24 December 2020

Praying in Advent with USPG:
26, Thursday 24 December 2020

‘To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death …’ (see Luke 1: 79) … the choirstalls in the private chapel at Markree Castle, Co Sligo (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.

I am one of the contributors to the current USPG Diary, Pray with the World Church, introducing the theme of peace and trust next week.

Later this evening, as Advent turns to Christmas, I had hoped to preside at the Christmas Eucharist in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry (6 p.m.) and in Castletown Church, Co Limerick (8 p.m.). But, on the advice of the Bishop, because of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, all public Christmas services have been cancelled throughout the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe.

Before what should be a busy day starts, I am taking a little time this morning for my own personal prayer, to be still, to reflect and for Scripture reading.

The theme of the USPG Prayer Diary this week (20 to 26 December 2020) is ‘Christmas in the Holy Land.’ This week’s theme is introduced by the Very Revd Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of Saint George’s College, Jerusalem.

Thursday 24 December 2020 (Christmas Eve):

Let us pray for safety on the road for all those who are travelling to be with their loved ones for Christmas.

The Collect of the Day (Christmas Eve):

Almighty God,
you make us glad with the yearly remembrance
of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ:
Grant that, as we joyfully receive him as our redeemer,
we may with sure confidence behold him
when he shall come to be our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

God for whom we wait,
you feed us with the bread of eternal life:
Keep us watchful, that we may be ready
to stand before the Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luke 1: 67-79 (NRSVA):

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

68 ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s morning reflection

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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