Exodus 1:12b, 22a
“…so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites…Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile…’”

Matthew 2:16
“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”

1 Peter 5:7-9
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you…Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”

Mighty God, your kingdom has domain over all the powers and princes of this world.

lionIn oppression you rescue us.  Though we are persecuted by the faithless and troubled from within, you raised up a deliverer who lifts the burden from our sin-weary souls.

In our sorrow and anxiety, remind us that we are people belonging to a different realm and you are bringing us home. Let us not be defeated by the short-lived power of the evil one.

We bring this request to you believing that the name of Christ has authority, for he took all our cares upon himself and claimed victory over the enemy’s furious threats.

Listen to ‘Canticle of the Turning’ by Emmaus Way

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Genesis 2:8-9
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.  In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Luke 1:34
“‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’”

1 Corinthians 8:2-3
“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.”

Lover of our souls, you desire that we experience the fullness of love in union with your divine being.

As in Adam’s virgin days, you call us to knowledge before knowledge, that we might walk with you and cherish you as our first love.

virginReplace our tainted familiarity with the seductive gods of this age with the beauty of innocence.  Cause us to long for you alone.

This we ask in the beautiful name of Christ, who, by submitting to intimacy with evil purchased our purity.

Listen to ‘All My Heart, This Night, Rejoices’ by Nathan Clark George with Mark Stoffel and Ross Sermons

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1 Samuel 17:15, 20, 23b
“…David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem…Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed.  He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions…Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.”

Luke 2:11
“’Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”

Isaiah 19:20b
“When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.”

Saviour of all, you are our provider and protector.

championOut of Bethlehem you drew a boy-warrior to fight the persecutor.  He pointed the way to a greater champion and defender of our souls, the child of whom the angels sang.

Thank you that we do not need to fear the battle, as it has already been won on our behalf.  Bring us to a place of trust in the humble Shepherd so that we call out your name with pride and put the skeptics to shame.

By our alliance with Christ the Lord, who challenged the Accusor and fought as our representative, we raise our hearts to you.

Listen to ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ by Sojourn

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Genesis 38:15-16, 24
“When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.  Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’…About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’  Judah said, ‘Bring her out and have her burned to death!’”

Matthew 1:18-19
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:  His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Zephaniah 3:19
“At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered.  I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.”

Protective Father, you provide hope despite the tragedies of our stories.

honourYou chose Joseph to redeem the actions of his forefather, Judah, who publicly shamed the woman carrying his child.  The faithful carpenter gave dignity to the woman whose child he had not fathered.

Be the lifter of our bowed down heads we pray.  Remove the stain of insults we have endured and rescue us from the one who would take advantage of our weak souls.

This we ask in the name of Tamar’s descendant Jesus Christ, who bore for us the shame of our sins that we might enjoy peace and protection in the household of God.

Listen to ‘Hail to the Lord’s Anointed’ by Sandra McCracken

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Luke 2:7b
“She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Mark 2:1-4
“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.  So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  Some men came, bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.”

Psalm 24:7
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”

To you, King of glory, belongs the earth, the sky and all that lies between and beyond.

roomWhen your Son left your side, he was not welcomed in to our crowded, calculating world.  Though we made no room for him, he made space for each desperate soul, disregarding crowds to touch the least of us.

Fill us with the capacity to draw the outsider in.  Enlarge our hearts so that we become an open gate through which all may enter.

We know we cannot hope for this graciousness apart from the power of our Saviour Jesus, who was shut out of glory so that we might enjoy the privilege of being ushered in.

Listen to ‘Silent Night’ by Priscilla Ahn

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1 Samuel 16:11-13
“So [Samuel] asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’  ‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered, ‘but he is tending the sheep.’…Then the Lord said ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’  So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [David]…and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.”

Luke 2:8-9a, 16-17a
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them…So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word…”

John 10:27-28
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

Great Shepherd, glory to you in the highest!

You are the Lamb that shepherds us, and when you call, all flock-tenders become sheep. We are created to live by the sound of your voice.

lambOpen our unimaginative hearts to hear you say, “Follow me!”  Guide us with your loving hand to safe pasture, and draw those on the hillside of faith into their true calling.

Humbly we ask this for the sake of Jesus, our sacrificial Lamb and the shepherd who laid down his life for his precious sheep.

Listen to ‘What Child is This?’ by Elaine Davis


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Isaiah 9:2
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Luke 9:28-29
“…after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.”

Acts 5:14-15
“…more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.  As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.”

Light of the world, your reign manifests itself in radiance.

We live in a dark place, with distress hovering black and cold over us.  Fear looms large to dim our spirits.

shadowLead us from the valley to the mountain, where your pure light overcomes every oppressive shadow.  Illuminate us by your presence, and may the silhouette of Christ in us bring healing to others.

Blessed be the name of the One who walked through the low places of death for us to bring us to the brightest heights.

Listen to ‘A Voice is Sounding‘ by Sojourn

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