Year II: Christmas Triduum

Boxing Day: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: St. Stephen, Martyr (Boxing Day):  Today is the second day of the traditional “12 Days of Christmas” during which we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.  We refer to this day as ‘Boxing Day’ because on this day, gifts were placed into festive boxes and distributed to the poor and those in need.  It is also the day we remember the first martyr of the early church, St. Stephen, who was a Deacon of the early church in Jerusalem and was stoned to death for his faith by an angry mob.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 103

Praise for the Lord’s Mercies
A Psalm of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Thank you for the blessings of this season and your goodness to us yesterday. Grant us rest in our spirits and joy in our hearts as we continue to celebrate your birth in Bethlehem. Let the Christmas story be ever on our lips…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For gifts and those who gave them we give you thanks, but most of all we thank you for your Son, the greatest gift and worship you eternally…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For safe travel and a peaceful spirit as we go our way today. May we be ever changed by what we have experienced of your goodness…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you cared for family upon earth, provided for your mother upon the cross and have supplied your people through the ages. As your brothers and sisters, we stand in awe of your love…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • May we be ministers of truth and love to our family and loved ones. May we have ears to listen and words to speak…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • May our families be strengthened and the bonds of love increased. May our homes reflect the Kingdom and the Kingdom be manifest in our homes…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.

The Church

  • Lord God, let your church rise up with renewed strength! As you came to us two thousand years ago, come again to your temple and inhabit your people. Let the earth resound with praises:
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For opportunities for evangelism and the sharing of your Word we pray. Let your voice be heard in the voice of your people…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For those of the persecuted church, that have kept this Christmas in hiding. Strengthen their spirits and let fresh faith and hope be birthed within them…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.

The World

  • Mighty God, we give you thanks for the beauty of this wide world and the heavens that declare the glory of God. This Christmas, when the twinkle of fairy-lights has faded, let the seed of the gospel remain in hearts…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For governments, world leaders and those in power. May the kingdoms of this earth become the kingdom of our God…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.
  • For your soon return, that in this final hour many will be gathered in before the sounding of the last trumpet…
              –  For our eyes have seen your salvation.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.   Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Luke 2:22-39

Jesus Presented at the Temple

And 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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


READING FROM THE CHURCH
 FATHERS (Optional)

Lesson from the Church Fathers – ‘Awakening Faith’ Day 40


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son,
To take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin:
Grant that we, who have been born again,
And made your children by adoption and grace,
May daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
To whom with you and the same Spirit,
Be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one all things earthly and heavenly,
Fill you with joy and peace. Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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