Saturday morning December 23

Sunday morning
Friday 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.


Partners of a glorious hope

Charles Wesley
Partners of a glorious hope,
Lift your hearts and voices up!
Nobly let us bear the strife,
Keep the holiness, of life;

Still forget the things behind,
Follow Christ in heart and mind,
To the mark unwearied press,
Seize the crown of righteousness.

Jesus, fill us with thy love,
Never from our souls remove,
Heart to heart unite and bless,
Keep us in thy perfect peace!

In our lives our faith be known,
Faith by holy actions shown;
Faith that mountains can remove,
Faith that always works by love.

Confession of sin

Let us admit to God the sin which always confronts us.

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

Almighty God,
patient and of great goodness:
I confess to you,
I confess with my whole heart
my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments,
my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking;
the hurts I have done to others,
and the good I have left undone.
O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;
and raise me to newness of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

The Word of God

Psalm 128

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord.

Everyone who honors the Lord,
        who walks in God’s ways, is truly happy!
You will definitely enjoy what you’ve worked hard for—
    you’ll be happy; and things will go well for you.
In your house, your wife will be like a vine full of fruit.
    All around your table, your children will be like olive trees, freshly planted.
That’s how it goes for anyone who honors the Lord:
    they will be blessed!
May the Lord bless you from Zion.
    May you experience Jerusalem’s goodness your whole life long.
    And may you see your grandchildren.
Peace be on Israel!

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 abundant is your goodness, O Lord.

Psalm prayer

O Christ, our true vine,
may we your branches
be ever fruitful in your service
and share your love and peace with all your children,
in the power of the Spirit and to the glory of the Father.

Psalm 129

The Lord ransoms the life of his servants.

From youth, people have constantly attacked me—
    let Israel now repeat!—
    from youth people have constantly attacked me—
    but they haven’t beaten me!
They plowed my back like farmers;
    they made their furrows deep.
But the Lord is righteous—
    God cut me free from the ropes of the wicked!

Let everyone who hates Zion be ashamed, thoroughly frustrated.
    Let them be like grass on a roof
    that dies before it can be pulled up,
    which won’t fill the reaper’s hand
        or fill the harvester’s arms.
Let no one who passes by say to them:
    “May the Lord’s blessing be on you!
        We bless you in the Lord’s name!”

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 ransoms the life of his servants.

Psalm prayer

Jesus our redeemer,
you bore the cut of the lash
for us and our salvation;
help us to bear our sufferings
and to share in the affliction
of all who suffer for your holy name.

Psalm 130

My whole being waits for my Lord.

I cry out to you from the depths, Lord—
my Lord, listen to my voice!
    Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy!
If you kept track of sins, Lord—
    my Lord, who would stand a chance?
But forgiveness is with you—
    that’s why you are honored.

I hope, Lord.
My whole being hopes,
    and I wait for God’s promise.
My whole being waits for my Lord—
    more than the night watch waits for morning;
    yes, more than the night watch waits for morning!

Israel, wait for the Lord!
    Because faithful love is with the Lord;
    because great redemption is with our God!
He is the one who will redeem Israel
    from all its sin.

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.

My whole being waits for my Lord.

Psalm prayer

Father, we commend to your faithful love
those who are crying from the depths;
help them to watch and pray
through their time of darkness,
in sure hope of the dawn of your
forgiveness and redemption;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 131

Israel, wait for the Lord.

Lord, my heart isn’t proud;
        my eyes aren’t conceited.
    I don’t get involved with things too great or wonderful for me.
No. But I have calmed and quieted myself
    like a weaned child on its mother;
    I’m like the weaned child that is with me.
Israel, wait for the Lord—
    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.

Israel, wait for the Lord.

Psalm prayer

Eternal God,
calm and quiet our souls;
keep us humble and full of wonder
and trusting as we live in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Silence may be kept.

Old Testament reading
Zephaniah 3:14-20

Rejoice, Daughter Zion! Shout, Israel!
        Rejoice and exult with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem.
The Lord has removed your judgment;
        he has turned away your enemy.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;
        you will no longer fear evil.
On that day, it will be said to Jerusalem:
        Don’t fear, Zion.
        Don’t let your hands fall.
The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory.
        He will create calm with his love;
        he will rejoice over you with singing.
        I will remove from you those worried about the appointed feasts.
        They have been a burden for her, a reproach.
Watch what I am about to do to all your oppressors at that time.
        I will deliver the lame;
        I will gather the outcast.
        I will change their shame into praise and fame throughout the earth.
At that time, I will bring all of you back,
        at the time when I gather you.
        I will give you fame and praise among all the neighboring peoples
            when I restore your possessions and you can see them—says the Lord.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 18:21-35

 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?”

Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle accounts, they brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. Because the servant didn’t have enough to pay it back, the master ordered that he should be sold, along with his wife and children and everything he had, and that the proceeds should be used as payment. But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan.

“When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins. He grabbed him around the throat and said, ‘Pay me back what you owe me.’

“Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt.

“When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt.

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

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.


Loving God, we look to you.
Receive our prayer.

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.