December 23 Devotional (2020)

December 23, 2020
Fourth Week of Advent

Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Hebrews 8:1-13; Mark 11:1-11


O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

The Invitatory

Our King and Savior now draws near:

Watch, for you know not when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning; lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.

Our King and Savior now draws near: O Come, let us adore him.

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Alleluia!

Opening Prayer

A Morning Resolve 

I will try this day to live a simple, sincere, and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God. Amen. In particular I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right. And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“The King shall come when morning dawns”

1 The King shall come when morning dawns

and light triumphant breaks;

when beauty gilds the eastern hills

and life to joy awakes.

2 Not, as of old, a little child,

to bear, and fight, and die,

but crowned with glory like the sun

that lights the morning sky.

3 The King shall come when morning dawns

and earth’s dark night is past;

O haste the rising of that morn,

the day that e’er shall last;

4 and let the endless bliss begin,

by weary saints foretold,

when right shall triumph over wrong,

and truth shall be extolled.

5 The King shall come when morning dawns

and light and beauty brings:

Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,

come quickly, King of kings. [2]

Antiphon 

Awake, awake, put on strength! 

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion: for the day of the Lord is nigh at hand, behold, He cometh to save us.

Alleluia! Alleluia! 

Come and save us. 

O Lord, show Thy mercy.

[3]
“Through the Window” 
By Tilly Willis 
(source)

Morning Reading: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah’s song

1 And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the LORD;

my horn is exalted in the LORD.

My mouth derides my enemies,

because I rejoice in your salvation.

2 “There is none holy like the LORD:

for there is none besides you;

there is no rock like our God.

3 Talk no more so very proudly,

let not arrogance come from your mouth;

for the LORD is a God of knowledge,

and by him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of the mighty are broken,

but the feeble bind on strength.

5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.

The barren has borne seven,

but she who has many children is forlorn.

6 The LORD kills and brings to life;

he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich;

he brings low and he exalts.

8 He raises up the poor from the dust;

he lifts the needy from the ash heap

to make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of honor.

For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,

and on them he has set the world.

9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,

for not by might shall a man prevail.

10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;

against them he will thunder in heaven.

The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;

he will give strength to his king

and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

“We must boast in nothing since nothing is our own”

~ St. Cyprian

[5]

Morning Lesson 

Hannah’s Prayer

“Hannah appeal[ed] to a God who maintains order by keeping human affairs in balance, reversing the fortunes of the arrogant, who, like Peninnah, boast of their good fortune (vv. 1, 3, 9) at the expense of those like Hannah who receive less from the Lord. Hannah’s admission places her among the faithful who trust that God will execute justice on their behalf. The reference ‘his king … his anointed’ (v. 10) recalls the final sentence of the Book of Judges and introduces the kingship theme that dominates the Books of Samuel.” [4]

The Small Verse 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

(Phil 4:6)

Morning Prayer

Purify my conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in me a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.†

The Blessing

May you, who rejoice in the first Advent of our Redeemer, at his second Advent be rewarded with unending life. Amen. [32]


O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

The Invitatory

Our King and Savior now draws near: 

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 

Our King and Savior now draws near: O Come, let us adore him.

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Alleluia!

Antiphon 

The Lord shall arise. 

Make haste, O Lord. 

Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare His praise in the islands: for behold, He shall come, and shall not tarry.

[5]
“Holy Eucharist” 
By Johnathan Mason 
(source)

Midday Reading: Hebrews 8:1-13

Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tenta that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christb has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:c

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,

when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah,

9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers

on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

For they did not continue in my covenant,

and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel

after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws into their minds,

and write them on their hearts,

and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people.

11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor

and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

for they shall all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,

and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Midday Lesson 

The supremacy of the new covenant 

“Under the old Jewish system, priests were chosen only from the tribe of Levi, and sacrifices were offered daily on the altar for… sins. This system would not have allowed Jesus to be a priest because He was from the tribe of Judah.” [7]

Christ’s sacrifice ended all need for further sacrifices. “So, people are justified not because of any other sacrifices, but because of this one sacrifice of Christ… Today, we have priests “not in order to make any sacrifices for the people as in the Law, that by these they may merit forgiveness of sins for the people. Rather, they are called to teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments to the people.” [8]

“The pattern for the Tabernacle built by Moses was given by God. it was a pattern of the spiritual reality of Christ’s sacrifice, and thus it looked forward to the future reality… The  earthly Tabernacle was an expression of eternal, theological principles. Because the temple at Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed, using the worship system there as an example would have had a great impact on this original audience.” [9]

