Advent

Advent Christmas Eve: Christ’s Birth

Ornament: Jesus

2014-12-19 09.35.04

Bible Passage: Luke 2:6-20

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

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

“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

Coloring Page >>


“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.”

– Luke 1:68-69

We are overjoyed: Jesus has been born!

We have waited patiently through the four Sundays of Advent and now our precious Jesus has arrived. We approach His cradle with joy and respect. How small and helpless He seems; yet He is our mighty and all-powerful God, given to us in the form of a tiny Baby.

What an amazing Gift! What need do we have for anything else? Our Jesus has come to save us because He loves us more than we will ever know.

Dear Infant Jesus,

You have come to me to save me from my sins because You love me so! I have a precious gift for You, Jesus: my heart.

Take my heart, dear Baby, and mold it to be like Yours: loving and kind and holy. Thank You for coming into the world and for loving me so perfectly.

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 25: Visitation

Ornament: Mary

2014-12-19 09.34.48

Bible Passage: Luke 1:39-56

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.


 

“Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me.”

– Malachi 3:1

Mary’s cousin Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist just a few months before Jesus was born. John was a very special child of God. The Old Testament tells us that before the Messiah comes a “messenger” will come before Him. John the Baptist is that messenger!

John told the people that the Messiah was coming. He did not even know that his own cousin, Jesus, was the Messiah, who would save us all from our sins.

John reminds us even now to prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming. We are preparing for His arrival at Christmas, but we must also prepare for when Jesus will come back to Earth a second time. When that day comes, we will all be judged for our sins and either go to Heaven or be sent to Hell.

Dear Jesus,

I eagerly await Your coming into my heart! I wish to join You in Heaven one day.

Help me to choose what is good and turn away from what is bad so that I can one day be with You forever.

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 27: Journey to Bethlehem

Ornament: Manger

2014-12-19 09.34.41

Bible Passage: Luke 2:1-6

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.


“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

– Luke 1:46

Once again, we see the great importance of Mary in Jesus’ birth. Mary’s words to her cousin Elizabeth reflect how much Mary trusted in God. She says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” This shows how Mary knew that she, as a mere human, was nothing, but that God showed through her to others. We are all called to show God’s love through our words and actions.

Mary also said, “My spirit rejoices in God my savior.” She understands so well how wonderful it is that God had saved her from sin and death. Do we allow our spirit to rejoice knowing God has saved us?

Dear God,

You gave Mary to us as a wonderful example of how to love You fully and accept Your will in our lives.

My spirit rejoices in knowing that Jesus is my Savior! I am so blessed to be loved by so great a 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 26: Joseph

Ornament: Joseph

2014-12-19 09.34.55

Bible Passage: Matthew 1:18-25

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.

 


“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!”

– Zephaniah 3:14

Christmas is almost here! How joyful and excited we are! Have we prepared ourselves fully to meet Jesus’ at the manger Christmas eve? He is coming to save you – have you prepared your heart as a birthday gift for Christ?

It is so easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. We can get overwhelmed with the lights on all the houses, the gifts piling up under the tree, the wonderful smells of Christmas cookies baking in the oven, but let us not forget the true reason we are celebrating: Jesus will be born soon, cold and shivering in a stable without even a crib in which to lay His divine head.

Let us continue to stay focused and prepare our hearts as a gift for Christ. After all, it is His birthday!

Dear Jesus,

I am so joyful that Your arrival is so near. Help me to stay focused on You Lord, during this season and always.

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 24: Annunciation

Ornament: Angel

2014-12-19 09.34.35

Bible Passage: Luke 1:26-38

Full passages & coloring pages posted at a later date.

 


“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

– Luke 1:28

What does it mean to be “full of grace”? We say these words at the beginning of each ‘Hail Mary,’ but do we know what it really means?

God freed Mary from all sin so that she could be worthy of being His mother. This is why the Archangel Gabriel greeted her with the well known words: “Hail, full of grace!” He was describing exactly what she was: filled with God’s grace so completely that there was no room for sin!

Because Mary was sinless, she is a great example to all of us. She still had many troubles in her life. She suffered greatly to watch her only Son die on the Cross! Even though she felt pain and sorrow, she never lost her temper or said mean things or hurt anyone.

Dear Mother Mary,

Help me to be more like you. I want to be holy and to remove sin from my life.

Please ask your Son to give me grace to be a pure and good child of God.

In Jesus’ name,

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 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.

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About

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!