Friday evening December 18

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Opening response

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
creator of light and darkness,
to you be glory and praise forever.
As evening falls, you renew your promise
to reveal among us the light of your presence.
May your word be a lantern to our feet
and a light upon our path
that we may behold your coming among us.
Strengthen us in our stumbling weakness
and free our tongues to sing your praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


In the Midst Do Thou Appear

Charles Wesley
In the midst do thou appear,
Lord, reveal thy presence here!
Sanctify us now, and bless;
Breathe thy Spirit, give thy peace.

While we walk with God in light,
God our hearts doth still unite,
Sweetly each with each combined
In the bonds of duty joined.

Father, still our faith increase:
Cleanse from all unrighteousness,
Thee the unholy cannot see;
Make, oh make us meet for thee!

Mutual love the token be,
Lord, that we belong to thee,
Only love to us be given,
Lord we ask no other heaven.

Confession of sin

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing.
Because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Holy God,
Holy and strong,
Holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.

Let my whole being bless the Lord.
Let everything inside me bless his holy name.

Let my whole being bless the Lord,
and never forget all his good deeds.

The Word of God

Psalm 49

Happy are those who trust in the Lord.

Listen to this, all you people!
    Listen closely, all you citizens of the world—
    people of every kind,
    rich and poor alike!
My mouth speaks wisdom;
    my heart’s meditation is full of insight.
I will pay close attention to a proverb;
    I will explain my riddle on the lyre.

Why should I be afraid in times of trouble,
    when the wrongdoing of my bullies engulfs me—
        those people who trust in their fortunes
        and boast of their fantastic wealth?
Wealth? It can’t save a single person!
    It can’t pay a life’s ransom-price to God.
The price to save someone’s life is too high—
    wealth will never be enough—
        no one can live forever
        without experiencing the pit.

Everyone knows that the wise die too,
    just like foolish and stupid people do,
        all of them leaving their fortunes to others.
Their graves are their eternal homes,
    the place they live for all generations,
        even if they had counties named after them!
People won’t live any longer because of wealth;
    they’re just like the animals that pass away.

That’s how it goes for those who are foolish,
    as well as for those who follow their lead, pleased with their talk.
Like sheep, they’re headed straight for the grave.
    Death will be their shepherd—
    but those who do right in their hearts will rule over them come morning!—
    their forms wasting away in the grave
    rather than having some dignified residence.
But God will save my life from the power of the grave,
    because he will take me. 

Don’t be overly impressed when someone becomes rich,
    their house swelling to fantastic proportions,
    because when they die, they won’t take any of it with them.
    Their fantastic things won’t accompany them down under.
Though they consider themselves blessed during their lives,
    and even thank you when you deal well with them,
    they too will join the ancestors who’ve gone ahead;
    they too will never see the light again.
Wealthy people? They just don’t understand;
    they’re just like the animals
    that pass away.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Happy are those who trust in the Lord.

Psalm prayer

Save us from envy, God our Redeemer,
and deliver us from the chains of wealth,
that, ransomed through your Son,
we may inherit the crown of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 51:17-23

Wake yourself, wake yourself!
    Rise up, Jerusalem,
    who drank the cup of wrath from the Lord’s hand.
    You drank; you drained the goblet of reeling.
    There’s no one to guide her among all the children she bore;
    there’s no one to take her by the hand among all the children she raised.
These two things have happened to you—
    Who will be sorry for you?—
        destruction and devastation,
        famine and sword—
    who will comfort you?
Your children passed out;
    they lay at the head of every street like antelope in a net,
    filled with the Lord’s wrath,
    with the rebuke of your God.

Therefore, hear this, suffering one,
    who is drunk, but not from wine.
The Lord, your Lord and your God,
    who contends for his people, says:
    Look, I have taken the cup of reeling,
    the goblet of my wrath, from your hand.
    You will no longer drink from it.
I will put it in the hand of your tormentors,
    who said to you,
    “Lie down so that we can walk on you.
    Make your back like the ground,
    like a street for those walking on it.”

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
2 Thessalonians 3

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us so that the Lord’s message will spread quickly and be honored, just like it happened with you. Pray too that we will be rescued from inappropriate and evil people since everyone that we meet won’t respond with faith. But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and protect you from the evil one. We are confident about you in the Lord—that you are doing and will keep doing what we tell you to do. May the Lord lead your hearts to express God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

Brothers and sisters, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to stay away from every brother or sister who lives an undisciplined life that is not in line with the traditions that you received from us. You yourselves know how you need to imitate us because we were not undisciplined when we were with you. We didn’t eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, we worked night and day with effort and hard work so that we would not impose on you. We did this to give you an example to imitate, not because we didn’t have a right to insist on financial support. Even when we were with you we were giving you this command: “If anyone doesn’t want to work, they shouldn’t eat.” We hear that some of you are living an undisciplined life. They aren’t working, but they are meddling in other people’s business. By the Lord Jesus Christ, we command and encourage such people to work quietly and put their own food on the table. Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right. Take note of anyone who doesn’t obey what we have said in this letter. Don’t associate with them so they will be ashamed of themselves. Don’t treat them like enemies, but warn them like you would do for a brother or sister.

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. This verifies that the letter is from me, as in every letter of mine. This is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy, 
just as he promised to our ancestors, 
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.

Luke 1:46-55

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

Brief silence

The Apostle’s Creed

Let us unite in this historic confession of the Christian faith:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Thanksgiving and intercession

Thanksgiving may be made for the day.
Intercessions are offered
for peace
for individuals and their needs


Lord, hear your people
and answer our prayers.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Savior taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


May the Lord, when he comes,
find us watching and waiting.