The thoughts, reflections and musings of an average Church of England Priest
Sunday, 29 December 2013
The First Sunday of Christmas -2013
I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of theLord, because of all that theLordhas done for us, and the great favour to the house of Israel that he has shown them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. For he said, ‘Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely’; and he became their saviour in all their distress. It was no messengeror angel but his presence that saved them in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Praise the Lord!
Praise theLordfrom the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.
It was fitting that God,for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.For this reason Jesusis not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,saying,
‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’
And again, ‘I will put my trust in him.’
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Josephgot up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation,Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’Then Josephgot up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’
who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home: