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Daily Readings For December 21

Please note that two distinct lectionaries are provided on this page: the two-year Daily Lectionary from the Book of Common Worship and the three-year Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for Sundays and festivals; be sure you select the appropriate one.

Daily Readings Sunday/Festival Readings

Daily Readings for Thursday, December 21, 2006


Morning Psalm 18:1-20

1I love you, O LORD, my strength.

2The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,

my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,

so I shall be saved from my enemies.


4The cords of death encompassed me;

the torrents of perdition assailed me;

5the cords of Sheol entangled me;

the snares of death confronted me.


6In my distress I called upon the LORD;

to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry to him reached his ears.


7Then the earth reeled and rocked;

the foundations also of the mountains trembled

and quaked, because he was angry.

8Smoke went up from his nostrils,

and devouring fire from his mouth;

glowing coals flamed forth from him.

9He bowed the heavens, and came down;

thick darkness was under his feet.

10He rode on a cherub, and flew;

he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.

11He made darkness his covering around him,

his canopy thick clouds dark with water.

12Out of the brightness before him

there broke through his clouds

hailstones and coals of fire.

13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,

and the Most High uttered his voice.

14And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;

he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.

15Then the channels of the sea were seen,

and the foundations of the world were laid bare

at your rebuke, O LORD,

at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.


16He reached down from on high, he took me;

he drew me out of mighty waters.

17He delivered me from my strong enemy,

and from those who hated me;

for they were too mighty for me.

18They confronted me in the day of my calamity;

but the LORD was my support.

19He brought me out into a broad place;

he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

20The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;

according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.

Morning Psalm 147:12-20

12  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
          Praise your God, O Zion!
13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
          he blesses your children within you.
14  He grants peace within your borders;
          he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15  He sends out his command to the earth;
          his word runs swiftly.
16  He gives snow like wool;
          he scatters frost like ashes.
17  He hurls down hail like crumbs —
          who can stand before his cold?
18  He sends out his word, and melts them;
          he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19  He declares his word to Jacob,
          his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20  He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
          they do not know his ordinances.
     Praise the Lord!

First Reading Isaiah 29:9-24

9   Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,
          blind yourselves and be blind!
     Be drunk, but not from wine;
          stagger, but not from strong drink!
10  For the LORD has poured out upon you
          a spirit of deep sleep;
     he has closed your eyes, you prophets,
          and covered your heads, you seers.

11The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, "Read this," they say, "We cannot, for it is sealed." 12And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, "Read this," they say, "We cannot read."

13  The Lord said:
     Because these people draw near with their mouths
          and honor me with their lips,
          while their hearts are far from me,
     and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;
14  so I will again do
          amazing things with this people,
          shocking and amazing.
     The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
          and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.

15  Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the LORD,
          whose deeds are in the dark,
          and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?"
16  You turn things upside down!
          Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
     Shall the thing made say of its maker,
          "He did not make me";
     or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
          "He has no understanding"?

17  Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
          become a fruitful field,
          and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?
18  On that day the deaf shall hear
          the words of a scroll,
     and out of their gloom and darkness
          the eyes of the blind shall see.
19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
          and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20  For the tyrant shall be no more,
          and the scoffer shall cease to be;
          all those alert to do evil shall be cut off —
21  those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
          who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
          and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.

22Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham,
concerning the house of Jacob:
     No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
          no longer shall his face grow pale.
23  For when he sees his children,
          the work of my hands, in his midst,
          they will sanctify my name;
     they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
          and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24  And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
          and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Second Reading Revelation 21:9-21

9Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; 13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. 18The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

Gospel Reading Luke 1:26-38

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God." 38Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Evening Psalm 126

1   When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
          we were like those who dream.
2   Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
          and our tongue with shouts of joy;
     then it was said among the nations,
          “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3   The LORD has done great things for us,
          and we rejoiced.


4   Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
          like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5   May those who sow in tears
          reap with shouts of joy.
6   Those who go out weeping,
          bearing the seed for sowing,
     shall come home with shouts of joy,
          carrying their sheaves.

Evening Psalm 62

1   For God alone my soul waits in silence;
          from him comes my salvation.
2   He alone is my rock and my salvation,
          my fortress; I shall never be shaken.


3   How long will you assail a person,
          will you batter your victim, all of you,
          as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4   Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
          They take pleasure in falsehood;
     they bless with their mouths,
          but inwardly they curse. Selah


5   For God alone my soul waits in silence,
          for my hope is from him.
6   He alone is my rock and my salvation,
          my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7   On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
          my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.


8   Trust in him at all times, O people;
          pour out your heart before him;
          God is a refuge for us. Selah


9   Those of low estate are but a breath,
          those of high estate are a delusion;
     in the balances they go up;
          they are together lighter than a breath.
10  Put no confidence in extortion,
          and set no vain hopes on robbery;
          if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.


11  Once God has spoken;
          twice have I heard this:
     that power belongs to God,
12       and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
     For you repay to all
          according to their work.