The Introit

Then you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of | Egypt,
and in the morning you shall see the glory | of the Lord.
The earth is the Lord’s ad the full- | ness thereof,
the world and those who | dwell therein.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Then you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of | Egypt,
and in the morning you shall see the glory | of the Lord.

The Collect of the Day

O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that as we joyfully receive Him as our Redeemer, we may with sure confidence behold Him when He comes to be our Judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

 
The Nativity,   1560, Artist Unknown, Italian, from the  Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Nativity, 1560, Artist Unknown, Italian, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Gradual

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation | of our God.*
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, | all the earth.
The LORD has made known his sal- | vation;*
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the | nations.

The Old Testament

Isaiah 7:10–14

Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

The Epistle

1 John 4:7–16

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

 
The Nativity, 1778  , Carl Ernst Christoph Hess, German, from the  Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Nativity, 1778, Carl Ernst Christoph Hess, German, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Holy Gospel

Matthew 1:18–25

Alleluia . The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you." Alleluia.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.