Days Around Christmas

January 2

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

For learning about wisdom and instruction,
 for understanding words of insight,
for gaining instruction in wise dealing,
 righteousness, justice, and equity;
to teach shrewdness to the simple,
 knowledge and prudence to the young—
let the wise also hear and gain in learning,
 and the discerning acquire skill,
to understand a proverb and a figure,
 the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
 fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalm 147:12-20

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
 Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
 he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
 he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
 his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
 he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
 who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
 he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
 his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
 they do not know his ordinances.

Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 3:13-18

James.jpg

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Year C Days Around Christmas Jan 2

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Saint James the Greater by Guido Reni, via Wikimedia Commons, This is a public domain image.

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December 31

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: 1 Kings 3:5-14

There is a parallel passage at 2 Chronicles 1:7-13.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”

Psalm 147:12-20

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
 Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
 he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
 he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
 his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
 he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
 who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
 he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
 his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
 they do not know his ordinances.

Praise the Lord!

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 8:12-19

Light-of-the-world.jpg

Again Jesus spoke to them [the people he was teaching, the scribes, and the Pharisees], saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

Year C Days Around Christmas Dec 31

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in Modern English Version (MEV), copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: I am the Light of the World via flickr. used under the Creative Commons 2.0 attribution noncommercial use only license. © INSPIKS | Inspirational Pictures

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The First Sunday After Christmas

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the Lord”; and then they would return to their home. Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
 praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
 praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
 praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
 and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
 he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth
 you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
 stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
 fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
 creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
 princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
 old and young together

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
 praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 3:12-17

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 2:41-52

Jesus-found-Temple.jpg

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

Year C Days Around Christmas Sunday 1

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Jesus Found in the Temple by James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons. There are no restrictions on the use of this image.

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December 29

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: 1 Chronicles 28:1-10

David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the officials of the tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the commanders of the thousands, the commanders of the hundreds, the stewards of all the property and cattle of the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty warriors, and all the warriors. Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God; and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for my name, for you are a warrior and have shed blood.’ Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me from all my ancestral house to be king over Israel forever; for he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took delight in making me king over all Israel. And of all my sons, for the Lord has given me many, he has chosen my son Solomon to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be a son to me, and I will be a father to him. I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues resolute in keeping my commandments and my ordinances, as he is today.’ Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and search out all the commandments of the Lord your God; that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.

“And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve him with single mind and willing heart; for the Lord searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever. Take heed now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary; be strong, and act.”

Psalm 147:12-20

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
 Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
 he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
 he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
 his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
 he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
 who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
 he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
 his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
 they do not know his ordinances.

Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 3:10-17

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.

1-Corinthians-3_16.jpg

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Year C Days Around Christmas Dec 29

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: 1 Corinthians 3:16 Background image from public-domain-image-net. This is a public domain image.

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December 28

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 54:1-13

Sing, O barren one who did not bear;
 burst into song and shout,
 you who have not been in labor!

For the children of the desolate woman will be more
 than the children of her that is married, says the Lord.
Enlarge the site of your tent,
 and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
 and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left,
 and your descendants will possess the nations
 and will settle the desolate towns.

Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
 do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
 and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
 the Lord of hosts is his name;
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
 the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
 like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off,
 says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
 but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
 I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
 says the Lord, your Redeemer.

This is like the days of Noah to me:
 Just as I swore that the waters of Noah
 would never again go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
 and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
 and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
 and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
 says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
 I am about to set your stones in antimony,
 and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
 your gates of jewels,
 and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the prosperity of your children.
¹

¹Jesus quotes this verse in response to the Jews who are hostile to him (John 6:41-51).

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
 praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
 praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
 praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
 and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
 he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth
 you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
 stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
 fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
 creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
 princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
 old and young together

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
 praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 21:1-7

New-Jerusalem.jpg

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: The New Jerusalem (Tapestry of the Apocalypse) via Wikimedia Commons. Image by By Kimon Berlin, user: Gribeco. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Share Alike license.

Year C Days Around Christmas Dec 28

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December 27

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Proverbs 8:32-36

Wisdom-Hildegard.jpg

[Wisdom is speaking.]

“And now, my children, listen to me:
happy are those who keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Happy is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord;
but those who miss me injure themselves;
all who hate me love death.”  

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
 praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
 praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
 praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
 and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
 he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth
 you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
 stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
 fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
 creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
 princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
 old and young together

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
 for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
 praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 21:19b-24

After this Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.

Year C Days Around Christmas Dec 27

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Wisdom by Hilegard of Bingen, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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December 26

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: 2 Chronicles 24:17-24

Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king listened to them. They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord; they testified against them, but they would not listen. Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you.” But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge!” At the end of the year the army of Aram came up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the officials of the people from among them, and sent all the booty they took to the king of Damascus. Although the army of Aram had come with few men, the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
 praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
  praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
  praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
  and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
  for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
  he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
  you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
  stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
  fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
  creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
  princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
  old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
  for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
  for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Lesson: Acts 6:1-7; 7:51-60

Stoning-Stephen.jpg

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

[Stephen did “great signs and wonders among the people,” (Acts 6:8). Some members of the synagogue of Freedmen stirred up people against Stephen (Acts 6:12), who is now before the high priest (Acts 7:1). He is answering the high priest.]

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”

When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.


Image credit: Stoning of St. Stephen by Rembrandt, photo by Flickr user Monado, via flickr, This image is used under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 license.

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Christmas Night (Nativity of the Lord III)

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
 of the messenger who announces peace,
 who brings good news,
 who announces salvation, who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns.”
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
 together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
 you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
 he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
 before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth
 shall see the salvation of our God.

Psalm 98

O sing to the Lord a new song,
 for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
 he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love
 and faithfulness to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
 break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
 with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
 make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
 the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
 let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord,
 for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
 and the peoples with equity.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 1:1-12

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;
 today I have begotten you¹”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,
 and he will be my Son²”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God's angels worship him.³”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
 and his servants flames of fire.*”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
 and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
 therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.¶”

And,

“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
 and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
 they will all wear out like clothing;
like a cloak you will roll them up,
 and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
 and your years will never end.§”

¹ Psalm 2:7   ²2 Samuel 7:13   ³Psalm 97:7 and Deuteronomy 32:43
*Psalm 104:4   ¶Psalm 45:6-7   §Psalm 102:25-27

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Nativity-3.jpg

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.

Years ABC Nativity of the Lord III

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Image Credit: The background is a public domain image downloaded from alfa-img.com

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