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Daily Readings For December 20

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 20, 2018


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 28:9-22

9"Whom will he teach knowledge,
     and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from milk,
     those taken from the breast?
10For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
     line upon line, line upon line,
     here a little, there a little."

11Truly, with stammering lip
     and with alien tongue
he will speak to this people,
12   to whom he has said,
"This is rest;
     give rest to the weary;
and this is repose";
     yet they would not hear.
13Therefore the word of the LORD will be to them,
     "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
     line upon line, line upon line,
     here a little, there a little;"
in order that they may go, and fall backward,
     and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers
     who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death,
     and with Sheol we have an agreement;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
     it will not come to us;
for we have made lies our refuge,
     and in falsehood we have taken shelter";
16therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
     a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
     "One who trusts will not panic."
17And I will make justice the line,
     and righteousness the plummet;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
     and waters will overwhelm the shelter.
18Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
     and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
     you will be beaten down by it.
19As often as it passes through, it will take you;
for morning by morning it will pass through,
     by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it,
     and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.
21For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim,
     he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon;
to do his deed — strange is his deed!
     and to work his work — alien is his work!
22Now therefore do not scoff,
     or your bonds will be made stronger;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
     from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole land.

Second Reading Revelation 20:11-21:8

20:11Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

21:1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
     "See, the home of God is among mortals.
     He will dwell with them;
     they will be his peoples,
     and God himself will be with them;
4   he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
     Death will be no more;
     mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
     for the first things have passed away."

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children 8But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Gospel Reading Luke 1:5-25

5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

8Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18Zechariah said to the angel, "How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years." 19The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur."

21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25"This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people."

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.