This Week’s Theme
Journey to the City of David
During the time when Caesar Augustus was emperor, a decree was sent through the empire that all the world should be registered (the first registration occurring when Quirinius was governor of Syria). So all went to be registered in the town of their birth lineage. Joseph journeyed up from Galilee from Nazareth to Judea to Bethlehem, called the city of David, being as he was of the house and lineage of David. He took Mary, who was betrothed to him in marriage, to be registered, and she was with child. During the time they were there, the time for her to give birth happened, and she delivered her firstborn son. She wrapped the child in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, for there was no place for them in the inn.
Joseph and Mary, along with so many other peasant travelers, took to the road on a journey to their ancestral home. On the surface, it appears they traveled for the purpose of obeying the emperor’s registration decree. Their journey ended in Bethlehem, the place where the prophets said the Messiah would be born. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Mic. 5.2). Praise God for the holy family, for their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and for the hope of the anointed one, the Christ, born to save us from our sins.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
We beseech Thee, O Lord, let our hearts be graciously enlightened by the holy radiance of Thy Son’s Incarnation; that so we may escape the darkness of this world, and by His guidance attain to the country of eternal brightness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ Sarum Missal (Wright, p. 27)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Tuesday: Job 19-21
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says, “He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head.” For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the Son of man, so that human beings might in their turn become children and heirs of God? Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification and whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace. Amen.
~ Augustine of Hippo (Oden, 31)
Affirmation for the Day
The LORD accompanies us on the journeys of our lives, leading us to glorify his name.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this weary land! (from the hymn by William Williams)
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Savior Is Born, Christ the Lord, Luke 2.8-20
Packer, Knowing God