Reflection on the Word in our Worship
Our Sunday worship on January 3rd is bordered by feasts on both sides. On Friday, January 1, the church celebrates Jesus' naming and his reception of the Old Covenant rite of circumcision. On January 6th, we celebrate the light of Christ reaching the nations with the feast of the Epiphany. Inbetween these significant events is the Second Sunday of Christmas on January 3.
In our New Testament lesson this Sunday we are confronted with the astounding proclamation that, in Christ, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). In response, we bless the God who blesses.
God is blessed in one way, humans in another. There is indeed one term blessing, but it should be understood as is proper to the recipient.…God is blessed when he is extolled with due praises, but the way in which God blesses human beings is to impart to them the gift of his grace, not according to their merits but according to his mercy.
-Ambrosiaster quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
The Collect for the Circumcision and Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ (January 1)
Almighty God, your blessed Son fulfilled the covenant of circumcision for our sake, and was given the Name that is above every name: Give us grace faithfully to bear his Name, and to worship him with pure hearts according to the New Covenant; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Collect for the Second Sunday of Christmas (January 3)
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 our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Collect for The Epiphany: The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles (January 6)
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(Click on the links below to read Sunday's passages)
(click below to listen to Incarnation's Advent Playlist)
1 How lovely are your dwellings, *
O Lord God of hosts!
2 My soul has a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord; *
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
3 Indeed, the sparrow has found her a house,
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young, *
even your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are they who dwell in your house; *
they will be always praising you.
5 Blessed is the one whose strength is in you, *
in whose heart are your ways,
6 Who going through the valley of misery uses it for a well; *
indeed, the early rains fill the pools with water.
7 They will go from strength to strength, *
and the God of gods shall be seen by them in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; *
hearken, O God of Jacob.
9 Behold, O God, our defender, *
And look upon the face of your Anointed.
10 For one day in your courts *
is better than a thousand;
11 I would rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God *
than dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
12 For the Lord God is a light and defense; *
the Lord will give grace and honor, and no good thing
shall he withhold from those who live a godly life.
13 O Lord God of hosts, *
blessed is the one who puts his trust in you.