December 20


Genesis 49:8 – 10
Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; the children of your father and mother shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness — who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and the obedience of the peoples is his.
The scepter shall not depart from Judah until tribute comes to him.

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who shepherds the people
and sets them free.
God raises from David’s house
a child with power to save. --
--Through the holy prophets
God promised in ages past
to save us from enemy hands,
from the grip of all who hate us.
The Lord favored our ancestors
recalling the sacred covenant,
the pledge to our ancestor Abraham,
to free us from our enemies,
so we might worship without fear
and be holy and just all our days.
And you child, will be called
Prophet of the Most High,
for you will come to prepare
a pathway for the Lord
by teaching the people salvation
through forgiveness of their sin.
Out of God’s deepest mercy
a dawn will come from on high,
light for those shadowed by death,
a guide for our feet on the way to peace.
Long awaited One, we come before you seeking the way. We search for you in the daily happenings of our lives and pray to be ever aware of your presence:
~ We wait for you, God of hope.
In times of uncertainty, give us courage to search for truth:
In times of despair, help us to recognize your light:
In times of illness, may we know you as our healer:
In times of selfishness, may we be moved to generosity:
In times of dullness, infuse us with your creative energy:
O God, long awaited One, as we join the long procession of those who have waited for you over the centuries, give us patience to use this time of waiting in a way that brings direction and hope to our world. Remind us that, day by day, we are on our way to you. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our companion on the way. Amen.


1 Corinthians 1:4 – 9
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind — just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who is faithful, will strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. By this God you were called into the company of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel, at your word the gates of heaven open and the walls of sin give way. Come, free us from all that holds us in darkness, and lead us out of our exile.

I acclaim the greatness of the Lord,
I delight in God my savior,
who regarded my humble state.
Truly from this day on all ages
will call me blest.
For God, wonderful in power,
has used that strength for me.
Holy the name of the Lord!
Whose mercy embraces the faithful,
one generation to the next.
The mighty arm of God
scatters the proud in their conceit,
Pulls tyrants from their thrones,
and raises up the humble.
The Lord fills the starving
and lets the rich go hungry.
God rescues lowly Israel,
recalling the promise of mercy,
the promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham’s heirs forever.

O Key of David, you unlocked heaven for us, yet we remain prisoners of our own attitudes toward the poor and marginalized in society.
Help us open doors that we have locked, and give us the courage to respond generously to those in need.
To those suffering from AIDS and other infectious diseases:
~ Give us the courage to open our hearts and hands.
To the elderly who are isolated and lonely: To those who are misunderstood because of racial, ethnic, and cultural differences:
To the ‘invisible poor,’ those languishing in prisons and shelters and half-way houses:
To those who espouse unpopular causes for the sake of others’ needs:
We come before you, O God, confident of your care for all those imprisoned by poverty, sickness, prejudice and ignorance. Open our hearts to listen to your word and our hands to do your work. Give us strength and courage to be bearers of your mercy to all those whom we may have neglected in the past. This we ask through Jesus, whose coming we await. Amen.