Bible Readings for Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019

We are now in the 12 days of Christmas, starting on December 25th, and ending on January 5th, the day before the Epiphany, January 6th. Now is the time for the Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of the One Who would become our Lord and Savior!

The First Reading is recorded in Isaiah 63:7-14. Notice the faithfulness of the LORD in this passage to rescue His people as He did during the Exodus through Moses. Now our rescue, our redemption, happens through Jesus! The LORD fulfills His promises. Let us trust in Him!
Faithful Lord, we give You thanks and praise as we see how You fulfill Your promises. By Your Holy Spirit enable us to trust in You and to walk in faith each day, knowing You will keep Your promises to us and to all Your people. We rejoice that in Jesus all Your promises find their YES in Him! Amen.

The psalm is Psalm 111. This is a psalm of praise, giving thanks to the LORD with one’s whole heart. Notice the psalmist then recounts many of the LORD’s blessing to His people; it is good for us to hear again all that the LORD does. This hearing of God’s mighty deeds of power is used by the Holy Spirit to enable faith to grow in us and to lead us to praise. Let us listen to what God does to bless.
Blessing God, You give us all the blessings we have in life, and especially the blessing of Your Son, Jesus. Let us always give You praise for Your blessings, and let us grow in respectful fear of You. Lead us to Your wisdom. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in Galatians 4:4-7. Here is the life and mission of Jesus in a nutshell: Jesus was born as a human to redeem us through His death and resurrection, enabling us to cry out to God as our heavenly Father as He makes us His children.
Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You that You sent Your Son, born as a human, to redeem us through His cross and victory over death on the 3rd day. As those adopted by You in Baptism, let us cry out: Abba! Father! And enable us to walk as Your children each day. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Matthew 2:13-23. In the midst of our Christmas joy, we read one of the saddest passages in the Bible: king Herod was afraid for his throne and his dynasty, and so he tried to kill the baby Jesus. In order to do so, he had all the male babies in and around Bethlehem killed. What evil resided in king Herod. History does record that Herod was a ruthless tyrant, even killing some of his children and his wife because he was afraid they were trying to gain control of his kingdom. What an evil person.
But, notice that even as powerful and evil as Herod was, he could not destroy Jesus. Sin, the devil, the world, and even death, tried to destroy Jesus. They could not destroy Him; He rose on the 3rd day and lives forevermore. As we face resistance to the Gospel of Jesus by the world around us, let us remember that God has won the ultimate victory through Jesus’ resurrection, and that when Jesus returns the victory will be complete; no power is greater than our Lord. Let us trust in Him.
Holy Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, we praise You for Your victory over all the forces and powers that sought to destroy You. Enable us to trust in You even as we face resistance to Your Gospel, knowing that no one and nothing can thwart Your victory. To You be all the honor, glory, thanks and praise. Amen.

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