The first Sunday after Christmas is the last Sunday of the Calendar year. The old year is ending. A New one will be with us very soon. The theme of Christmas 1, the goodness of god, is appropriate for the end of a year. The Old Testament lesson is especially relevant. “I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord.” At the end of the year, it is wise to take inventory and count our blessings of the past year.
We see that God is good. He protects us from danger, redeems us from affliction and welcomes us into His family the Church.
Collect for Christmas 1 – O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your son, yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer for grace to receive the Word: Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
A Prayer for the Morning: Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessing remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness, and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prayer of Thanksgiving at the end of the day: Gracious Lord, we give You thanks for the day, especially for the good we were permitted to give and receive. The day is now past, and we commit it to You. We entrust to You the night and rest in Your peace, for You are our help, and You neither slumber nor sleep. Hear us for the sake of Your name.
Monday, 23 December 2013—Jeremiah 31:5-17; Hosea 11:1 he prophet reminds us, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” This verse coincides with the Gospel lesson. As Jesus enters into Egypt and then returns to Nazareth, we recall the nation of Israel called by God to leave Egypt into the Promised Land.
Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013— Psalm 111; key verse, 9a “He sent redemption to His people.” At Christmas, we see the redemption, which is ours in Jesus Christ. The eternal Son of God entered our time and space. He came to be our substitute. His humble birth is an indication of how He will live and what He will do for you. The world rejoices this night. Salvation has come. The Father has sent redemption to His people.
O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that, as we joyfully receive Him as our Redeemer, we may with sure confidence behold Him when He comes to be our Judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013— Isaiah 63:7-9 – Recounting the love and goodness of God to His people. This coming Sunday is the last Sunday of the calendar year. Another year has passed. During this week, review in your mind the past year. Recount the good things that come from God.
Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Thursday, 26 December 2013— Galatians 4:4-7 – At the right time god sent His Son that we might become sons and daughters of God. What is the real significance of Christmas?
How is your life affected by the birth of Christ? Your whole status with God depends on the one who has entered our world.
Collect for St. Stephen, Martyr - Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for the sake of Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we also may look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Friday, 27 December 2013 – Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 –The flight to Egypt and the return to Nazareth. The Lord suffers in all the afflictions of His people. Because of His love, He feels what we feel, He hurts when we hurt. He suffers when we suffer. When the Lord called Moses, He said that He heard the cries of His enslaved people. No one suffers alone. No one walks alone. No one dies alone. “In all their afflictions He was afflicted.”
Collect for St. John, the Evangelist - Merciful Lord, cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed in the doctrine of Your blessed apostle and evangelist John, may come to the light of everlasting life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Saturday, 28 December 2013— Luke 2:1-20 – Sunday’s hymn of the Day is “Let All Together Praise Our God” Now that Christmas has come we can seriously think about the meaning of Christ’s coming into our world and our time. Even in troubled times God is with us.Sources: Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use