“It will lead to the place where Christ was born, rise up shepherd and follow…”
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth.
Prayer Rev. Enock de Assis
Dear God, our journey through life is long and hard. We cannot make this trip alone; we must walk together on the journey. You promised to send us a helper, your Spirit. Help us to see your Spirit in those you send to journey with us.
In the refugee family, seeking safety from violence, Let us see your Spirit.
In the migrant worker, bringing food to our tables, Let us see your Spirit.
In the asylum seeker, seeking justice for himself and his family, Let us see your Spirit.
In the unaccompanied child, traveling in a dangerous world, Let us see your Spirit.
Teach us to recognize that as we walk with each other, you are present. Teach us to welcome not only the strangers in our midst but the gifts they bring as well: the invitation to conversion, communion, and solidarity This is the help you have sent: we are not alone. We are together on the journey, and for this we give you thanks. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Our God Was a Refugee, by Joel Payne. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Matthew 2:13-23
13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID-19 and by its side effects in our world. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day, for Denie and her husband Francisco, who is home from the hospital after over a month; for Susan Smith’s brother-in-law John, who is still hospitalized with the virus after six weeks and in poor condition, and for Susan’s sister, who can’t visit him; for Delphine Zarsky’s niece’s family; for Brandon Jantzen and his family; for David Lewallen’s son-in-law; for Debbie Battisse-Kleinman, pastor of the Indian Presbyterian Church in Livingston, and her family; and for Rev. Scott Harbison, pastor of St. Luke’s Presbyterian; and for Lizzie Downs. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Pray today for those who have come here from other countries, whether easily or with difficulty, that they would find not only refuge but the true security and prosperity that they need. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the love of the Creator
The joy of the Spirit
And the peace of the Christ-child
Be with you this Christmas, and evermore. Amen.
Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.