December 25

Isaiah 60

1Up! let your face be bright, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is shining on you.

2For truly, the earth will be dark, and the peoples veiled in blackest night; but the Lord will be shining on you, and his glory will be seen among you.

3And nations will come to your light, and kings to your bright dawn.

4Let your eyes be lifted up, and see: they are all coming together to you: your sons will come from far, and your daughters taken with loving care.

5Then you will see, and be bright with joy, and your heart will be shaking with increase of delight: for the produce of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

6You will be full of camel-trains, even the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba will come, with gold and spices, giving word of the great acts of the Lord.

7All the flocks of Kedar will come together to you, the sheep of Nebaioth will be ready for your need; they will be pleasing offerings on my altar, and my house of prayer will be beautiful.

8Who are these coming like a cloud, like a flight of doves to their windows?

9Vessels of the sea-lands are waiting for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, so that your sons may come from far, and their silver and gold with them, to the place of the name of the Lord your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful.

10And men from strange countries will be building up your walls, and their kings will be your servants: for in my wrath I sent punishment on you, but in my grace I have had mercy on you.

11Your doors will be open at all times; they will not be shut day or night; so that men may come into you with the wealth of the nations, with their kings at their head.

12For the nation or kingdom which will not be your servant will come to destruction; such nations will be completely waste.

13The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the sherbin-tree together, to make my holy place beautiful; and the resting-place of my feet will be full of glory.

14And the sons of those who were cruel to you will come before you with bent heads; and those who made sport of you will go down on their faces at your feet; and you will be named, The Town of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15And though you were turned away from, and hated, and had no helper, I will make you a pride for ever, a joy from generation to generation.

16And you will take the milk of the nations, flowing from the breast of kings; and you will see that I, the Lord, am your saviour, and he who takes up your cause, the Strong One of Jacob.

17In place of brass, I will give gold, and for iron silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: and I will make Peace your judge, and Righteousness your overseer.

18Violent acts will no longer be seen in your land, wasting or destruction in your limits; but your walls will be named, Salvation, and your doors Praise.

19The sun will not be your light by day, and the moon will no longer be bright for you by night: but the Lord will be to you an eternal light, and your God your glory.

20Your sun will never again go down, or your moon keep back her light: for the Lord will be your eternal light, and the days of your sorrow will be ended.

21Your people will all be upright, the land will be their heritage for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, to be for my glory.

22The smallest of their families will become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I, the Lord, will make it come quickly in its time.

Ezekiel 37

1The hand of the Lord had been on me, and he took me out in the spirit of the Lord and put me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones;

2And he made me go past them round about: and I saw that there was a very great number of them on the face of the wide valley, and they were very dry.

3And he said to me, Son of man, is it possible for these bones to come to life? And I made answer, and said, It is for you to say, O Lord.

4And again he said to me, Be a prophet to these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, give ear to the word of the Lord.

5This is what the Lord has said to these bones: See, I will make breath come into you so that you may come to life;

6And I will put muscles on you and make flesh come on you, and put skin over you, and breath into you, so that you may have life; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

7So I gave the word as I was ordered: and at my words there was a shaking of the earth, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8And looking I saw that there were muscles on them and flesh came up, and they were covered with skin: but there was no breath in them.

9And he said to me, Be a prophet to the wind, be a prophet, son of man, and say to the wind, The Lord has said: Come from the four winds, O wind, breathing on these dead so that they may come to life.

10And I gave the word at his orders, and breath came into them, and they came to life and got up on their feet, a very great army.

11Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are all the children of Israel: and see, they are saying, Our bones have become dry our hope is gone, we are cut off completely.

12For this cause be a prophet to them, and say, This is what the Lord has said: See, I am opening the resting-places of your dead, and I will make you come up out of your resting-places, O my people; and I will take you into the land of Israel.

13And you will be certain that I am the Lord by my opening the resting-places of your dead and making you come up out of your resting-places, O my people.

14And I will put my spirit in you, so that you may come to life, and I will give you a rest in your land: and you will be certain that I the Lord have said it and have done it, says the Lord.

15And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

16And you, son of man, take one stick, writing on it, For Judah and for the children of Israel who are in his company: then take another stick, writing on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the children of Israel who are in his company:

17Then, joining them one to another, make them one stick, so that they may be one in your hand.

18And when the children of your people say to you, Will you not make clear to us what these things have to do with us?

19Then say to them, This is what the Lord has said: See, I am taking the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel who are in his company; and I will put it on the stick of Judah and make them one stick, and they will be one in my hand.

20And the sticks with your writing on them will be in your hand before their eyes.

21And say to them, These are the words of the Lord: See, I am taking the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and will get them together on every side, and take them into their land:

22And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king over them all: and they will no longer be two nations, and will no longer be parted into two kingdoms:

23And they will no longer make themselves unclean with their images or with their hated things or with any of their sins: but I will give them salvation from all their turning away in which they have done evil, and will make them clean; and they will be to me a people, and I will be to them a God.

24And my servant David will be king over them; and they will all have one keeper: and they will be guided by my orders and will keep my rules and do them.

25And they will be living in the land which I gave to Jacob, my servant, in which your fathers were living; and they will go on living there, they and their children and their children’s children, for ever: and David, my servant, will be their ruler for ever.

26And I will make an agreement of peace with them: it will be an eternal agreement with them: and I will have mercy on them and make their numbers great, and will put my holy place among them for ever.

27And my House will be over them; and I will be to them a God, and they will be to me a people.

28And the nations will be certain that I who make Israel holy am the Lord, when my holy place is among them for ever.

Luke 2:1-20

1Now it came about in those days that an order went out from Caesar Augustus that there was to be a numbering of all the world.

2This was the first numbering, which was made when Quirinius was ruler of Syria.

3And all men went to be numbered, everyone to his town.

4And Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judaea, to Beth-lehem, the town of David, because he was of the house and family of David,

5To be put on the list with Mary, his future wife, who was about to become a mother.

6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

7And she had her first son; and folding him in linen, she put him to rest in the place where the cattle had their food, because there was no room for them in the house.

8And in the same country there were keepers of sheep in the fields, watching over their flock by night.

9And an angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining round about them: and fear came on them.

10And the angel said, Have no fear; for truly, I give you good news of great joy which will be for all the people:

11For on this day, in the town of David, a Saviour has come to birth, who is Christ the Lord.

12And this is the sign to you: you will see a young child folded in linen, in the place where the cattle have their food.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a great band of spirits from heaven, giving praise to God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace among men with whom he is well pleased.

15And when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the keepers of the sheep said to one another, Let us go now to Beth-lehem, and see this thing which has come about, which the Lord has made clear to us.

16And they came quickly, and saw Mary and Joseph, and the child in the place where the cattle had their food.

17And when they saw it, they gave them an account of the things which had been said to them about the child.

18And all those to whose ears it came were full of wonder at the things said by the keepers of the sheep.

19But Mary kept all these words in her heart, and gave much thought to them.

20Then the keepers of the sheep went back, giving glory and praise to God for all the things which had come to their ears and which they had seen, as it had been said to them.

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