Luke 2:22-40 – My eyes have seen your salvation

LUKE 2:22-40

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 
29  “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, 
          according to your word; 
30  for my eyes have seen your salvation, 
31       which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 
32   a light for revelation to the Gentiles 
          and for glory to your people Israel.”

33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed — and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Where have your eyes seen the salvation of the God?
  • What wisdom does this bring to you?
  • What favor of God do you feel upon you?
  • Share your praise and thanksgiving with God.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 31, 2017, the First Sunday after Christmas Year B 
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148:1-14
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD


Galatians 4: Abba! Father!

GALATIANS 4:4-7

4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How does God show God’s adoption of you?
  • What name for God do you cry aloud?
  • What inheritance will be given to you?
  • What hope is promised to you in this inheritance?
  • What hope is promised to the world in this inheritance?
  • What name does God call you as a child of God?
  • What does God call you to do?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below?

 

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 31, 2017, the First Sunday after Christmas Year B 
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148:1-14
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 148 His glory is above earth and heaven


PSALM 148:1-14

1   Praise the Lord! 
     Praise the Lord from the heavens; 
          praise him in the heights! 
2   Praise him, all his angels; 
          praise him, all his host!

3   Praise him, sun and moon; 
          praise him, all you shining stars! 
4   Praise him, you highest heavens, 
          and you waters above the heavens!

5   Let them praise the name of the Lord, 
          for he commanded and they were created. 
6   He established them forever and ever; 
          he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7   Praise the Lord from the earth, 
          you sea monsters and all deeps, 
8   fire and hail, snow and frost, 
          stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9   Mountains and all hills, 
          fruit trees and all cedars! 
10  Wild animals and all cattle, 
          creeping things and flying birds!

11  Kings of the earth and all peoples, 
          princes and all rulers of the earth! 
12  Young men and women alike, 
          old and young together!

13  Let them praise the name of the Lord, 
          for his name alone is exalted; 
          his glory is above earth and heaven. 
14  He has raised up a horn for his people, 
          praise for all his faithful, 
          for the people of Israel who are close to him. 
     Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What praise in Psalm 148 resonates with you?
  • What part of your body seems to be rejoicing?
  • Allow this sense of rejoicing to grow within you.
  • What name of the Lord comes to your lips.
  • Praise the name of the Lord.
  • Give thanks to God for this time of rejoicing and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 31, 2017, the First Sunday after Christmas Year B 
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148:1-14
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Isaiah 61-62: Garments of Salvation

ISAIAH 61:10-62:3

61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11  For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
2   The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3   You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What righteousness has the Lord God caused in you?
  • Allow this righteousness to permeate your mind and your body.
  • As you focus on this righteousness, let go of anything keeping you from God.
  • Allow the righteousness to be come a garment of salvation.
  • What righteousness has the Lord God caused in the world?
  • How do you help this righteousness shine in the world?
  • What part of the world needs to be touched by the Lord God?
  • How is God calling you to be a servant to this place?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 31, 2017, the First Sunday after Christmas Year B 
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148:1-14
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Christmas – Psalm 98:1-9 – Let the hills sing together for joy

PSALM 98:1-9

1   O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gained him victory.
2   The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3   He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

4   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5   Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6   With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

7   Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8   Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
9   at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • God has fulfilled God’s promise to humanity.
  • What joy arises in you?
  • What joy arises in the earth?
  • How does creation dance with you?
  • Spend time in nature today seeing, hearing, feeling, sensing how creation sings forth the joy of the Lord.
  • What do you notice within you as you experience the joy of creation?
  • How do you experience the new birth of Christ again?
  • Give thanks to God for joy in creation and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 25, 2011, the Nativity of Jesus Christ Year B 
Isaiah 52: 7-10
Psalm 98:1-9
Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)
John 1:1-14

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Christmas – Isaiah 52: 7-10 He has redeemed Jerusalem

ISAIAH 52:7-10

7   How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8   Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9   Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10  The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, what peace do you realize?
  • Someone has news to share with you.
  • What peace is announced?
  • What song arises within you?
  • What comfort blankets you?
  • What salvation do you see?
  • What message does God have for you in this peace?
  • What message does God have for the world in this peace?
  • Give thanks to God for this new sense of peace and for any new insights you have been given.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 25, 2017, the Nativity of Jesus Christ Year B 
Isaiah 52: 7-10
Psalm 98:1-9
Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)
John 1:1-14

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Christmas at Dawn – Joy to the World

ISAIAH 62:6-12

6   Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have posted sentinels;
all day and all night
they shall never be silent.
You who remind the Lord,
take no rest,
7   and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it renowned throughout the earth.
8   The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink the wine
for which you have labored;
9   but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in my holy courts.

10  Go through, go through the gates,
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
clear it of stones,
lift up an ensign over the peoples.
11  The Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
“See, your salvation comes;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12  They shall be called, “The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord”;
and you shall be called, “Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.”

PSALM 97:1-12

1   The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
2   Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3   Fire goes before him,
and consumes his adversaries on every side.
4   His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5   The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6   The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
and all the peoples behold his glory.
7   All worshipers of images are put to shame,
those who make their boast in worthless idols;
all gods bow down before him.
8   Zion hears and is glad,
and the towns of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgements, O God.
9   For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

10  The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful;
he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11  Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

SECOND READING TITUS 3:4-7

4But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

GOSPEL LUKE 2:(1-7) 8-20

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Imagine you are a shepherd keeping watch over the flock at night.
  • The angels appear and share the good news: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
    14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
  • What do you feel in your body when you hear this message?
  • What part of you is leading toward the manger?
  • What mercy does the Christ child extend to you as you move toward the manger?
  • Savor the mercy of the Christ child.
  • Know that you are loved.
  • What message does God have for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to move toward the manger, to share the good news, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

     

    If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
    Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
    (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) – Jesus is born for you, for us, for the world

Mary and Joseph kneel at the crib of the infant Christ in this detail of an icon from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Dec. 25 Christmas feast commemorates the birth of Christ. The Christmas season begins with the Dec. 24 evening vigil and ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 13 in 2008. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill) (Nov. 27, 2007)

Gospel Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes inviting the light of the candle to guide you.
  • Treasure these words:
  • Do not be afraid.
  • I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.
  • To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
  • This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
  • Like Mary, ponder these words in your heart.
  • Jesus is born this day for you.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 24, 2017,  Christmas Eve Year B 

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Titus 2:11-14 – The Manifestation of the Glory

Joyful Mystery by Jim Janknegt.

Titus 2:11-14

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes embracing the great light that shines before you.
  • As the birth of Jesus draws near, notice what arises in you.
  • Is there excitement?  Is there anxiety?  Perhaps both?
  • Hold all of these feelings before you as you consider who God chose to be born into the world in this way.
  • God chose to come into the world to free us from the things that don’t last: impiety and worldly passions.
  • Look at the feelings you are holding.  What impiety and worldly passion are you ready to let go?
  • In the new space created in the letting go, what new life does God have for you?
  • How do you desire for this new creation to be born?
  • How do you desire to give glory to God for the hope of this new creation?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 24, 2017,  Christmas Eve Year B 

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

PSALM 96:1-13 – He is coming to love the earth

PSALM 96:1-13

1   O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2   Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3   Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4   For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
5   For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6   Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7   Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8   Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9   Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth.

10  Say among the nations, “The LORD is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
11  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12       let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13       before the LORD; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes embracing the great light that shines before you.
  • Worship the Lord in holy splendor.
  • Let a new song arise within you.
  • He is coming.
  • He is coming to love the earth.
  • Sing for joy!
  • What truth arises within you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 24, 2017,  Christmas Eve Year B 

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings
(c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD