I was thinking about that song “The Twelve Days of Christmas and decided to check out the readings for the daily liturgies on the twelve days before Christmas concerning the readings for the daily liturgies. Perhaps it would be helpful for prayer if we consider a phrase from each day’s readings.
December 13, from 1Thessalonians 5:16-24. Test everything; retain what is good.
That is really good advice, especially with all the dangers lurking today. The Holy Spirit is a faithful aid with discernment. Call on the Spirit.
December 14, from Matthew 21:23-27. “By what authority are you doing these things.”
The chief priests and elders are questioning Jesus. We know Jesus acts with heavenly authority, and that is the best guarantee available. How blessed are we to have God’s love in the person of Jesus!
December 15, from Matthew 21:28-32. “Which of the two did his father’s will?”
Consider obedience in today’s world. It is so easy to rationalize our sins, to make little excuses for sinning. We can pray for more faithfulness to doing God’s will in our everyday lives.
December 16, from Isaiah 45:6c-8,18, 21c-25. Turn to me and be safe.
What an invitation! That should be our first reaction whenever we are challenged or threatened. As we have heard many times, God is always waiting to save us.
December 17, from Matthew 1:1-17. We are given the genealogy of Jesus. How are we doing with praying for our families? While some of our family members may not follow in our spiritual or religious observances, we pray for blessings and wisdom for them. Our loving example can be visual prayers for their increase in faith.
December 18, from Matthew 1:18-25. They shall name him Emmanuel, which means God with us.
We are assured of the Divine Presence, even when we feel most alone and dismayed. This child’s name tells us who he is right from the start of his earthy conception. What a wonderful name!
December 19, from the Book of Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a and Luke 1:5-25. We read about angels and the announcements they bring of births to come. What important announcements have we heard this past year? Have we felt the presence of our guardian angels? Have we thanked God for these holy messengers?
December 20, from Luke 1:26-38. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
We imagine how frightened teen-aged Mary could have been, and so the first thing the angel told her was not to be afraid. Do we say and do things in the right order? Do we consider the possible reactions of those people with whom we interact? Are we sensitive to their needs and experiences?
December 21, from Luke 1:39-45. Mary visits her cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth says, "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
Whom can we really trust to do what they say? People make promises all the time and, for one reason or another, fall short of fulfilling them. We can always trust the Lord. Let us pray for an increase in trusting the Lord. Let’s also ask for help in keeping the promises we make to God and to others.
December 22, from Luke 1:46-56. Mary prays her Magnificat.
Are we open enough to pray our thankfulness to God out loud, for others to hear? We should read Mary’s prayer slowly, line by line, and ponder its powerful meaning.
December 23, from Luke 1:57-66. “John is his name.”
And so, John the Baptist was born and named. What a strong evangelist he was! Are we gentle spreaders of the good news? We don’t have to be preachers or teachers by profession to share our joyful Jesus experiences. Ask John to pray for us so we can be better at loving others with our words.
December 24, from Luke 1:67-79. We read Zechariah’s prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free.”
We notice freedoms more when they are jeopardized or absent. This year’s pandemic has limited our sense of being free. Remembering that the Lord is with us reassures us. Most importantly, Jesus sets us free from the finality of sin, so we can be joyful after all. Merry, holy Christmas!
The scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.