Monday morning December 11

Tuesday morning
Sunday morning


Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.

Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and forever.


Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Confession of sin

Seek the Lord when he can still be found;
call him while he is yet near.
Let the wicked abandon their ways
and the sinful their schemes.
Let them return to the Lord so that he may have mercy on them,
to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness.

cf Isaiah 55

A time of silence and self-examination may be kept.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have committed evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your faithful love.
Wash us completely clean of our guilt; purify us from our sin.
Put a new, faithful spirit deep inside us,
and return the joy of your salvation to us
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Psalm 51

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bless the Lord,
because he has listened to our request for mercy.
Therefore our hearts will rejoice
and we will thank him with our song.

cf Psalm 28:7,9

The Word of God

Psalm 44

We glory in God at all times.

We have heard it, God, with our own ears;
    our ancestors told us about it:
        about the deeds you did in their days,
        in days long past.
You, by your own hand, removed all the nations,
        but you planted our ancestors.
    You crushed all the peoples,
        but you set our ancestors free.
No, not by their own swords
    did they take possession of the land—
        their own arms didn’t save them.
    No, it was your strong hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face
        because you were pleased with them.
It’s you, God! You who are my king,
    the one who orders salvation for Jacob.
We’ve pushed our foes away by your help;
    we’ve trampled our enemies by your name.
No, I won’t trust in my bow;
    my sword won’t save me
    because it’s you who saved us from our foes,
    you who put those who hate us to shame.
So we glory in God at all times
    and give thanks to your name forever. 
But now you’ve rejected and humiliated us.
    You no longer accompany our armies.
You make us retreat from the enemy;
    our adversaries plunder us.
You’ve handed us over like sheep for butchering;
    you’ve scattered us among the nations.
You’ve sold your people for nothing,
    not even bothering to set a decent price.
You’ve made us a joke to all our neighbors;
    we’re mocked and ridiculed by everyone around us.
You’ve made us a bad joke to the nations,
    something to be laughed at by all peoples.
All day long my disgrace confronts me,
    and shame covers my face
    because of the voices of those
    who make fun of me and bad-mouth me,
        because of the enemy who is out for revenge.
All this has come upon us,
    but we haven’t forgotten you
    or broken your covenant.
Our hearts haven’t turned away,
    neither have our steps strayed from your way.
But you’ve crushed us in the place where jackals live,
    covering us with deepest darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread out our hands to some strange deity,
wouldn’t God have discovered it?
    After all, God knows every secret of the heart.
No, God, it’s because of you that we are getting killed every day—
    it’s because of you that we are considered sheep ready for slaughter.
Wake up! Why are you sleeping, Lord?
    Get up! Don’t reject us forever!
Why are you hiding your face,
    forgetting our suffering and oppression?
Look: we’re going down to the dust;
    our stomachs are flat on the ground!
Stand up! Help us!
    Save us for the sake of your faithful love.

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.

We glory in God at all times.

Psalm prayer

In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent,
draw near to us, O God,
in Christ forsaken,
in Christ risen,
our Redeemer and our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 30:1-18

Doom to you, rebellious children, says the Lord,
    who make a plan, which is not mine;
    who weave a plot, but not by my spirit,
        piling up sin on sin;
    setting out to go down to Egypt without consulting me,
    taking refuge in Pharaoh’s refuge and hiding in Egypt’s shadow.
Pharaoh’s refuge will become your shame,
    hiding in Egypt’s shadow your disgrace.
Though their officials are in Zoan,
    and their messengers reach Hanes,
    all will become shamed because of a people who can’t assist them.
They are no help; they are no profit;
    rather, shame and disgrace.
An oracle about the beasts in the arid southern plain.

Through a land of distress and danger,
    lioness and roaring lion, viper and flying serpent,
    they will carry their wealth on donkeys’ shoulders
    and their treasures on camels’ humps to a people who won’t profit,
        for Egypt’s help is utterly worthless.
Therefore, I call her Rahab Who Sits Still.
Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
    inscribe it on a scroll,
    so in the future it will endure as a witness.
These are rebellious people, lying children,
    children unwilling to hear the Lord’s teaching,
    who say to the seers, “Don’t foresee,”
    and to the visionaries, “Don’t report truthful visions;
        tell us flattering things;
        envision deceptions;
        get out of the way;
        step off the path;
        let’s have no more ‘holy one of Israel.’”
Therefore, the holy one of Israel says:

Because you reject this word
    and trust in oppression and cunning and rely on them,
    your sin will be like a crack in a high wall; it bulges, about to fall:
    suddenly, in an instant, it breaks!
Its breaking is like the breaking of a storage jar
    that is totally shattered.
No piece from among its fragments will be large enough to take fire from a hearth,
    or to dip water from a cistern.
Therefore, the Lord God,
    the holy one of Israel, says:
In return and rest you will be saved;
    quietness and trust will be your strength—
    but you refused.
You said,
“No! We’ll flee on horses”—
    therefore, you will indeed flee—
    “and we’ll ride off; on swift steeds we will ride”—
    therefore, your pursuers will be swift.
One thousand will flee at the threat of one,
    and at the threat of five you will flee,
    until you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a flag on a hill.
Nonetheless, the Lord is waiting to be merciful to you,
    and will rise up to show you compassion.
The Lord is a God of justice;
    happy are all who wait for him.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 14:1-12

At that time Herod the ruler heard the news about Jesus. He said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He’s been raised from the dead. This is why these miraculous powers are at work through him.” Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother Philip.

That’s because John told Herod, “It’s against the law for you to marry her.”

Although Herod wanted to kill him, he feared the crowd because they thought John was a prophet. But at Herod’s birthday party Herodias’ daughter danced in front of the guests and thrilled Herod. Then he swore to give her anything she asked.

At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a plate.” Although the king was upset, because of his solemn pledge and his guests he commanded that they give it to her. Then he had John beheaded in prison. They brought his head on a plate and gave it to the young woman, and she brought it to her mother. But John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

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.

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

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.


Intercession and thanksgiving

Prayers may be offered for:

the day and its tasks
the world and its needs
the church and her life

Prayers may include the following concerns:

The church, that she may be ready for the coming of Christ
The leaders of the church
The nations, that they may be subject to the rule of God
Those who are working for justice in the world
The broken, that they may find God’s healing

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


Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succor us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, 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.