The Season of Christmas
Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021)
The Lord spoke to Ahaz again. He said, 11“Ask for a sign from the Lord your God. Ask for it either in the depths below or in the heights above.”
12But Ahaz responded, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”
13So Isaiah said:
Listen now, you house of David. Is it not enough for you to test the patience of men? Will you test the patience of my God as well? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give a sign for all of you. Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and name him Immanuel.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12It trains us to reject ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope, that is, the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He gave himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are his own chosen people, eager to do good works.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3And everyone went to register, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.
6And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: 11Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.”
The Nativity of Our Lord
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
For those living in the land of the shadow of death, the light has dawned.
3You have multiplied the nation. You have increased its joy.
They rejoice before you like the joy at harvest time,
like the celebration when people divide the plunder.
4For you have shattered the yoke that burdened them.
You have broken the bar on their shoulders and the rod of their oppressor,
as you did in the day of Midian.
5Every boot that marched in battle
and the garments rolled in blood will be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.
6For to us a child is born.
To us a son is given.
The authority to rule will rest on his shoulders.
He will be named:
Prince of Peace.
7There will be no limit to his authority
and no end to the peace he brings.
He will rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
from now on, into eternity.
The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.
In the past, God spoke to our forefathers by the prophets at many times and in many ways. 2In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of the divine nature. He sustains all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
4The Son became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my Son. Today I have begotten you?
I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.
6And again, when he brought his firstborn into the world, he said:
Let all God’s angels worship him.
7About the angels he says:
He makes his messengers winds and his ministers flaming fire.
8But about the Son he says:
God, your throne is forever and ever,
and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.
10And he says:
In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the works of your hands.
11They will perish, but you remain.
They will all become old like a garment.
12You will roll them up like a robe,
and they will be changed like a garment.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him everything was made, and without him not one thing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5The light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6There was a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as an eyewitness to testify about the light so that everyone would believe through him. 8He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
9The real light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not recognize him. 11He came to what was his own, yet his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who did receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. 13They were born, not of blood, or of the desire of the flesh, or of a husband’s will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. We have seen his glory, the glory he has as the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The First Sunday after Christmas
A shoot will spring up from the stump of Jesse,
and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him:
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3He will be delighted with the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
nor will he render decisions based on what he hears with his ears,
4but with righteousness he will judge the poor,
and he will render fair decisions in favor of the oppressed on the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath from his lips he will put the wicked to death.
5Righteousness will be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his hips.
What I am saying is this: As long as the heir is a young child, he is no different from a slave. Although he is owner of everything, 2he is still under guardians and managers until the day set by his father. 3So also, when we were younger children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son to be born of a woman, so that he would be born under the law, 5in order to redeem those under the law, so that we would be adopted as sons. 6And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to shout, “Abba, Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if you are a son, then you are also an heir of God through Christ.
Joseph and the child’s mother were amazed at the things that were spoken about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Listen carefully, this child is appointed for the falling and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36Anna, a prophetess, was there. She was a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. She had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37and then she was a widow of eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple complex, since she was worshipping with fasting and prayers night and day. 38Standing nearby at that very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord. She kept speaking about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39When they had accomplished everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town, Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
The Second Sunday after Christmas
Israel traveled with all that he had until he came to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2God called to Israel in a vision at night, “Jacob, Jacob!”
Jacob said, “I am here.”
3He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will certainly bring you back again. And Joseph’s hand will close your eyes.”
5Jacob set out from Beersheba, and the sons of Israel transported Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6They took their livestock and their property that they had acquired in the land of Canaan and came into Egypt—Jacob, and all his offspring with him, 7his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters. So he brought all his offspring with him into Egypt.
1 Peter 4:12-19
Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery trial that is happening among you to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. 13Instead rejoice whenever you are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
14If you are insulted in connection with the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or as a meddler. 16But if you suffer for being a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God in connection with this name. 17For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. Now if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who disobey the gospel of God? 18And if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, where will the ungodly sinner end up? 19So let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to their faithful Creator while doing what is good.
After the Wise Men were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod will search for the child in order to kill him.”
14Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt. 15He stayed there until the death of Herod. This happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Wise Men, he was furious. He issued orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under. This was in keeping with the exact time he had learned from the Wise Men. 17Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
18A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she refused to be comforted,
because they are no more.
19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. The angel said, 20“Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
21Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus, Herod’s son, had succeeded his father as ruler in Judea, he was afraid to go there. Since he had been warned in a dream, he went to the region of Galilee. 23When he arrived there, he settled in a city called Nazareth. So what was spoken through the prophets was fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.”