On the first Sunday of Christmas we find the boy Samuel and the boy Jesus, both in the temple, both growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and humankind. We too have returned to the house of God “to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God,” who has gifted us with a savior. As the festival continues, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” It is Christmas, still.
Prayer of the Day
Shine into our hearts the light of your wisdom, O God, and open our minds to the knowledge of your word, that in all things we may think and act according to your good will and may live continually in the light of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Having dedicated her son Samuel to God’s service, Hannah visits him every year when she and her husband, Elkanah, come to the Lord’s house to offer sacrifices. God grants Hannah more children, and Samuel himself gains favor in the sight of all.
18Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the Lord”; and then they would return to their home.
26Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.
Psalm: Psalm 148
The splendor of the Lord is over earth and heaven. (Ps. 148:13)
1Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise God in the heights. 2Praise the Lord, all you angels; sing praise, all you hosts of heaven. 3Praise the Lord, sun and moon; sing praise, all you shining stars. 4Praise the Lord, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens. 5Let them praise the name of the Lord, who commanded, and they were created, 6who made them stand fast forever and ever, giving them a law that shall not pass away. 7Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps; 8fire and hail, snow and fog, tempestuous wind, doing God’s will; 9mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars; 10wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds; 11sovereigns of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world; 12young men and maidens, old and young together. 13Let them praise the name of the Lord, whose name only is exalted, whose splendor is over earth and heaven. 14The Lord has raised up strength for the people and praise for all faithful servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near the Lord. Hallelujah!
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17
Just as newly baptized Christians in the early church were clothed with white robes upon arising from the baptismal waters, so all who have received God’s gift of life in Jesus Christ are covered with the character of Christ.
12As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
Jesus grew up in a family that went to the Passover festival each year. It was in this environment of faithful adherence to the law that Jesus grew into spiritual maturity and an understanding of his identity and mission.
41Now every year [Jesus’] parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he said to them. 51Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.