel outshone all the ministers and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king considered setting him over the entire kingdom. Then the ministers and satraps tried to find grounds for accusation against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could not accuse him of any corruption. Because he was trustworthy, no fault or corruption was to be found in him.

Then these men said to themselves, “We shall find no grounds for accusation against this Daniel except in connection with the law of his God.”

So these ministers and satraps stormed in to the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! All the ministers of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors agree that the following prohibition ought to be put in force by royal decree: for thirty days, whoever makes a petition to anyone, divine or human, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, let the prohibition be issued over your signature, immutable and irrevocable* according to the law of the Medes and Persians.”

So King Darius signed the prohibition into law. Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem. So these men stormed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God.

Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: “Did you not sign a decree, O king, that for thirty days, whoever makes a petition to anyone, divine or human, except to you, O king, shall be cast into a den of lions?” The king answered them, “The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the law of the Medes and Persians.”

To this they replied, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the prohibition you signed; three times a day he offers his prayer.”

The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him. But these men pressed the king. “Keep in mind, O king,” they said, “that under the law of the Medes and Persians every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.”

So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den.* To Daniel he said, “Your God, whom you serve so constantly, must save you.”

To forestall any tampering, the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den. Then the king returned to his palace for the night; he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers. Since sleep was impossible for him, the king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den.

As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?”

Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither have I done you any harm, O king!”

This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was brought up from the den; he was found to be unharmed because he trusted in his God. The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions’ den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: “May your peace abound! I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

“For he is the living God, enduring forever,
whose kingdom shall not be destroyed,
whose dominion shall be without end,
A savior and deliverer,
working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
who saved Daniel from the lions’ power.”

So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Coloring Page >>


“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.”

– Luke 1:30

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he kindly told her not to be afraid. Why do you think he needed to say that? After all, a beautiful Angel had just appeared to her. While the appearance of an Angel of God might be startling, it shouldn’t be scary . . . should it?

In fact, many Saints tells us about how the appearance of God or one of His servants can be quite frightening! God is so amazingly powerful that His presence can be completely overwhelming and cause you to be fearful. In the same way that you might jump if someone were to wake you from sleep with a loud booming, “WAKE UP!” so the appearance of God’s Angel would have frightened Our Lady. Thankfully, Gabriel had good news for Mary and he gave her peace by telling her not to be afraid. If an Angel were ever to appear to you and ask you to do something, what would you say?

Dear God,

I am so amazed by Your great power and unending love! Give me strength whenever I am afraid, for I know You are on my side and will guide and protect me.

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 20: Jonah & the Whale

Ornament: Whale

2014-12-19 09.33.52

Bible Passage: Jonah 1-2

Short Version (for Tots):

The word of the LORD came to Jonah: Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; for their wickedness has come before me.

But Jonah made ready to flee away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down in it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD.

The LORD, however, hurled a great wind upon the sea, and the storm was so great that the ship was about to break up.

Jonah responded, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea and then the sea will calm down for you. For I know that this great storm has come upon you because of me.”

Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea stopped raging.

But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish:

Out of my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.

Then the LORD commanded the fish to vomit Jonah upon dry land.


 

Full Version:

The word of the LORD came to Jonah,a son of Amittai: Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; for their wickedness has come before me.

But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish, away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down in it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD.

The LORD, however, hurled a great wind upon the sea, and the storm was so great that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors were afraid and each one cried to his god. To lighten the ship for themselves, they threw its cargo into the sea. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, and lay there fast asleep.

The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps this god will be mindful of us so that we will not perish.”

Then they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots to discover on whose account this evil has come to us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

They said to him, “Tell us why this evil has come to us! What is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country, and to what people do you belong?”

“I am a Hebrew,” he replied; “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!”—They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD, because he had told them.

They asked, “What shall we do with you, that the sea may calm down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more stormy.

Jonah responded, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea and then the sea will calm down for you. For I know that this great storm has come upon you because of me.”

Still the men rowed hard to return to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy.

