Friday evening December 23

Saturday evening
Thursday evening


Opening response

Favor us, Lord, and deliver us.
Lord, come quickly and 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.

That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful,
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,
so may your mercy come down upon us
to cleanse our hearts
and set us free to sing your praise
now and forever.


O thou whom we adore

Charles Wesley
O thou whom we adore!
To bless our earth again,
Assume thine own almighty power,
And over the nations reign.

The world’s desire and hope,
All power to thee is given;
Now set the last great empire up,
Eternal Lord of heaven!

A gracious Savior, thou,
Wilt all thy creatures bless;
And every knee to thee shall bow,
And every tongue confess.

According to thy word;
Now be thy grace revealed;
And with the knowledge of the Lord,
Let all the earth be filled.

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 89:1-37

Truly the Lord is our shield.

I will sing of the Lord’s loyal love forever.
    I will proclaim your faithfulness
    with my own mouth
    from one generation to the next.
That’s why I say,
    “Your loyal love is rightly built—forever!
    You establish your faithfulness in heaven.”
You said, “I made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I promised my servant David:
    ‘I will establish your offspring forever;
    I will build up your throne from one generation to the next.’”

Heaven thanks you for your wondrous acts, Lord—
    for your faithfulness too—
    in the assembly of the holy ones.
Is there any in the sky who could compare to the Lord?
    Who among the gods is equal to the Lord?
God is respected in the council of the holy ones;
    God is awesome and revered more than all those around him.
Who is like you, Lord God of heavenly forces?
    Mighty Lord, your faithfulness surrounds you!
You rule over the surging sea:
    When its waves rise up,
    it’s you who makes them still.
It’s you who crushed Rahab like a dead body;
    you scattered your enemies with your strong arm.
Heaven is yours! The earth too!
    The world and all that fills it—
    you made all of it! North and south—you created them!
    The mountains Tabor and Hermon
    shout praises to your name.
You have a powerful arm;
    your hand is strong;
    your strong hand is raised high!
Your throne is built on righteousness and justice;
    loyal love and faithfulness stand in front of you.

The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy!
    They walk in the light of your presence, Lord!
They rejoice in your name all day long
    and are uplifted by your righteousness
    because you are the splendor of their strength.
By your favor you make us strong
    because our shield is the Lord’s own;
    our king belongs to the holy one of Israel!

Once you spoke in a vision
    to your faithful servants:
I placed a crown on a strong man.
    I raised up someone specially chosen from the people.
I discovered my servant David.
    I anointed him with my holy oil.
My hand will sustain him—
    yes, my arm will strengthen him!
No enemy will oppress him;
    no wicked person will make him suffer.
I will crush all his foes in front of him.
    I will strike down all those who hate him.
My faithfulness and my loyal love will be with him.
    He will be strengthened by my name.
I will set his hand on the sea.
    I will set his strong hand on the rivers.
He will cry out to me:
    “You are my father,
    my God, the rock of my salvation.”
Yes, I’ll make him the one born first—
    I’ll make him the high king of all earth’s kings.
I will always guard my loyal love toward him.
    My covenant with him will last forever.
I will establish his dynasty for all time.
    His throne will last as long as heaven does.
But if his children ever abandon my Instruction,
    stop following my rules—
        if they treat my statutes like dirt,
        stop keeping my commandments—
    then I will punish their sin with a stick,
        and I will punish their wrongdoing with a severe beating.
But even then I won’t withdraw my loyal love from him.
    I won’t betray my faithfulness.
    I won’t break my covenant.
    I won’t renege on what crossed my lips.
By my own holiness I’ve sworn one thing:
    I will not lie to David.
    His dynasty will last forever.
    His throne will be like the sun, always before me.
    It will be securely established forever;
    like the moon, a faithful witness in the sky.  

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.

Truly the Lord is our shield.

Psalm prayer

As we sing of your love, O Lord,
anoint us with the Spirit’s seal,
that we may praise your faithfulness
and proclaim your truth from age to age;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Nahum 1

An oracle about Nineveh: the scroll containing the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

The Lord is a jealous and vengeful God;
        the Lord is vengeful and strong in wrath.
    The Lord is vengeful against his foes;
        he rages against his enemies.
The Lord is very patient but great in power;
        the Lord punishes.
    His way is in whirlwind and storm;
        clouds are the dust of his feet.
He can blast the sea and make it dry up;
        he can dry up all the rivers.
    Bashan and Carmel wither;
        the bud of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake because of him;
        the hills melt away.
The earth heaves before him—
        the world and all who dwell in it.
Who can stand before his indignation?
        Who can confront the heat of his fury?
    His wrath pours out like fire;
        the rocks are shattered because of him.
The Lord is good,
        a haven in a day of distress.
    He acknowledges those who take refuge in him.
With a rushing flood, he will utterly destroy her place
        and pursue his enemies into darkness.

What are you plotting against the Lord?
        He is one who can annihilate!
        Distress will not arise twice.
They are tangled up like thorns,
        like drunkards in their cups.
    They are consumed like stubble
        that is entirely dried up.
From you goes out
        one who plots evil against the Lord—
            a worthless counselor!

The Lord proclaims:
Though once they were a healthy and numerous force,
        they have been cut off and have disappeared.
I have afflicted you;
        I won’t afflict you further, Zion.
Now I will break off his yoke from you
        and tear off your chains.

The Lord has commanded concerning you:
        You will have no children to carry on your name.
    I will remove carved idol and cast image from the house of your gods;
        I will make your grave, for you are worthless.
Look, on the mountains: the feet of a messenger who announces peace!
        Celebrate your festivals, Judah!
            Fulfill your solemn promises!
    The worthless one will never again invade you;
        he has been completely cut off.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 23:13-28

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You shut people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t enter yourselves, and you won’t allow those who want to enter to do so.

“How terrible it will be for you, legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make one convert. But when they’ve been converted, they become twice the child of hell you are.

“How terrible it will be for you blind guides who say, ‘If people swear by the temple, it’s nothing. But if people swear by the gold in the temple, they are obligated to do what they swore.’ You foolish and blind people! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold holy? You say, ‘If people swear by the altar, it’s nothing. But if they swear by the gift on the altar, they are obligated to do what they swore.’ You blind people! Which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? Therefore, those who swear by the altar swear by it and by everything that’s on it. Those who swear by the temple swear by it and by everything that’s part of it. Those who swear by heaven swear by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You give to God a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, but you forget about the more important matters of the Law: justice, peace, and faith. You ought to give a tenth but without forgetting about those more important matters. You blind guides! You filter out an ant but swallow a camel.

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside they are full of violence and pleasure seeking. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup so that the outside of the cup will be clean too.

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs. They look beautiful on the outside. But inside they are full of dead bones and all kinds of filth. In the same way you look righteous to people. But inside you are full of pretense and rebellion.

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

Other intercessions and supplications may be offered as the Holy Spirit leads.


Lord, hear your people
and answer our prayers.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our savior,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
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.