January 5 Devotional (2021)

January 5, 2021
Christmastide

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 22:1-9; Luke 6:27-31; Excerpt from “Selected to Live” by J.R. Dobschiner


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

O God,

      You who dwell on high,

      and yet consider the humble in heaven and in earth,

      in the sea and in all its depths,

      from the depths of our hearts

      we pray that you would strengthen our hearts for battle,

      our fingers for war,

      that in this morning we may be able

      to face all trouble in our world,

      and that we may not fail to be worthy of Your holy temple, O Christ;

You reign 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

“Christians, awake, salute the happy morn”

By John Byrom

Lyrics

1. Christians, awake, salute the happy morn

whereon the Savior of the world was born;

rise to adore the mystery of love,

which hosts of angels chanted from above;

with them the joyful tidings first begun

of God Incarnate and the Virgin’s Son.

2. Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,

who heard the angelic herald’s voice: “Behold,

I bring good tidings of a Savior’s birth

to you and all the nations on the earth:

this day hath God fulfilled his promised word,

this day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord.”

3. He spoke, and straightway the celestial choir

in hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire;

the praises of redeeming love they sang,

and heaven’s whole orb with alleluias rang;

God’s highest glory was their anthem still,

peace on the earth, and unto men good will.

4. In Bethlehem the happy shepherds sought

to see the wonder God for us had wrought,

and found, with Joseph and the blessed maid,

her Son, the Savior, in a manger laid;

amazed, the wondrous story they proclaim,

the earliest heralds of the Savior’s name.

5. Let us, like these good shepherds, then

employ our grateful voices to proclaim the joy;

trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss,

from his poor manger to his bitter cross;

treading his steps, assisted by his grace,

till our first heavenly state again takes place.

6. Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among,

to sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song;

he that was born upon this joyful day

around us all his glory shall display;

saved by his love, incessant we shall sing

eternal praise to heaven’s almighty King. [2]

The Short Verse

     Early in the morning I cry out to you,* 

for in your word is my trust.

Psalm 119:147
“Wisdom” 
By Titian 
(source)

Morning Reading: Proverbs 22:1-9

The generous are blessed

1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,

and favor is better than silver or gold.

2 The rich and the poor meet together;

the LORD is the Maker of them all.

3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,

but the simple go on and suffer for it.

4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD

is riches and honor and life.

5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;

whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.

6 Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.

7 The rich rules over the poor,

and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

8 Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,

and the rod of his fury will fail.

9 Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,

for he shares his bread with the poor.

Morning Lesson

On Folly

“Folly is more than mere stupidity. It is an act of rebellion against God. it not only brings bad consequences in this life but also damns us for eternity. True wisdom does not come from studying hard in school or even from having much life experience. True wisdom flows out of trust in the Lord (‘the fear of the Lord’). By putting our trust in God and in  His Son – Jesus Christ, Wisdom in human flesh – we are delivered from the consequences of our folly and we grow in the righteous behavior marked by wisdom. Dear heavenly Father, forgive us for the many ways we have shown the folly of our hearts. Drive from us the folly that results whenever we fear, love, and trust idols rather than You. Strengthen our trust in You and in Your Son’s death and resurrection so that we will grow in wisdom, grace, and the knowledge of our Savior. Amen.” [3]

Morning Prayer

For Peace:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen. [4]

The Blessing

May Christ, who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with his joy and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen. [5]


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

     Hear my voice, O LORD, according to your loving-kindness;* 

according to your judgments, give me life.

Psalm 119:149
“Love your enemies” 
(source)

Midday Reading: Luke 6:27-31

Do to others as you would have them do to you

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Midday Lesson

The Golden Rule

“This ‘Golden Rule is a minimum of Christian virtue, as it places a man’s desire for goodness (‘the natural law of self love,’ [Cyril of Alexandria]) as a basic standard of how to treat others. It is but the first step on the path to the perfection of virtue; this perfection is found it v. 36, where God’s mercy, rather than man’s desire, is the standard.” [6]

Jesus overthrew “the common ethics of human culture to emphasize the Father’s ways of love and mercy. God calls you to have self-sacrificing love. Pray for wisdom and patience with yourself as you put God’s ways into practice. The Father of all mercy will  hear your plea. He is ever ready to forgive and strengthen you. Lord, lead me to love the ungrateful and the evil, even as You have loved and cared for me. Amen.” [7]

Midday 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. [8]


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

     With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God;* 

with the forthright you show yourself forthright. 

     With the pure you show yourself pure,* 

but with the crooked you are wily.

Psalm 18:26–27
Artist Unknown
(source)

Evening Reading

“Selected to Live” 

As a young Dutch-Jewish refugee Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner found an illustrated children’s Bible in the home she was evacuated to, and re-read the familiar stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Pharaoh, Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon, Haman, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Malachi… 

Almost unconsciously I entered a part of history previously unknown to me, yet strangely familiar. It still dealt with the people of Israel but new characters had entered the scene, names I had never been taught, names which had never been mentioned at home or in school lessons. Scenes which took place in Synagogue and Temple, according to this Bible, registered a blank when searching my memory. Yet all the stories were so obviously Jewish … One person outshone all others in these stories – a prophet born in Israel. As the weeks and months passed by, his life became part of mine. The readings about him and incidents concerning him became more important to me than anything else in my own environment. I found I could tolerate my isolation without frustration, always longing for the next opportunity to learn more about him for he had become my hero. 

Then the cross: 

While still reading of his agonies, in myself I wished for him to show the power that was his, and free himself from that cross. I knew he would do it, and as I read on I waited eagerly for the moment when this would be described … Instead, ‘It is finished.’ I had lost the one I loved dearly, although I had never met him, except within the pages of this book. Now all was lost to me. 

According to the custom of my people I mourned for him seven days. My thoughts were wholly centred on my loss and a deep sense of depression settled upon me. I was weepy, edgy, moody and unhappy. True, I had suffered disappointment, but why not act as an adult and read the remaining pages of the book? 

The first day of the week, and Mary finds his grave empty, the body stolen. What next! Having fought back her tears for so long, Mary now gave way to her grief. She felt as I had done during these past ten days, and again I joined in her sorrow. 

…and then continued reading… 

(J.R. Dobschiner, “Selected to Live”)

(Excerpted from the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayers devotional [9])

Vespers Prayer 

Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer,* 

nor withheld his love from me. Amen.

Psalm 66:18

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

On the Eve of the Epiphany:

Lighten our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by this coming Festival: that, being rid of the darkness of this world, we may come to the light of the eternal Country; through Christ. Amen.


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] Byrom, J. (n.d.). The Hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 106. Christians, awake, salute the happy morn. Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/106

[3] House, C. P. (2009). Proverbs. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1033-1034). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[4] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: A Prayer of Self-Dedication. 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. 815). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[5] 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

[6] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1406). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] House, C. P. (2009). Luke. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1721). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[8] Forward Movement. (2013). Daily Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 156). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.


[9] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 20610-20628). London: HarperCollins.

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