Then they cried to the LORD: “Please, O LORD, do not let us perish for taking this man’s life; do not charge us with shedding innocent blood, for you, LORD, have accomplished what you desired.”

Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea stopped raging.

Seized with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish:

Out of my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me;
From the womb of Sheol I cried for help,
and you heard my voice.

You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea,
and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows
passed over me.

Then I said, “I am banished from your sight!
How will I again look upon your holy temple?”

The waters surged around me up to my neck;
the deep enveloped me;
seaweed wrapped around my head.

I went down to the roots of the mountains;
to the land whose bars closed behind me forever,
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O LORD, my God.

When I became faint,
I remembered the LORD;
My prayer came to you
in your holy temple.

Those who worship worthless idols
abandon their hope for mercy.

But I, with thankful voice,
will sacrifice to you;
What I have vowed I will pay:
deliverance is from the LORD.

Then the LORD commanded the fish to vomit Jonah upon dry land.

Coloring Page >>


“Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come, my justice,
about to be revealed.”

– Isaiah 56:1

Advent is the perfect time to work on improving ourselves. We are always called to do the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Do you ever wonder why there is pain and sadness in the world? It is because we are sinners, and sins hurt us and distance us from God.

When your brother pulls your hair, he is not being nice and it hurts your head! When your friend doesn’t share her toy, you feel sad. When someone does something wrong, not only does it hurt them, but it hurts God, too! We are all called to avoid these bad things and work to be holy children. What have you been doing this Advent season to be a good and holy child of God?

Let us pray…

Dear Jesus,

I want to be holy and good the way You are! Help me each day to do the right thing, even if it isn’t always easy.

Forgive me for the things I have done that are not very nice. I know that when I am naughty I hurt myself, others and You! I promise to work to be a holy child of God!

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 19: Elijah’s Contest

Ornament: Burning Rock

2014-12-12 15.17.13

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 18:3, 21-39

Short Version (for Tots):

Elijah said to the people, “Give us two young bulls. Let [the prophets of Baal] choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call upon the name of your gods, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. The God who answers with fire is [the true] God.”

All the people answered, “We agree!”

Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called upon Baal from morning to noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound.

Then Elijah took twelve stones and built the stones into an altar to the name of the LORD. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood.

Then he came forward and said, “LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD! Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have turned their hearts back to you.”

The LORD’s fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench.

Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”


 

Full Version:

Ahab had summoned Obadiah, master of his palace, who greatly revered the LORD.

Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you straddle the issue? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him.

So Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the LORD, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call upon the name of your gods, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. The God who answers with fire is God.” All the people answered, “We agree!”

Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire.”

Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called upon Baal from morning to noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answering. And they hopped around the altar they had prepared.

When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: “Call louder, for he is a god; he may be busy doing his business, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears according to their ritual until blood gushed over them. Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was no sound, no one answering, no one listening.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” When they drew near to him, he repaired the altar of the LORD which had been destroyed. He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the LORD had said: Israel shall be your name. He built the stones into an altar to the name of the LORD, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood.

He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood.” “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time.

The water flowed around the altar; even the trench was filled with the water. At the time for offering sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came forward and said, “LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD! Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have turned their hearts back to you.”

The LORD’s fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench.

Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”

Coloring Page >>


“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.”

– Isaiah 54:7

Throughout the Old Testament, the Jewish people break God’s law over and over again. But each time, God calls them back to Him and forgives them just as our parents always forgive us when we misbehave.

In the Gospels, Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son, who takes his share of his father’s wealth and leaves his family. Eventually, the son runs out of money, is hungry, and has nowhere to live. When he returns home, his father is overjoyed to see him, and he embraces him and throws a party in celebration. God will do the same for us for any wrong we do, so long as we turn back to Him and repent what we have done.

Let us pray…

Dear Father,

You are so good and merciful to us, who are weak and sinful! Not only do You love us enough to forgive us, but You sent Your Son to Earth to redeem us so that we can live with You one day in Heaven!

