The Season of Christmas
Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal (1993)
The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve)
2The 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.
11For 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.”
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)
2But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
from you, will go out the one who will be the ruler for me in Israel.
His goings forth are from the beginning, from the days of eternity.
3Therefore the Lord will give them up,
until the time when the woman who is in labor bears a child.
Then the remaining survivors from his brothers will return to the people of Israel.
4He will stand and shepherd with the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
They will dwell securely, for at that time he will be great to the ends of the earth.
5This one will be their peace.
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.
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
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight.
I am placing my Spirit on him.
He will announce a just verdict for the nations.
2He will not cry out.
He will not raise his voice.
He will not make his voice heard in the street.
3A bent reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not snuff out.
He will faithfully bring forth a just verdict.
4He will not burn out, and he will not be broken
until he establishes justice on the earth.
The coastlands will wait for his law.
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.
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 28Simeon took him into his arms and praised God. He said,
29Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word,
30because my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared before the face of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
33Joseph 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.
The Second Sunday after Christmas
15This is what the Lord says.
A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning.
Rachel is weeping for her children.
She refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
16This is what the Lord says.
Stop your crying.
Do not shed tears,
because your work will be rewarded, declares the Lord.
They will return from the land of the enemy.
17There is hope for your future, declares the Lord.
Your children will return to their own borders.
18I have certainly heard Ephraim grieving:
“You have disciplined me.
I was disciplined like an untrained calf.
Cause me to turn, and I will turn,
because you are the Lord my God.
19After I turned away, I was sorry.
After I was instructed, I slapped my thigh in grief.
I was ashamed and humiliated,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”
20Isn’t Ephraim my dear son?
Isn’t he my darling child?
I often speak against him,
but I still remember him.
My heart longs for him.
I will certainly be compassionate to him, declares the Lord.
1 Peter 4:12-19
12Dear 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.
13After 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.”