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Come, let us climb

by davesandel on December 1st, 2019

December 1, 2019

The Christian season of Advent begins today. Today also marks the beginning of the liturgical church year in many churches around the world.

I’d like to send you short reflections on each of the days of Advent and the Christmas season. These meditations are based on scripture texts from the daily lectionary used in Roman Catholic and other churches throughout the world. You can read all the scriptures of the day by clicking on the linked date at the top of each reflection.

Even though we’re not in church, reading these scriptures and meditations is a way to participate in community worship and prayer with many others who are also reading the same texts.

These devotions will be part of the book Finding My Way 2019, available on Amazon by March 2020. It will join six other compilations:

Finding My Way 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Finding My Way Toward Easter: 1998-2018

Finding My Way Toward Christmas I: 2000-2009

 Finding My Way Toward Christmas II: 2010-2019 should also be available by March 2020.

All of these books are available either as inexpensive paperbacks or even more inexpensive Kindle versions. Besides the year’s devotions, each book includes many photographs from our family life.

The devotions are also available and archived each day at the following web addresses:

God bless you,


All the Daily Lectionary Readings for Advent 2019 and Christmas 2019-2020

Readings for the Sundays (Year A)

12/1/19     Isa 2:1-15, Ps 122:1-9, Rom 13:11-14, Matt 24:37-44

12/8/19     Isa 11:1-9, Ps 72:1-7, Rom 15:4-9, Matt 3:1-12

12/15/19   lsa 35:1-10, Ps 146:6-10, James 5:7-10, Matt 11:2-11

12/22/19   Isa 7:10-14, Ps 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matt 1:18-24

12/29/19   Sirach 3:2-14 or 1 Sam 1:20-28, Ps 128:1-5 or Ps 84:-3-10, Col 3:12-21 or Col 3:12-17 or 1 John 3:1-24, Luke 2:41-52

1/5/20       (Sunday of Epiphany) Isa 60:1-6, Ps 72:1-13, Eph 3:2-6, Matt 2:1-12

Readings for the Advent and Christmas Weekdays (Cycle I)

First Week of Advent

12/2/19     Isa 4:2-6, Ps 122:1-9, Matt 8:5-11

12/3/19     Isa 11:1-10, Ps 72:1-17, Luke 10:21-24

12/4/19     Isa 25:6-10, Ps 23, Matt 15:29-37

12/5/19     Isa 26:1-6, Ps 118:1:27, Matt 7:21-27

12/8/19     Isa 29:17-24, Ps 27:1-14, Matt 9:27-31

12/9/19     Isa 30:19-26, Ps 147:1-6, Matt 9:35-10:8

Second Week of Advent

12/9/19     Gen 3:9-20, Ps 98:1-4, Eph 1:3-12, Luke 1:26-38 (Mary’s Immaculate Conception)

12/10/19   Isa 40:1-11, Ps 96:1-13, Matt 18:12-14

12/11/19   Isa 40:25-31, Ps 103:1-10, Matt 11:28-30

12/12/19   Zech 2:14-17, Rev 11:19-12:10, Judith 13:18-19, Luke 1:26-38 (Lady of Guadalupe)

12/13/19   Isa 48:17-19, Ps 1, Matt 11:16-19

12/14/19   Sirach 48:1-11, Ps 80:2-19, Matt 17:9-13

Third Week of Advent

12/16/19   Num 24:2-17, Ps 25:4-9, Matt 21:23-27

12/17/19   Gen 49:2-10, Ps 72:1-17, Matt 1:1-17

12/18/19   Jer 23:5-8, Ps 72:1-19, Matt 1:18-25

12/19/19   Judges 13:2-25, Ps 71:3-17, Luke 1:5-25

12/20/19   Isaiah 7:10-14, Ps 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

12/21/19   Solomon 2:8-14, Zeph 3:14-18, Ps 33:2-21, Luke 1:39-45

Fourth Week of Advent

12/23/19   Mal 3:1-24, Ps 25:4-14, Luke 1:57-66

12/24/19   2 Sam 7:1-16, Ps 89:2-29, Luke 1:67-69

Season of Christmas

12/25/19   Isa 52:7-10, Ps 98:1-6, Heb 1:1-6, John 1:1-18

12/26/19   Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59, Ps 31:3-17, Matt 10:17-22

12/27/19   1 John 1:1-4, Ps 97:1-12, John 20:1-8

12/28/19   1 John 1:5-2:2, Ps 124:2-8, Matt 2:13-18

12/30/19   1 John 2:12-17, Ps 96:1-10, Luke 2:36-40

12/31/19   1 John 2:18-21, Ps 96:1-13, John 1:1-18

1/1/20       Num 6:22-27, Ps 67:2-8, Gal 4:4-7, Luke 2:16-21

1/2/20       1 John 2:22-28, Ps 98:1-4, John 1:19-28

1/3/20       1 John 2:29—3:6, Ps 98:1-6, John 1:29-34

1/4/20       1 John 3:7-10, Ps 98:1-9, John 1:35-42


Come, let us climb

First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019

“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, up to the house of the God of Jacob, that HE may instruct us in his ways and WE may walk in his paths.”

– From Isaiah 2

“Come now, little jellyfish,” said the Shepherd. “Do you believe that I can change you into a mountain goat and get you to the top of the precipice?”

“Yes,” replied Much-Afraid.

“Will you let me do it?”

Jay and I left the Lama Community and hiked up toward Lobo Peak, three thousand feet the first day. We set our small tent. In this thin air our fire was hard to light. We scrambled eggs, ate nuts and berries, slept.

Fresh in morning mountain air, we started up again, two or three more hours along the edges of the tallest mountain in New Mexico (12,195 feet). Clouds fell down on us. Forty miles away lightning ranged across the valley above Flag Mountain, our nearest neighbor. Huge pines with no ground cover fell off quickly on both sides of our trail, and sky and valley shone through. We ate from an ancient snowbank, intact in mid-July, crusted, red, covered with nettles. The air was thin, and the flowers were very very bright.

Much-Afraid said something she had never been willing to say before. “I don’t think I mind so very much if you do change me. Only have your will and way in me, Shepherd. Nothing else matters.”

At last grasping the flagstick that marked Lobo’s Peak, Jay and I were silent. God did all the talking while we stood quiet among the rocks, at the altar on this particular top of the world. We felt surrounded by earth’s full circle of life. God’s hand reached down to caress us through the clouds. For some time we sang our alleluias, and sat silently beneath the heaven. Then with a little lunch, after drinking part of our final quart of water and picking some wet wild flowers to keep and dry, we headed down.

Much-Afraid gasped with wonder and delight. As she spoke she saw that her guardian angels Sorrow and Suffering, who had drawn aside while the Shepherd spoke to her, were standing one at either side of the path. She saw a double rainbow, arching the precipice, and where the ends of the rainbow touched the earth, one touched Suffering and the other Sorrow.

At the bottom of Manzanita Canyon we caught a ride to Taos Ski Lodge. We listened to classical music, drank beer and met people from Chicago and Africa. Pleasant enough. But it felt to me like we hit earth with a bang, too hard. I needed … I still need … some way to move from earth to heaven and back again.

Much-Afraid knelt down at the foot of the precipice. She built an altar and laid on it her will, her dread and her shrinking. When the fire had fallen she found among the ashes a larger, rougher-looking stone than any of the others, sharp-edged and dark. This she put in her purse and rose to her feet, and waited.

 *           *           *

As do I, Lord. As do I.

Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, p. 111-112, 1975.



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