Holy Family Sunday, 27 December: 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28; Psalms 105:1-9; 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24; Luke 2:41-52 ~ may your family grow in strength, health and favor with God

Holy Family Sunday

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening Sentence and Prayer:

As we continue our Christmas celebration, we honor the Holy Family of Jesus and entrust our families to God’s care in the New Year.
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As Your sons and daughters, O loving God, we come before You in thanksgiving, called and united by Your eternal Word. Teach us to ponder the mystery of Nazareth, that we may always find in You the source of our strength and the unity of our families. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
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Hymn: “O Come All Ye Faithful” at Westminster Abbey


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A Reading from the Old Testament: 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28 (NLT)
[Hannah presents her child to the Lord, just as Mary and Joseph later did for Jesus.]

In due time Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

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The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently. ”

When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord , and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
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A Reading from Psalms: Psalm 105:1-9 (NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord . Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant— the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac.
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“Give Thanks to the Lord (Psalm 105)” – Sean Dayton


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A Reading from the Letters: 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24 (NLT)

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
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And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 2:41-52 (NLT)

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Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.

When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
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Hymn: “Savior of the World” – Hillsong


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Intercessions:

God looks with love on all of creation: let us approach His throne of grace with confidence:

+ For all the members of the Christian family – that joy and peace may be theirs through the Christmas celebration…. Lord, hear us.
+ For homeless families, and refugees – that they may be protected and provided for…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the families in our communities – that the Word made flesh may be at the centre of every home…. Lord, hear us.
+ For familes where there is hurt or difficulty – that those who have suffered may find healing…. Lord, hear us.
+ For Christians facing persecution, that Saint Stephen, the first martyr, may inspire them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For people who are sick, and for all our families and friends in hospital or living in nursing homes – that we may not forget to pray for them and honour them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have died recently, especially from conflict in the Middle East, and for all we have known who have died during the year 2015 whom we remember now – that the light of heaven may be theirs. Lord, hear us.

God our creator, Your strength sustains Your people all their days: hear our prayers and stay with us throughout the New Year, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Hymn: “God rest ye merry gentlemen” – Mercy Me


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Benediction:

(May you) grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ, Life in Our Family

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