The Season of Christmas
Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021)
3-Year Lectionary, Year C
The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve)
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.
1 John 4:9–14
This is how God’s love for us was revealed: God has sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we also should love one another.
12No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love has been brought to its goal in us. 13This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
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.”
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. 18And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Day)
Exodus 33:18–23, 34:5–7
Then Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
19The Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord in your presence. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” 20He said, “You cannot see my face, for no human may see me and live.”
21The Lord also said, “Look, there is a place next to me, where you shall stand on the rock. 22It will happen that, while my glory passes by, I will put you in a crevice in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back. But my face will not be seen.”
34:5The Lord came down in the cloud. He took his stand there with Moses and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6The Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and overflowing with mercy and truth, 7maintaining mercy for thousands, forgiving guilt and rebellion and sin. He will by no means clear the guilty. He calls their children and their children’s children to account for the guilt of the fathers, even to the third and the fourth generation.”
What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?
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.
15John testified about him. He cried out, “This was the one I spoke about when I said, ‘The one coming after me outranks me because he existed before me.’” 16For out of his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, who is close to the Father’s side, has made him known.
The First Sunday after Christmas
The Lord God gave me a tongue like the learned, an instructed tongue,
so I know how to sustain the weary with a word.
He wakes me up morning by morning.
He wakes up my ears so that I listen like the learned.
5The Lord God opened my ear,
and I myself was not rebellious.
I did not turn back.
6I submitted my back to those who beat me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.
I did not hide my face from disgrace and from spit.
7The Lord God will help me,
so I will not be disgraced.
Therefore I have made my face hard like flint.
I know that I will not be put to shame.
8The one who will acquit me is near!
Who can accuse me?
Let us take our stand.
Who can pass judgment on me?
Let him approach me.
9Look, the Lord God will help me.
Who then can declare me guilty?
Look, all of them will wear out like a garment.
A moth will consume them.
Certainly it was fitting for God (the one for whom and through whom everything exists), in leading many sons to glory, to bring the author of their salvation to his goal through sufferings. 11For he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all have one Father. For that reason, he is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says:
I will declare your name to my brothers.
Within the congregation I will sing your praise.
I will trust in him.
Here I am and the children God has given me.
14Therefore, since the children share flesh and blood, he also shared the same flesh and blood, so that through death he could destroy the one who had the power of death (that is, the Devil) 15and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16For surely he was not concerned with helping angels but with helping Abraham’s offspring. 17For this reason, he had to become like his brothers in every way, in order that he would be a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God, so that he could pay for the sins of the people. 18Indeed, because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Every year his parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the Festival. 43When the days had ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it. 44Since they thought he was in their group, they went a day’s journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.
46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? See, your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”
49He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be taking care of my Father’s business?” 50They did not understand what he was telling them.
51He went down with them and came to Nazareth. He was always obedient to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.
The Second Sunday after Christmas
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty. Walk before me and be blameless. 2I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will make your descendants very numerous.”
3Abram fell on his face. God spoke with him. He said, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations. 5Your name will not be Abram anymore, but your name will be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a large group of nations. 6I will make you extremely fruitful, and I will produce nations from you. Kings will come out of you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you as an everlasting covenant throughout their generations. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
But 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.
Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited us and prepared redemption for his people.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70just as he said long ago through the mouth of his holy prophets.
71He raised up salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
72in order to show mercy to our fathers by remembering his holy covenant,
73the oath which he swore to Abraham our father,
74to grant deliverance to us from the hand of our enemies,
so that we are able to serve him without fear,
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.