Verses 8-12 “is a quotation of Jeremiah 31:31-34, which compares the new covenant with the old. The old covenant was the covenant of law between God and Israel. The new and better way is the [new] covenant – Christ’s offer to forgive our sins and bring us to God through His sacrificial death. This covenant is new in extent – it goes beyond Israel and Judah to include all the Gentile nations. It is new in application because it is written on our hearts and in our minds. It offers a new way to forgiveness, not through animal sacrifice, but through faith. Have you entered into the new covenant and begun walking in the better way?” [10]

“If our hearts are not changed, following God’s rules will be unpleasant and difficult. We will rebel against being told how to live. The Holy Spirit gives us new desires, helping us want to obey God (see Phil 2:12-13). With new hearts, we find that serving God is our greatest joy.” [11]

“Under God’s new covenant, God’s law is inside us. It is no longer an external set of rules and principles. The Holy Spirit reminds us of Christ’s words, activates our consciences, influences out motives and desires, and makes us want to obey. Now doing God’s will is something we desire with all our hearts and minds.” [12]

“Some of the Jewish believers were clinging to the obsolete, old ways  instead of embracing God’s new covenant. All the joy of newfound faith and all the relief of fresh forgiveness had given way to a kind of boredom that was never supposed to be. What should be done if this happens to you? Realize that life in Christ is never complete. Heaven promises completeness; until then, growth is the normal pattern. Growth often endure seasons of drought and drabness. That’s also normal. Think about what you are doing that might be spiritually ineffective or obsolete. The key to growth includes daily devotion to Christ through Bible study and prayer.” [13]

“The old covenant, because it could not permanently address the problem of sin, would ‘vanish away.’ As Priest, Christ came to establish an everlasting covenant and atonement for our sins. O merciful God, forgive us our sins for the sake of Jesus’ sacrifice. Amen.” [14]

Antiphon 

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah.

[15]

Midday Prayer 

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts: that as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so too by his Cross and passion may we be brought to the glory of his resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. [16]


O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

The Invitatory

Our King and Savior now draws near: 

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. 

Our King and Savior now draws near: O Come, let us adore him.

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Alleluia!

December 23rd Great Antiphon 

“Jesus entering Jerusalem” 
By Gustave Dore 
(source)

Evening Reading: Mark 11:1-11

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Evening Lesson 

Christ, the new Moses

“If you ask most people today what the Jewish people were waiting for at the time of Jesus, you will probably hear something like this: ‘In the first century A.D., the Jewish people were waiting for an earthly, political Messiah to come and set them free from the Roman Empire and return the land of Israel to its rightful owners. The notion of a purely political Messiah with purely political aims has become remarkably widespread, even among people who are not veery familiar with either the Bible or ancient Judaism… [A]lthough many [American] Christians admit to knowing very little about ancient Jewish practice and belief, the one thing they all seem to have heard is the idea that the Jewish people were waiting for only a military Messiah – a warrior king who would bring victory by defeating the empire of Caesar and reestablishing the earthly dominion of Israel.” [18]

“And this is partially true. Some Jews at the time of Jesus were in fact only waiting for political deliverance from their Roman overlords. Chief among these were Zealots, a first-century sect who were so called because of their zealous love for the land of Israel and their equally zealous hatred for Rome. However, to say all Jews at the time of Jesus were simply waiting for a political Messiah is an exaggeration. While possessing a grain of truth, this thought does not do justice to the rich diversity of Jewish hopes for the future at the time of Jesus.” [19]

“For if you actually pick up and read ancient Jewish writings themselves – especially the books of Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament) and the witnesses to ancient Jewish tradition (the Mishna, the Targums, the Talmud) – you will find something quite surprising. You will find that many ancient Jews were waiting for much more… You will find that many of them were waiting for the restoration of Israel in a new exodus.” [20]

The Jewish hope for the new exodus “was the expectation that the God of Israel would one day save His people in much the same way as He had saved them centuries before, at the time of Moses, the time of the first exodus. It was the hope that when the age of salvation finally dawned, God would recapitulate (or ‘recap’) the events that had transpired during the flight from Egypt.” [21]

“In order to understand this more clearly, we need to know the basics of the first exodus from Egypt. The story can be found in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is here that we read the story of Moses, the deliverance of the twelve tribes of Jacob from slavery in Egypt, the plagues and the Passover, the wilderness wandering, and, ultimately, of the Israelites’ journey home to the promised land of Canaan. It’s the story of events that took place sometime in the late second millennium B.C., well over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.” [22]

The Old Testament prophets “foretold that God would one day bring about a new exodus. The essentials of this new exodus can be summarized by four key events: (1) the coming of a new Moses; (2) the making of a new covenant; (3) the building of a new temple; and (4) the journey to a new promised land.” [23]

“In the first exodus from Egypt, God saved the people of ISrael by means of a deliverer: Moses. According to the Old Testament Prophets, God would one day save His people again by means of a new deliverer: the Messiah.” [24] This new deliverer would be like Moses.

