Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Conclude with

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.

Psalm 55

Complaint about a Friend’s Treachery

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.

Give ear to my prayer, O God;
 do not hide yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and answer me;
 I am troubled in my complaint.
I am distraught by the noise of the enemy,
 because of the clamour of the wicked.
For they bring trouble upon me,
 and in anger they cherish enmity against me.

My heart is in anguish within me,
 the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
 and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove!
 I would fly away and be at rest;
truly, I would flee far away;
 I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter for myself
 from the raging wind and tempest.’

Confuse, O Lord, confound their speech;
 for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it
 on its walls,
and iniquity and trouble are within it;
 ruin is in its midst;
oppression and fraud
 do not depart from its market–place.

It is not enemies who taunt me—
 I could bear that;
it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me—
 I could hide from them.
But it is you, my equal,
 my companion, my familiar friend,
with whom I kept pleasant company;
 we walked in the house of God with the throng.
Let death come upon them;
 let them go down alive to Sheol;
 for evil is in their homes and in their hearts.

But I call upon God,
 and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
 I utter my complaint and moan,
 and he will hear my voice.
He will redeem me unharmed
 from the battle that I wage,
 for many are arrayed against me.
God, who is enthroned from of old, Selah
 will hear, and will humble them—
because they do not change,
 and do not fear God.

My companion laid hands on a friend
 and violated a covenant with me
with speech smoother than butter,
 but with a heart set on war;
with words that were softer than oil,
 but in fact were drawn swords.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
 and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
 the righteous to be moved.

But you, O God, will cast them down
 into the lowest pit;
the bloodthirsty and treacherous
 shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.

Isaiah 10:20–27a

The Repentant Remnant of Israel

On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in all the earth.

Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: O my people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they beat you with a rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. The Lord of hosts will wield a whip against them, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck.

St. Jude 17–25

Warnings and Exhortations

But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.’ It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.


Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.

St. Luke 3:1–9

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high–priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
 make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
 and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
 and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

Pray for Christmas Gifts

What do mosquito nets, water buffalo, sewing machines and outdoor toilets have in common? Each one meets profound needs for families in Asia and provides an opportunity for them to experience God’s even greater gift: His Son.

These items, and many other gifts found in GFA World’s Christmas Gift Catalog, demonstrate Christ’s love in tangible and practical ways. Some provide impoverished families with a source of income, while others help or by helping them gain a higher quality of life through better health and education. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, please join us in praying for these life-changing gifts.

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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