Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(This Collect is to be repeated every day after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Eve.)

Psalm 119:1–24

The Glories of God’s Law

Happy are those whose way is blameless,
 who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
 who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
 but walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts
 to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
 in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
 having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
 when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
 do not utterly forsake me.

How can young people keep their way pure?
 By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
 do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
 so that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
 teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
 all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees
 as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts,
 and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
 I will not forget your word.

Deal bountifully with your servant,
 so that I may live and observe your word.
Open my eyes, so that I may behold
 wondrous things out of your law.
I live as an alien in the land;
 do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
 for your ordinances at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
 who wander from your commandments;
take away from me their scorn and contempt,
 for I have kept your decrees.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
 your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your decrees are my delight,
 they are my counsellors.

Isaiah 2:1–11

The Future House of God

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come
 the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
 and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
 Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
 to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
 and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
 and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
 and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
 and their spears into pruning–hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
 neither shall they learn war any more.

Judgement Pronounced on Arrogance

O house of Jacob,
 come, let us walk
 in the light of the Lord!
For you have forsaken the ways of your people,
 O house of Jacob.
Indeed they are full of diviners from the east
 and of soothsayers like the Philistines,
 and they clasp hands with foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
 and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
 and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
 they bow down to the work of their hands,
 to what their own fingers have made.
And so people are humbled,
 and everyone is brought low—
 do not forgive them!
Enter into the rock,
 and hide in the dust
from the terror of the Lord,
 and from the glory of his majesty.
The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low,
 and the pride of everyone shall be humbled;
and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

I Thessalonians 2:13–20

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

Paul’s Desire to Visit the Thessalonians Again

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!

St. Luke 20:19–26

When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

The Question about Paying Taxes

So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?’ They said, ‘The emperor’s.’ He said to them, ‘Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.

A Story for the Day

Learn how a Jesus Well transformed Suhana and her family's life.

Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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