Sunday, December 31, 2017 First Sunday of Christmas Introduction
In the psalm all the natural world praises God, including all humanity, male and female, young and old. The voices of Simeon and 84-year-old Anna join the chorus today, recognizing what God is doing in Jesus. Simeon’s song is often sung after communion, for we have seen God’s salvation in the assembled community and have held Jesus in our hands in the bread. Then, like the prophet Anna, we speak of Jesus to all who look for the healing of the world.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and yet more wonderfully restored it. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of the one who came to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 61:10–62:3
To the people who returned to Jerusalem after the exile, the prophet proclaims that the Lord’s salvation will fully come to pass. Jerusalem will become a shining light to the nations and righteousness and praise will spring up as surely as the earth puts forth vegetation.
Psalm: Psalm 148
The splendor of the Lord is over earth and heaven. (Ps. 148:13)
Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7
Paul seeks to show the Galatians that the purpose of Christ’s birth was to liberate us from the law’s condemnation so that we would be fully adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters.
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Luke’s narrative continues with stories that emphasize Jesus’ connection to Judaism. His family is devout in its observance of the law, and Jesus himself is recognized as one who will bring glory to Israel.