This Week’s Theme
The Steadfast Love of the Lord
The time of the Messiah’s entrance into the world is a time of remembrance and affirmation. The prophet Isaiah exalted the LORD for his promised Son, recounting the steadfast love and praises of the LORD according to everything the LORD had granted his people. The coming of the Messiah would be an expression of his great goodness to the house of Israel, given according to his compassion and abundant, steadfast love.
Isaiah acknowledged in God’s past dealing with his people that even though they had failed to be true to him, he still became their Savior, was afflicted in all their affliction, and they were saved by the “angel of his presence.” God loved and pitied his people, and redeemed and lifted them up, carrying them all the days of old. In the same way, with the goodness shown in the Messiah’s birth, so we see the love, pity, and mercy of God for his own.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O Christ, the King of glory, who art not ashamed to call us thy brethren, and who camest in great humility to be made like us in our weakness, poverty and need: give us grace to contemplate and adore the mystery of thy incarnation wherein thou didst condescend to our low estate, that we, following the example of thy meekness and lowliness, might be exalted in thy divine nature, to be one with thee, as thou art one with the Father. Amen.
~ Gelasian Sacramentary (Ferguson and Wallis, 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
Thursday: Exod. 5-7
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 148
OT: Isa. 63.7-9
Gospel: Matt. 2.13-23
NT: Heb. 2.10-18
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
Almighty God, you wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of Jesus Christ who came to share our humanity, and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
~ 162 (Book of Common Worship, p. 188)
Affirmation for the Day
Lift us up and carry us during all our time on earth.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Holy Messiah, afflicted for us, may your presence and compassion save us, lift us, and carry us forever.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Savior Is Born, Christ the Lord, Luke 2.8-20
Packer, Knowing God