What an amazing gift! Lord, let me never forget how wonderful Your gift of Jesus is to us all!

Amen.

Advent Day 18: Solomon’s Wisdom

Ornament: Crown

2014-12-12 15.17.08

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 2:1-6, 3:4-28

Short Version (for Tots):

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said: Whatever you ask I shall give you.

Solomon answered: “Give your servant a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil.”

The Lord was pleased by Solomon’s request. So God said to him: I now do as you request. I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now. I [also] give you what you have not asked for:  such riches and glory that among kings there will be no one like you all your days. And if you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and commandments, I will give you a long life.


 

Full Version:

When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave these instructions to Solomon his son: “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and be a man!

Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, and wherever you turn, and that the LORD may fulfill the word he spoke concerning me: If your sons so conduct themselves that they walk before me in faithfulness with their whole heart and soul, there shall never be wanting someone of your line on the throne of Israel.

“You yourself know what Joab, son of Zeruiah, did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner, son of Ner, and Amasa, son of Jether: he killed them and brought the blood of war into a time of peace, and put the blood of war on the belt about his waist and the sandal on his foot. Act with all the wisdom you possess; do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace.
The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the great high place. Upon its altar Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings.

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said: Whatever you ask I shall give you.

Solomon answered: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, David my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an upright heart; and you have continued this great kindness toward him today, giving him a son to sit upon his throne.

Now, LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed David my father; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act— I, your servant, among the people you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.

Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased by Solomon’s request. So God said to him: Because you asked for this—you did not ask for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies—but you asked for discernment to know what is right— I now do as you request. I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you.

In addition, I give you what you have not asked for: I give you such riches and glory that among kings there will be no one like you all your days. And if you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and commandments, as David your father did, I will give you a long life.

Solomon awoke; it was a dream! He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, sacrificed burnt offerings and communion offerings, and gave a feast for all his servants.
Solomon’s Listening Heart.

Later, two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One woman said: “By your leave, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth in the house while she was present. On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were alone; no one else was in the house with us; only the two of us were in the house. This woman’s son died during the night when she lay on top of him. So in the middle of the night she got up and took my son from my side, as your servant was sleeping. Then she laid him in her bosom and laid her dead son in my bosom.

I rose in the morning to nurse my son, and he was dead! But when I examined him in the morning light, I saw it was not the son I had borne.”

The other woman answered, “No! The living one is my son, the dead one is yours.” But the first kept saying, “No! the dead one is your son, the living one is mine!” Thus they argued before the king.

Then the king said: “One woman claims, ‘This, the living one, is my son, the dead one is yours.’ The other answers, ‘No! The dead one is your son, the living one is mine.’”

The king continued, “Get me a sword.” When they brought the sword before the king, he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.”

The woman whose son was alive, because she was stirred with compassion for her son, said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby—do not kill it!” But the other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours. Cut it in two!”

The king then answered, “Give her the living baby! Do not kill it! She is the mother.” When all Israel heard the judgment the king had given, they were in awe of him, because they saw that the king had in him the wisdom of God for giving right judgment.

Coloring Page >>


“The blind regain their sight,
the lame walk, lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor
have the good news proclaimed to them. ”

– Luke 7:22

When asked if Jesus is the Messiah, He responds by asking us to look and see what He has done. At this point, Jesus has performed many miracles, so His response is simply, “You see what I am doing, who do you think I am?”

The answer, of course, is that Jesus is the Messiah! The wonderful works He performs shows us the depth of His love for the world and we cannot doubt that He is Lord and has come to set us free from our sins.

Let us pray…

Dear Jesus,

You came and healed those who needed healing and preached the good news to all who would listen. Heal my heart, Lord, from any doubts I may have that You truly are the Christ. I am so blessed to have You as my Savior!

Transform my heart, Jesus, during this Advent season, that I may always do as You did: reaching out to those in need and speaking Truth to those who will listen.

Amen.


