Week 4: Thursday, Christmas Eve

To the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary traveled for the registration ordered by Augustus. While there, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, the child Jesus, whose birth the angels heralded, and of whom the shepherds testified. In the fullness of time, the virgin gave birth to a Son, and the angels announced the coming of the King from David’s line, the one alone who will bring blessing and great joy to the world. Jesus, the child of Mary, is the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, Who makest us glad with the yearly expectation of our redemption, grant that as we joyfully receive Thine Only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, we may also see Him without fear when He cometh as our Judge; even our Lord, who with Thee, reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.

~ Gelasian Sacramentary. A.D. 1549 (Wright, p. 21)

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

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)

Gloria Patri
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.

Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: Job 26-29

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 96
OT: Isa. 9.2-7
Gospel: Luke 2.1-20
NT: Titus 2.11-14

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

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.

Almighty God, who has kept us in life, and wakened us to the light and hope of a new day; drive from our hearts all sloth and gloom by the beams of thy lovingkindness. And since our life is thy gift, defend that which thou hast given; preserve and increase us in all health; that when the evening comes, we may thankfully say: The Lord is the strength of my life; the Lord is my light and salvation. According to this our faith, be it done unto us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ James Ferguson (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 14)

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Let my heart express the joy of the Word made flesh in what I say and do today.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
God Is with Us, John 1.1-14

Book Reading
Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible

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