Saturday, December 25, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/25/2021)


Saturday December 25                        Love                                    John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


This is probably one of the most quoted Bible verses in the world. We see it on signs, hear it on the radio and TV, even see it at ball games and other gatherings. God sent his Son to show the world how much he loved them and took him from us to give eternal life. My family knows the love of this Christmas day because we celebrate two birthdays – Dan and Howard. I always remember and remind Dan of the time when he as a young boy announced to us that he and Jesus were twins since they were born on the same day. Of course as he got older he realized that it had to be the same year and the same mother. I can’t think of a better person to want to be like. Love shows itself to us on this special day - the celebration of a very special gift to us – our Savior, Jesus. Happy birthday!


Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask that you bless us all on this very special day. Thank you for giving us your Son. May his life and love be an example for the world that the people will live in harmony and peace. Bless those who know his name and those who do not that they may see his goodness and mercy. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen


Deacon Dorothy Kafalas


Friday, December 24, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/24/2021)


Friday December 24                             Love                         Matthew 22:37-38

He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. 


One of my (newer) favorite Christmas songs is “Love Has Come” (ELW #292).  While not a traditional Christmas carol, its words and melody stay with me.  We have often sung it as our Offertory which seems most fitting as we reflect upon the gift of love born in Bethlehem. 

Love is God’s gift to the world.  Love is the center of our faith.  We were created in love and called to live in love.  Christ was born because of God’s love for us.  More than just an emotion, it is a way of life.  In loving our neighbors as ourselves, we are loving God – as we see in our reading of the greatest commandment.

Love is active and as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, “love never ends”.  We can’t quantify love and will never run out when its source is in Christ.  We love because God first loves us.  We give that which we receive.

Christmas is about love – the new birthing of love that found its fullness in the cross.  Love has indeed come and will never forsake us nor will it ever end.  Love is Jesus within and among us!  Thanks be to God!

 Prayer:  Let the lyrics of this hymn (written by Ken Bible) serve as our prayer for this day.  When we sing it in worship, be reminded that our hymns and music are prayers that we raise to God.

1 Love has come—a light in the darkness!

Love shines forth in the Bethlehem skies.

See, all heaven has come to proclaim it;

hear how their song of joy arises:

Love! Love! Born unto you, a Savior!

Love! Love! Glory to God on high.


2 Love is born! Come, share in the wonder.

Love is God now asleep in the hay.

See the glow in the eyes of his mother;

what is the name her heart is saying?

Love! Love! Love is the name she whispers;

Love! Love! Jesus, Immanuel.


3 Love has come and never will leave us!

Love is life everlasting and free.

Love is Jesus within and among us.

Love is the peace our hearts are seeking.

Love! Love! Love is the gift of Christmas;

Love! Love! Praise to you, God on high!


Pastor Jen Boyd

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/23/2021

 Thursday December 23                       Love                                    Psalm 36:5-9

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.


“Do you still love me?” I suspect most of us have, at one time or another, said this to or heard it from a friend, partner, spouse. Maybe the car got dented, or we forgot to do something. Maybe it was something more serious, like breaking a promise. Or something even more severe that broke the trust that had been shared or betrayed the love that is now in question. Being on either side of that inquiry places demands on the participant. If I am the asker, I need to reflect on what I’ve done, how sincere I am in my regret, how committed I am to reforming my ways. If I am the asked, how do I judge the hurt that has been done, how much risk am I willing to take in the future, is there enough left of the love I had to grow again and survive.  Sadly in our human relationships, sometimes the answer is “no” and both people are left wounded and lessened.

If we live our lives knowing we are in God’s presence, we also have times when we recognize our failings and turn to God and ask “do you still love me?” It is an incredible gift to us that God’s answer is always a resounding “yes!” God recognizes our weaknesses, the easy attraction of our own ego over the things God would have us do, but God doesn’t just wink and dismiss our sins lightly. God wants us to be repentant and strive to live the way shown to us through Jesus. But God always begins with a firm and steadfast “yes” of God’s love and reaches out to lift us and help us return to the path of uprightness. God shines the light of Jesus into our hearts to purify and strengthen us.

