Readings for Sunday, December 26, 2021
“The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” — Luke 2:40
1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord : “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
6 The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9 I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10 I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord .
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !
1 Praise the Lord ! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord !
1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 7b Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord . Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord . 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11 She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord . 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord ; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord .” 21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.” 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord . 27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord ; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord .” She left him there for the Lord .
9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
22 When 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”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided 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, 28 Simeon 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.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then 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 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There 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, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At 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. 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
1 Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord .
2 Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
5 O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances.
8 I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord ; teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.
14 I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
17 Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and observe your word.
18 Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
19 I live as an alien in the land; do not hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments;
22 take away from me their scorn and contempt, for I have kept your decrees.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord .
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord ; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord !
You can also find all of today’s readings at PCUSA.org.