Joseph and Mary were devout worshipers, going up to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up as was their custom, and when the week-long feast was ended, as they were returning, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem (though his folks did not know it). They thought he was in their traveling group for a day’s journey on the road, but when they searched for him among their relatives and acquaintances, he was not there. They returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.
After three days they finally found the boy Jesus in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Those who heard Jesus were amazed at both his understanding and his answers. Astonished at him, his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” Jesus said to his parents, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Neither understood his saying to them. Afterwards, he went down with them and back to Nazareth, submitting to them. Mary treasured up all these things in her heart, and the Lord Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, growing in favor with God and man. Even as a child, Jesus revealed his heart for God, his increase in wisdom and stature, and his devotion to the Father’s will.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
God of peace and consolation, as we recall and worship the mysteries of your Son’s infancy and childhood, may we be filled with the spirit of humility, grow into the full stature of the children of God and come at last to our heavenly home which you promise to your adopted children and heirs. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
~ The Libermanualis minoritae, in William G. Storey,
A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions: Praying the Seasons and Feasts of the Church Year.
Chicago, IL: Loyola Press, 2004. p. 47-48.
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)
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
Sunday: Job 35-37
Psalm: Ps. 148
OT: 1 Sam. 2.18-20, 26
Gospel: Luke 2.41-52
NT: Col. 3.12-17
(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.
O God, Who didst manifest Thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles, and hast commanded Thy Church to preach the Gospel to every creature, bless all Thy servants who are labouring for Thee in distant lands. Have compassion upon the heathen and upon all who know Thee not. Lead them by Thy Holy Spirit to Him Who is the Light of the world, that walking in the light they may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Robert Nelson, A.D. 1655, in Selina Fitzherbert Fox,
A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages: Forty Centuries of Prayer from 2000 B.C.-A.D. 1916.
New York, NY: E.P. Dutton, 1943. p. 215.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Give to us, O Lord, a mind like your Son, who from an early age desired to be about your business in his Father’s house.
Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
The engine that moves the Church forward is spiritual reproduction, disciples making disciples, churches planting churches, and movements sparking movements. The spirit and power of the ancient Church to expand and multiply rapidly can still be seen today around the world. God’s Kingdom is advancing powerfully through disciple-making and church-planting movements. Consistent spiritual reproduction requires beliefs and practices that are easily passed on from person to person and church to church. The Great Tradition provides a credible and substantive guide to what is worth reproducing everywhere.
~ Ryan Carter. Guard the Good Deposit: The Great Tradition for the Whole Church.
Electronic Edition. Wichita, KS: TUMI Press, 2019. Location 241.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
To the Praise of His Glorious Grace, Ephesians 1.3-14
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit
Special Church Year Service
Holy Name of Jesus/New Year’s Day: Saturday, January 1, 2022