Prayer: God I humbly ask you to forgive my sins. As unworthy as I am, you shower me with your love and support me, looking in return only for my love to you and to others. Help me to keep you foremost in my mind as I interact with others, and guide me to show them your love and forgiveness through my actions. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen


Mary Beth Commisso

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/22/2021

 Wednesday December 22                 Love                              I Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


God is pure, unconditional love…

In 1 Corinthians, 13:4-7, we read in human terminology that which cannot easily be expressed through words.

As in the Sermon on the Mount, we see kindness, goodness and mercy, unselfishness and peace, as qualities of God’s love. Truth and purity of heart exemplify the nature of God.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 gives us the road map for hoping to attain this in and through our everyday life, in everything we DO and everything we ARE, DO it and BE it in love. Only acts of mercy, patience and kindness, will last and live forever.

Human nature, being what it is, pulls us in the opposite direction.  So we must always strive for “faith, hope and love”… pure, unconditional love which is the essence of God.


Prayer of Commitment

 written by Holley Gerth



Because love is patient…

Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen,

hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage,

remembering your endless patience with me.


Because love is kind…

Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful.

Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You”

because those little things still mean so much.


Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud…

Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others.

May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am,

as well as doing the same for those around me.


Because love is not rude or self-seeking…

Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart.

When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world,

remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.


Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs…

Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me.

When I want to hold onto a grudge,

gently help me release it

so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.


Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…

Help me stand up for what is right and good.

May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless.

Show me how I can make a difference.


Because love always protects and always trusts…

Help me to be a refuge for those around me.

When the world outside is harsh and cold,

may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.


Finally, because love always perseveres…

Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others.

Thank you for showing us what the word love really means. Amen.


Patricia Kapp

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/21/2021

 Tuesday December 21                         Love                                       John 15:1-9

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.


When I chose this date for a reflection, I didn’t know it would contain one of my favorite verses – I am the vine, you are the branches. I would like to believe that my stay on earth is for a reason. What is it? Raised in a loving church oriented family gave me a strong Lutheran background. I like to think that my life has been one of giving of myself when I can. God has blessed me with a much longer life than anyone in my immediate family for which I am grateful. I pray that as long as I live I can bear the fruit of Jesus’ love and help others to see how he and the Father care for us. It is with great joy that I serve my church and my God.


Prayer: Father, thank you for allowing me to be a branch in your vine. Bless all those who are reaching out to family, neighbors, countrymen so that we can continue to live in a peaceful world with love. Let us joyfully celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen.


Deacon Dorothy Kafalas

Monday, December 20, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/20/2021)

 Monday December 20                         Love                                        Isaiah 63:7

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us, and the great favor to the house of Israel that he has shown them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.


As I'm spending time with my son and his family, the adults (Vinnie, Wendy and I), are having many conversations over our evening coffee. A recent one was a very good for this mother's heart.

Vinnie's dad died when he was 13 1/2 and he was angry with God for quite a while. That night, Vin started talking about how God used that "rough patch" to show him how faithful He was through it.  He said, "God just kept loving me Mom, putting Christians in my life in unexpected places, keeping me safe instead of dead or in prison, giving me a job with a Christian man who prayed every day and only listen to Christian radio. I mean I rode with him to jobs that were three or four hours away and the station was constant. There was never any judgment in our conversations, but he sure let me know if I messed up."

What's funny about this is how Vin would lovingly tease me for sharing how much Jesus loved me and what He did for me and, now, Vin is doing the same thing. Vinnie "... recounts the steadfast love of the LORD..." with others, especially if they're troubled.  He KNOWS Who the answer is.

Dear God - We KNOW You ALONE are the answer for us all. Thank You for Your steadfast love and for being there in our "rough patches." During Advent and after, please help us to be more like Your Son, Jesus.  Help us "recount Your steadfast love" to all those You bring across our path, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone. Help us to REST and TRUST in "... the abundance of Your steadfast love."

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen

Deb Lyon


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Advent Devotions: Love (12/19/2021)

 Sunday December 19                           Love                                    I John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


In the 60’s Charlie and I were in college and involved in the Lutheran Student Federation in NYC.

Love and Peace were certainly in the air in the 60’s.

We often sang songs on Retreats, one of them being “They’ll Know we are Christians by Our Love”. This song resonated with me and at our wedding friends of ours sang it. I always hope that the words in the song, like the words in the verses for today would lead me to have God’s love lead me to love those who I meet.

Prayer: May God’s love lead you and me to love others. And may we sing:

We will work with each other; we will work side by side

We will work with each other; we will work side by side

And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love

Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love

Irene Germain