Thursday morning December 21

Friday morning
Wednesday 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.


Blest Be Our Everlasting Lord

Charles Wesley

Blest be our everlasting Lord,
Our Father, God, and King!
Thy sovereign goodness we record,
Thy glorious power we sing.

By thee the victory is given:
The majesty divine,
Wisdom and might, and earth and heaven,
And all therein are thine.

The kingdom, Lord, is thine alone,
Who dost thy right maintain,
And high on thine eternal throne,
Over men and angels reign.

Riches, as seemeth good to thee,
Thou dost, and honor give;
And kings their power and dignity
Out of thy hand receive.

Thou hast on us the grace bestowed,
Thy greatness to proclaim;
And therefore now thank we our God,
And praise thy glorious name.

Thy glorious name, thy nature’s powers,
Thou hast to man made known;
And all the Deity is ours,
Through thy incarnate Son.

Confession of sin

When we cry out to the Lord in our distress,
he will save us from our desperate circumstances.

God will bring us out of darkness
and out of the shadow of death.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

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

May the Father forgive us
by the death of his Son
and strengthen us
to live in the power of the Spirit
all our days.

Let us thank the Lord for his faithful love,
and his wondrous works for all people.

Let us offer thanksgiving sacrifices
and declare what God has done in songs of joy.

cf Psalm 107

The Word of God

Psalm 121

The Lord will protect you from all evil.

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
    Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.
God won’t let your foot slip.
    Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job.
No! Israel’s protector
    never sleeps or rests!
The Lord is your protector;
    the Lord is your shade right beside you.
The sun won’t strike you during the day;
    neither will the moon at night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
    God will protect your very life.
The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
    whether going or coming—
    from now until forever from now.

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.

The Lord will protect you from all evil.

Psalm prayer

Lord, ever watchful and faithful,
we look to you to be our defense
and we lift our hearts to know your help;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 122

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of heavenly forces!

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let’s go to the Lord’s house!”
Now our feet are standing
    in your gates, Jerusalem!
Jerusalem is built like a city
    joined together in unity.
That is where the tribes go up—
    the Lord’s tribes!
It is the law for Israel
    to give thanks there to the Lord’s name,
    because the thrones of justice are there—
    the thrones of the house of David!
Pray that Jerusalem has peace:
    “Let those who love you have rest.
    Let there be peace on your walls;
    let there be rest on your fortifications.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I say, “Peace be with you, Jerusalem.”
For the sake of the Lord our God’s house
    I will pray for your good.

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.

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of heavenly forces!

Psalm prayer

God of our pilgrimage,
bring us with joy to the eternal city
founded on the rock,
and give to our earthly cities
the peace that comes from above;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 123

Our eyes attend to the Lord our God.

I raise my eyes to you—
    you who rule heaven.
Just as the eyes of servants attend to their masters’ hand,
    just as the eyes of a female servant attends to her mistress’ hand—
    that’s how our eyes attend to the Lord our God
    until he has mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, Lord! Have mercy
    because we’ve had more than enough shame.
We’ve had more than enough mockery from the self-confident,
    more than enough shame from the proud.

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.

Our eyes attend to the Lord our God.

Psalm prayer

Sovereign God, enthroned in the heavens,
look upon us with your eyes of mercy,
as we look on you with humility and love,
and fill our souls with your peace
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Silence may be kept.

Old Testament reading
Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

The Lord’s word that came to Zephaniah, Cushi’s son, Gedaliah’s grandson, Amariah’s great-grandson, and Hezekiah’s great-great-grandson in the days of Judah’s King Josiah, Amon’s son.

I will wipe out everything from the earth, says the Lord.
        I will destroy humanity and the beasts;
        I will destroy the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea.
        I will make the wicked into a heap of ruins;
        I will eliminate humanity from the earth, says the Lord.

I will stretch out my hand against Judah
        and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will eliminate what’s left of Baal from this place
        and the names of the priests of foreign gods,
        those bowing down to the forces of heaven on the rooftops,
            those swearing by the Lord along with those swearing by Milcom,
        those turning away from the Lord,
            those who don’t seek the Lord and don’t pursue him.

Hush before the Lord God,
        for the day of the Lord is near!
        The Lord has established a sacrifice;
            he has made holy those he has summoned.
On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
        I will punish the princes, the king’s sons,
            and all those wearing foreign clothes.
I will punish the one leaping on the threshold on that day,
            those filling the house of their master with violence and deceit.
On that day—says the Lord—
        an outcry will resound from the Fish Gate,
        wailing from the second quarter,
        a loud crash from the hills.
The ones who grind the grain will wail;
        all the merchants will be silenced.
        I will eliminate all those weighing out silver.
At that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps;
        I will punish the men growing fat on the sediment in their wine,
            those saying to themselves, The Lord won’t do good or evil.
        Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed.
        They will rebuild houses, but not live in them;
        they will plant vineyards, but not drink the wine.
The great day of the Lord is near;
        it is near and coming very quickly.
The sound of the day of the Lord is bitter.
        A warrior screams there.
That day is a day of fury,
        a day of distress and anxiety,
        a day of desolation and devastation,
        a day of darkness and gloominess,
        a day of clouds and deep darkness,
        a day for blowing the trumpet and alarm against their invincible cities
            and against their high towers.
I will make humanity suffer;
            they will walk like the blind
            because they sinned against the Lord.
        Their blood will be poured out like dust
        and their intestines like manure.
Moreover, their silver and their gold won’t be able to deliver them
        on the day of the Lord’s fury.
His jealousy will devour the entire land with fire;
        he will make an end,
            a truly horrible one,
        for all the inhabitants of the land.

Gather together and assemble yourselves, shameless nation,
        before the decision is made—the day vanishes like chaff—
            before the burning anger of the Lord comes against you,
            before the day of the Lord’s anger comes against you.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land who practice his justice;
        seek righteousness;
        seek humility.
        Maybe you will be hidden on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 17:22-27

When the disciples came together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Human One is about to be delivered over into human hands. They will kill him. But he will be raised on the third day.” And they were heartbroken.

When they came to Capernaum, the people who collected the half-shekel temple tax came to Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

“Yes,” he said.

But when they came into the house, Jesus spoke to Peter first.“What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect taxes, from their children or from strangers?”

“From strangers,” he said.

Jesus said to him, “Then the children don’t have to pay. But just so we don’t offend them, go to the lake, throw out a fishing line and hook, and take the first fish you catch. When you open its mouth, you will find a shekel coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

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.


In faith we pray
We pray to you, our God.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

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.