“Moses also declare[d] that God would one day send Israel another deliverer, a prophet like Himself.” [25]

[Moses said to the Israelites:] “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren – him you shall heed… and the LORD said to me, ‘They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak all that I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18) [26]

“Like Moses before him, the Messiah would one day be sent to Israel, in a time of great need, in order to deliver them from bondage. Take, for example, the words of Rabbi Berekiah, who lived in the third or fourth century A.D.:

“Rabbi Berekiah said in the name of Rabbi Isaac: ‘As the first redeemer [Moses] was, so shall the latter Redeemer [the Messiah] be. What is stated of the former redeemer? ‘And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass’ (Exod. 4:40). Similarly it will be with the latter Redeemer, as it is stated, ‘Lowly and riding upon an ass’ (Zech. 9:9). As the former redeemer caused manna to descend, as it is stated, ‘Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you’ (Exod. 16:4), so will the latter Redeemer cause manna to descend, as it is stated, ‘May he be as a rich grainfield in the land’ (Ps. 72:16). (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 1:28)” [27]

“As anyone familiar with the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem can see, the tradition of the Messiah coming on a donkey was alive and well in the first century (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-18)… [I]n this particular rabbinic tradition, the Messiah is clearly expected to be a new Moses, whose actions would parallel the actions of the first Moses. Just as Moses had gone our of Egypt using a donkey, so, too, the rabbis said the Messiah would come, humble and ‘riding upon a donkey,’ thereby fulfilling the biblical prophecy of Zechariah. And just as Moses had caused the miraculous manna to descend from above, so, too, the rabbis said that the Messiah would one day rain down bread from heaven.” [28]

Antiphon 

And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

[29]

Vespers Prayer 

Give peace for all time, O Lord, and fill my heart and the hearts of all people everywhere with the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. [30]

The Small Verse  

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

(Isaiah 7:14)

The Concluding Prayers of the Church

Our Father, the day is over and I turn to you before I take my rest. You have been with me all the day long, and for all your mercies, perceived and unperceived, I give thanks. Of all that has been amiss in me, in thought, word, and deed, I repent, and ask your gracious forgiveness as I also forgive all who have offended me. Grant me now the blessings of a quiet mind and a trustful spirit, the freedom from fear of a child in its father’s house. So let me rest in you, at peace with you and with all people. Amen. [31]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Forward Movement. (2013). Daily Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 147). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[2] Brownlie, J. (n.d.). The Hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 73. The King shall come when morning dawns. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/73

[3] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp.112 & 113). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[4] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Samuel. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1889). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[5] St. Cyprian. (2020). Treatise 12, Third Book. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050712c.htm

[6] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp.113 & 114). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[7] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Hebrews. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 1771). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[8] House, C. P. (2009). Hebrews. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2114). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[9] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Hebrews. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 1771). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Ibid. 9, P. 1772

[12] Ibid. 9, P. 1772

[13] Ibid. 9, P. 1772

[14] House, C. P. (2009). Hebrews. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2115). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[15] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp.113). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[16] Bellarmine, G. (2020). December 6 Compline. In The Roman Breviary in English, in Order, Every Day for October, November, December 2020 (Kindle ed., p. 3327). Christian Books Today.

[17] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp.110). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[18] Pitre, B. J. (2016). The Jewish Hope for a New Exodus. In Jesus and the Jewish roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the secrets of the Last Supper (Kindle ed., p. 36-37). New York: NY.

[19] Ibid. 18, P. 37

[20] Ibid. 18, P. 37

[21] Ibid. 18, P. 37-38

[22] Ibid. 18, P. 38

[23] Ibid. 18, P. 38

[24] Ibid. 18, P. 38

[25] Ibid. 18, P. 40

[26] Ibid. 18, P. 40

[27] Ibid. 18, P. 40-41

[28] Ibid. 18, P. 41-42

[29] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp.112). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[30] Forward Movement. (2013). Daily Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 157). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.


[31] Forward Movement. (2013). Daily Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 162). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[32] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 8). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

One thought on “December 23 Devotional (2020)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: