January 4 Devotional (2021)

January 4, 2021
Christmastide

Today’s Readings: Psalm 110; Proverbs 3:1-12; James 4:11-17


Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy, which will come
to all the people; for unto you is born this day in the city of
David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.   
 Luke 2:10, 11

The Invitatory

A spotless Virgin has brought forth God clothed in flesh: 

Let us all worship Him who came to save us!

Opening Prayer

We pray this morning

   to the Lord who rose again,

   that we may also rise again in eternal life;

      forever and ever. Amen. [1]

🕇 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!

The Hymn

“While shepherds watched their flocks by night”

By Nahym Tate, 1625-1715

Lyrics

1. While shepherds watched their flocks by night,

all seated on the ground,

the angel of the Lord came down,

and glory shone around.

2. “Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread

had seized their troubled mind;

“Glad tidings of great joy I bring

to you and all mankind.

3. “To you, in David’s town, this day

is born of David’s line

a Savior, who is Christ the Lord;

and this shall be the sign:

4. “The heavenly Babe you there shall find

to human view displayed,

all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,

and in a manger laid.”

5. Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith

appeared a shining throng

of angels praising God, who thus

addressed their joyful song:

6. “All glory be to God on high

and on earth be peace;

good will henceforth from heaven to me

begin and never cease.” [2]

The Short Verse

     The LORD lives! Blessed is my Rock!* 

Exalted is the God of my salvation!

Psalm 18:46
The Old Testament Melchizedek Showing Us Jesus 
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 110

Prayers for the king

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

2 The LORD sends forth from Zion

your mighty scepter.

Rule in the midst of your enemies!

3 Your people will offer themselves freely

on the day of your power,

in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,

the dew of your youth will be yours.

4 The LORD has sworn

and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever

after the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at your right hand;

he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will execute judgment among the nations,

filling them with corpses;

he will shatter chiefs

over the wide earth.

7 He will drink from the brook by the way;

therefore he will lift up his head.

Morning Lesson

The Melchizedek Priest

Psalm 110 “is a prophecy concerning the Melchizedek Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which explains the true meaning of the Nativity. In Gn 14:18-20, Melchizedek is called the king of Salem and priest of the Most High God (see also Heb 7:1). His priesthood was not based on genealogy (Heb 7:3). It was based on himself alone, for no one preceded him in priesthood, nor succeeded him (Heb 7:8). On this basis he was a type of Christ, whose priesthood is based on His endless life, for He rose from the dead (Heb 7:16).” [3]

“The Lord [the Father] said to my Lord [Christ], ‘Sit at my right hand’ (v. 1). For Christ is not only Man, but also the Lord God, coequal and one in nature with the Father. For He is begotten from the Father before all time (before the morning…, v. 3), and is therefore His eternal Son (v. 3; see also the Nicene Creed). He is the Son of David according to the flesh (Mt 1:1), but He is also the Lord of David according to His divinity (see also Mt 22:41-45).” [4]

“At the Father’s right hand, this Melchizedek Priest rules and reigns over all things, including His enemies (vv. 1, 2, 5-7), and leads His Church in heavenly worship of the Blessed Trinity.” [5]

Morning Prayer

Collect of the Week:

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [6]

The Blessing

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen. [7]


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,
the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The Invitatory

A spotless Virgin has brought forth God clothed in flesh: 

Let us all worship Him who came to save us!

The Short Verse

     Come now and look upon the works of the LORD,* 

what awesome things he has done on earth.

Psalm 46:9
“Christ asleep during the tempest” 
By  Eugene Delacroix 
(source)

Midday Reading: Proverbs 3:1-12

Trust in God with all your heart

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,

but let your heart keep my commandments,

2 for length of days and years of life

and peace they will add to you.

3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;

bind them around your neck;

write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 So you will find favor and good success

in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.

7 Be not wise in your own eyes;

fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

8 It will be healing to your flesh

and refreshment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth

and with the firstfruits of all your produce;

10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,

and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline

or be weary of his reproof,

12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,

as a father the son in whom he delights.

“Step of Faith” 
By Pennie Mirande 
(source)

Midday Lesson

Trust Him

“God punishes those who stubbornly resist His mercy and refuse to follow His commandments. But He promises abundant blessings to all who, in faith, receive His gracious love and salvation through the merits of Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father, lead me to dedicate myself to You and to trust in You with my whole heart, to know and live according to Your will. Send me Your Spirit to bless the use of my time, abilities, and possessions so that I may serve You faithfully and effectually. Amen.” [8]

Midday Prayer 

For wisdom:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful 

And kindle in them the fire of Your love 

Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created 

     And You shall renew the face of the earth 

Let us Pray: 

O God, Who instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen. [9]


Behold, the dwelling of God is with mankind. He will dwell
with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will
be with them, and be their God.    
Revelation 21:3

The Invitatory

A spotless Virgin has brought forth God clothed in flesh: 

Let us all worship Him who came to save us!

The Short Verse 

     Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name;* 

deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name’s sake.

Psalm 79:9
“Trust in God” 
(source)

Evening Reading: James 4:11-17

Our plans for our time are in God’s hands

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Evening Lesson

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

“Belittling criticism of others is another case of pride coming out in what we say. It is a lack of faith united with evil works, an offense both to the person criticized and to God. God’s will is to love others (2:8) with humility and mercy, even if they are in the wrong (see 3:13-18).” [10]

“True faith depends completely on God and seeks ways to do good works. But to plan as if we knew exactly what will happen is arrogance.” [11]

“Like James’s first readers, we strive to be self-sufficient and to develop detailed plans for our lives. Planning can be good stewardship, but not if our plans crowd out the things God would have us do. James reminds us to seek what ‘the Lord wills.’ This simple statement is a confession of faith and shows confidence in the Lord’s care  for us. Time and again, He has shown His fatherly, divine goodness and mercy towards us. He has given us life by His Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of each day. Help me to see each one as guided by Your care and lived for Your glory. Through me, bless my family, my co-workers and neighbors, and all the world. Amen.” [12]

Vespers Prayer 

Grant, O Father, I pray, that whatever I do in my words, my thoughts, or my work, I may do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to you and the Holy Spirit through Him. Amen. [13]

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

LORD, you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name: Do not forsake us, O LORD our God. Amen. 

— Jeremiah 14:9, 22


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Rossway.

[2] Tate, N. (n.d.). The Hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 95. While shepherds watched their flocks by night. Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/95

[3] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 783-788). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Ibid. 3, P. 788

[5] Ibid. 3, P. 788

[6] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: Seasons of the Year. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 214). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[7] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings: Christmas. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 9). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[8] House, C. P. (2009). Proverbs. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1003). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[9] Various. (n.d.). Prayers for Wisdom. Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://www.lords-prayer-words.com/prayers_before/prayer_for_wisdom.html

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). James. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1709). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] House, C. P. (2009). James. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2142). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.


[13] Tickle, P. (2006). January. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 493). New York, NY: Image Books.

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