Posted by: Pauline | December 12, 2014

Scriptures for Sunday December 14

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

This passage speaks powerfully of the blessings of God poured out on those who have experienced poverty, oppression, grief, and destruction. Everything will be turned around, with joy replacing grief, liberty instead of captivity, abundance instead of poverty, and justice instead of oppression.

The “year of the Lord’s favor” is thought to refer to the Year of Jubilee that was to be practiced every fifty years, when debts would be forgiven, slaves freed, and lands returned to their original owners. We do not have a record that this was actually ever done in Israel’s history. But Jesus told the people of Nazareth that in his ministry, he was fulfilling this promise of restoration.

Luke 1:46b-55

These verses spoken by Mary have become known as the Magnificat (the Latin word from the first line, meaning “magnifies”). She seems to have been very familiar with the Old Testament prophecies by Isaiah and others, promising God’s blessing to His people.

As in the passage from Isaiah, there is a reversal of how things have been, reversing the places of the proud and the humble, and the rich and the poor. People looking around at the world today may not see much evidence that any such reversal has taken place. But like Mary, we trust that God is working to bring about His will in our world.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

These brief exhortations at the end of one of Paul’s first letters give us practical advice that we can easily remember – though we may find it much harder to follow. We pray in times of trouble, and rejoice and give thanks when we receive obvious blessings. But Paul instructs us to pray all the time, rejoice all the time, and give thanks in every circumstance.

We do not do this on our own, however. Paul goes on to remind us that it is God who sanctifies us – makes us holy. He is faithful, and He will accomplish His will in us, as He does in all things.

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