Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,

And heaven and nature sing.

Isaac Watts

When you are ready, click on “The Word of God” below for today's Scripture and then continue to follow the remaining steps of the devotion.

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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As 2012 comes to an end and 2013 begins, it’s easy to want to erase all the “bad things” we’ve experienced. We often want to start the new year fresh, holding onto only the good and joy-filled memories.

But today's poem from Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a season and a time for both the good and the bad. In the course of our lives, we will experience both joy and pain, laughter and tears, new life and death. And through it all, God promises to be with us, holding us when we weep, rejoicing with us when we dance. God is Emmanuel, “God with us."

As you look back on this past year, when did you feel closest to God? When did you feel farthest from God? How have you experienced God’s love and grace for you through the trials and the triumphs of life?

Joann Lee

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God, thank you for being with me this year through the difficult times and the happy times. Help me to trust you through all the seasons of life, knowing that you love me deeply and unconditionally. Amen.

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Depart now in peace, for your eyes have seen the salvation which God has prepared for all people. Grow in strength and wisdom and bring forth a harvest of righteousness and praise.
May God smile upon you and make you strong and wise.
May Christ Jesus and his humble birth fill you with awe.
And may the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the presence of God’s Messiah.

Adapted from Nathan Nettleton,, ©2002

Joann Lee

Joann Haejong Lee is an associate pastor at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Joann grew up much farther south in Houston, Texas, and was nurtured in faith by her Korean immigrant Presbyterian church. Joann and her spouse, Mike, met in eighth grade and live in Saint Paul with their two dogs, Bailey and Logan.

Infant Holy - Away in a Manger

David Burroughs

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