* All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 17: David & Goliath

Ornament: Slingshot

2014-12-12 15.16.59

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 17

Short Version (for Tots):

The Philistines rallied their forces for battle [against the Israelites].

A champion named Goliath came out from the Philistine camp. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel:  “Give me a man and let us fight together.”

When Saul and all Israel heard this challenge of the Philistine, they were stunned and terrified.

David spoke to Saul: “My lord should not lose heart. Let your servant go and fight this Philistine.”

But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Then David told Saul: “[I] used to tend [my] father’s sheep, [I have] killed both a lion and a bear. […] The same LORD who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

With his sling in hand, he approached the Philistine.

David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell on his face to the ground.

Then David ran and with the Philistine’s own sword he killed him.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled.


 

Full Version:

The Philistines rallied their forces for battle at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. Saul and the Israelites rallied and camped in the valley of the Elah, drawing up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were stationed on one hill and the Israelites on an opposite hill, with a valley between them.

A champion named Goliath of Gath came out from the Philistine camp; he was six cubits and a span tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a bronze breastplate of scale armor weighing five thousand shekels, bronze greaves, and had a bronze scimitar slung from his shoulders.

The shaft of his javelin was like a weaver’s beam, and its iron head weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel: “Why come out in battle formation? I am a Philistine, and you are Saul’s servants. Choose one of your men, and have him come down to me. If he beats me in combat and kills me, we will be your vassals; but if I beat him and kill him, you shall be our vassals and serve us.”

The Philistine continued: “I defy the ranks of Israel today. Give me a man and let us fight together.”

When Saul and all Israel heard this challenge of the Philistine, they were stunned and terrified. David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse from Bethlehem in Judah who had eight sons. In the days of Saul Jesse was old and well on in years. The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to war; the names of these three sons who had gone off to war were Eliab the firstborn; Abinadab the second; and Shammah the third. David was the youngest. While the three oldest had joined Saul, David would come and go from Saul’s presence to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

Meanwhile the Philistine came forward and took his stand morning and evening for forty days. Now Jesse said to his son David: “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves for your brothers, and bring them quickly to your brothers in the camp. Also take these ten cheeses for the field officer. Greet your brothers and bring home some token from them. Saul and your brothers, together with all Israel, are at war with the Philistines in the valley of the Elah.”

Early the next morning, having left the flock with a shepherd, David packed up and set out, as Jesse had commanded him. He reached the barricade of the camp just as the army, on their way to the battleground, were shouting their battle cry. The Israelites and the Philistines drew up opposite each other in battle array.

David entrusted what he had brought to the keeper of the baggage and hastened to the battle line, where he greeted his brothers. While he was talking with them, the Philistine champion, by name Goliath of Gath, came up from the ranks of the Philistines and spoke as before, and David listened.

When the Israelites saw the man, they all retreated before him, terrified. The Israelites had been saying: “Do you see this man coming up? He comes up to insult Israel. The king will make whoever kills him a very wealthy man. He will give his daughter to him and declare his father’s family exempt from taxes in Israel.”

David now said to the men standing near him: “How will the man who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from disgrace be rewarded? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should insult the armies of the living God?”

They repeated the same words to him and said, “That is how the man who kills him will be rewarded.”

When Eliab, his oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he grew angry with David and said: “Why did you come down? With whom have you left those sheep in the wilderness? I know your arrogance and dishonest heart. You came down to enjoy the battle!”

David protested, “What have I done now? I was only talking.”

He turned from him to another and asked the same question; and everyone gave him the same answer as before. The words that David had spoken were overheard and reported to Saul, who sent for him.

Then David spoke to Saul: “My lord should not lose heart. Let your servant go and fight this Philistine.”

But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Then David told Saul: “Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would chase after it, attack it, and snatch the prey from its mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the throat, strike it, and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has insulted the armies of the living God.”

David continued: “The same LORD who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic, putting a bronze helmet on his head and arming him with a coat of mail. David also fastened Saul’s sword over the tunic. He walked with difficulty, however, since he had never worn armor before. He said to Saul, “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. With his sling in hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield-bearer marching before him, the Philistine advanced closer and closer to David. When he sized David up and saw that he was youthful, ruddy, and handsome in appearance, he began to deride him.

He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?” Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods and said to him, “Come here to me, and I will feed your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”

David answered him: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will feed your dead body and the dead bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves. For the battle belongs to the LORD, who shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell on his face to the ground.

Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine dead, and did it without a sword in his hand. Then David ran and stood over him; with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath he killed him, and cut off his head.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled. Then the men of Israel and Judah sprang up with a battle cry and pursued them to the approaches of Gath and to the gates of Ekron, and Philistines fell wounded along the road from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.

When they returned from their pursuit of the Philistines, the Israelites looted their camp. David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he kept Goliath’s armor in his own tent.

As Saul watched David go out to meet the Philistine, he asked his general Abner, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “On your life, O king, I have no idea.”

And the king said, “Find out whose son the lad is.”

So when David returned from slaying the Philistine, Abner escorted him into Saul’s presence. David was still holding the Philistine’s head.

Saul then asked him, “Whose son are you, young man?” David replied, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

Coloring Page >>


“I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.”

– Zephaniah 3:12

The Old Testament speaks often of how much the people of Israel have not obeyed the Lord. In the book of Zephaniah, God speaks of how the people are sinning and He is going to save them from their evil deeds.

This passage speaks directly to God’s promise of sending the Messiah, Jesus, to save us from our sins. We are born sinful and only God can purify our hearts and save us so we can be with Him one day in Heaven!

Let us pray…

Dear Lord,

Thank You for the wonderful gift of Your Son, Jesus! You love us so much that You humbled Yourself to be born into the world as a tiny, helpless baby. We are so blessed to be loved so greatly by You!

Let us never forget how great a love You have for us, and help us work daily towards loving You and others with this same beautiful charity.

Amen.


* All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 16: David Chosen King

Ornament: Sheep

2014-12-12 15.16.47

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Short Version (for Tots):

The LORD said to Samuel: I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for from among his sons I have decided on a king.

As they came, he looked at Eliab [Jesse’s firstborn] and thought, “Surely the anointed is here before the LORD.”

But the LORD said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him.

In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”

Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him.”

Jesse had the young man brought to them. The LORD said: There—anoint him, for this is the one! Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.


 

Full Version:

The LORD said to Samuel: How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for from among his sons I have decided on a king.

But Samuel replied: “How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me.” To this the LORD answered: Take a heifer along and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.”

Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.b

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”

He replied: “Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. So purify yourselves and celebrate with me today.” He also had Jesse and his sons purify themselves and invited them to the sacrifice. As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the anointed is here before the LORD.”

But the LORD said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart. Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”

Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.”

In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”

Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he arrives here.”

Jesse had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth with beautiful eyes, and good looking. The LORD said: There—anoint him, for this is the one! Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. Then Samuel set out for Ramah.

Coloring Page >>


 

“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

– Luke 1:42-43

How eager we are for Christmas to come! In the same way, Elizabeth was overjoyed when Mary came to visit her. Elizabeth’s words show how special we all are to have Christ come into the world to save us.

God can do anything! He could have appeared out of thin air, fully grown, a strong a powerful King. Instead, He came into the world the way we all have: knitted together in His Mother’s womb and born into the world as a helpless infant.

How great God’s love must be for us that He gave up all His power and strength and came to us in this small way. In doing so, we connect with Jesus more because He is so much like us!

Let us pray…

Dear Jesus,

As I think about You as an adorable baby lying in a manger, I am as overjoyed as Elizabeth.

Just as the shepherds did on Christmas day, I await the time when I will smile over Your cradle of hay, knowing that Your smallness is a special gift to me.

Amen.

 


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 15: Samuel

Ornament: Oil Lamp

2014-12-12 15.16.40

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 3

Short Version (for Tots):

The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.

The LORD called to Samuel. He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep.

Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.” But he answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.

So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”


 

Full Version:

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli, the word of the LORD was scarce and vision infrequent. One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.

The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep.

Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.” But he answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

Samuel did not yet recognize the LORD, since the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.

So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

The LORD said to Samuel: I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears it ring. On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I have said about his house, beginning to end. I announce to him that I am condemning his house once and for all, because of this crime: though he knew his sons were blaspheming God, he did not reprove them. Therefore, I swear to Eli’s house: No sacrifice or offering will ever expiate its crime.

Samuel then slept until morning, when he got up early and opened the doors of the temple of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called to him, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.”

Then Eli asked, “What did he say to you? Hide nothing from me! May God do thus to you, and more, if you hide from me a single thing he told you.”

So Samuel told him everything, and held nothing back. Eli answered, “It is the LORD. What is pleasing in the LORD’s sight, the LORD will do.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to go unfulfilled. Thus all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba came to know that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD. The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, manifesting himself to Samuel at Shiloh through his word. Samuel’s word spread throughout Israel.

Coloring Page >>


“The LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.”

– Isaiah 6:1

In the Book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of one who is anointed and will bring good news to the poor, free prisoners and will announce the day of forgiveness by God. This prophecy speaks of the coming of John, who is Jesus’ cousin.

John prepares the way before Jesus begins to proclaim the Gospel. In the Gospel of John, the people ask him: “Who are you?” (1:19) They think that perhaps he is the Messiah. But he has no hesitation in telling them: “I am not the Christ” (1:20).

Instead, he tells them the wonderful news that the Messiah is coming soon. He quotes Isaiah, identifying
himself as “the voice of one crying out in the desert” (John 1:23). He is the prophet who is to come just before Christ. Which means Jesus cannot be far behind him!

Let us pray…

O Jesus,

We wait patiently and prepare for Your coming at Christmas! Fill us with Your joy and love as we prepare for this holy day!

Amen.


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

Advent Day 14: Water from the Rock

Ornament: Moses’ Staff

2014-12-12 15.16.33

Bible Passage: Exodus 17:1-7

Short Version (for Tots):

In their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why then did you bring us up out of Egypt? To have us die of thirst with our children and our livestock?”

So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!”

The LORD answered Moses: Go on ahead of the people, and strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink. Moses did this, in the sight of the elders of Israel.


Full Version:

From the wilderness of Sin the whole Israelite community journeyed by stages, as the LORD directed, and encamped at Rephidim. But there was no water for the people to drink, and so they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to a test?”

Here, then, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why then did you bring us up out of Egypt? To have us die of thirst with our children and our livestock?”

So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!”

The LORD answered Moses: Go on ahead of the people, and take along with you some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the Nile. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink. Moses did this, in the sight of the elders of Israel. The place was named Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Coloring Page >>


 

“Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come.”

– Matthew 17:11-12

Elijah was a great prophet from the Old Testament. At the end of his life, he did not die but instead was taken to Heaven riding a flaming chariot, or horse-drawn cart,
(2 Kings 2:11). Because of the way that he left Earth, many Israelites believed that he would return one day.

Jesus knew, however, that Elijah himself was not going to come back to Earth. Instead, a new prophet, John the Baptist, would come and predict the coming of the Messiah.

During Advent, we read a lot about John the Baptist each week at Mass. Since John predicted Jesus’ arrival, reading about him before Jesus’ birth is the perfect way to continue to anticipate Christmas!

Let us pray…

O Jesus,

I am so excited to greet You on Christmas morning. Your cousin, John, knew that You would come to save us all.

Thank You for the wonderful gift of Yourself. I am so happy to love You and have You as my Savior.

Amen.

 


** All reflection content is the work of Lauren A. Rupar and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission. For information on printing and distribution rights, contact Lauren.

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Hi, I'm Lauren. Mommy to two, nanny to two, wife, teacher, homemaker, Catholic, artist, writer, friend, sister, daughter. Here you'll find everything from updates about our family, info and advice about parenting and homemaking, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing. Welcome!