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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lectionary Leanings~On the 8th day of Christmas

Welcome to 2012! On this first day of the new year and 8th day of Christmas will you be celebrating the Feast of the Holy Name, or the second Sunday of Christmas? (Readings found here.) Both options feature gospel reading from Luke, the first focusing on the naming of Jesus after the shepherds' visit, and the second on the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and the encounters with Simeon and Anna, and both are rich with possibilility: what is in a name? And what power in the witness of two who have longed waited for the sight of the savior!

If you are on the second Sunday of Christmas, you also have the option of tackling Isaiah or a portion of the letter to the Gelatins. And if you are celebrating the Holy Name, you might choose from the Aaronic blessing in Numbers or the beautiful hymn in Philippians.

After a full Christmas weekend, many of us are feeling low on energy, and in this in-between time, it may be a "low Sunday" as well; perhaps you're taking this time to go off lectionary or have a special activity planned. Some of you might take this week for Lessons and Carols or the Christmas pageant.

Share your ideas, ponderings, and plans with us as we welcome a new year and continue our celebration of Christmas.

  • This cartoon originally appeared in the Church Times and is taken from ‘My Pew: Things I have seen from it’, published by Canterbury Press.


  1. Thinking I will go ahead and do some Three Wisemen for Epiphany on the 6th as we will be at B'ism of the Lord on the 8th. Hard to know what to do when it falls mid-week.
    Also, thinking we may do the Chalking/Blessing as I did in previous church...hoping I saved the little saying on the computer..
    Do y'all know what I am talking about? Does anyone have it?

  2. Here's what I had in my file. The note says it came from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer. So I must have lifted it from one of you RevGalPals last year.
    (Change the 11 to 12, of course)
    "Chalk is made of the substance of the earth and is used by teachers to instruct and by children to play. As the image of the chalk fades, we will remember the sign we have made and transfer it to our hearts and our habits.
    Take (blessed) chalk (of any colour) and mark on the lintel of your front door 20 + C + M + B + 11 saying:
    The three Wise Men,
C Caspar,
M Melchior,
B and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human
20 two thousand
11 and eleven years ago.
++ May Christ bless our home
++ and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
    C M B above the door, also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ Bless this House.”
    God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Christ, God’s incarnation, is present in the love and care we manifest to each other in our ordinary daily lives together."

  3. The chalk blessing Pastor Cindy posted is the one I used but I don't think it comes fron NZ prayer book. I found it on the web attributed to a variety of of sources.

    I am going with the Holy Name this Sunday. I have a sustainable sermon I' m going to work with on the power of being named and known by God.

    We are having a special Epiphany event on January 6 where we'll finish the Christmas story, bring the magi to the crèche and do the chalk blessing. We also have people bring "gifts for the baby Jesus" in the form of diapers for the local diaper bank.

  4. I'm really finding myself intrigued by Simeon and Anna this year-- What if Anna's words, like Simeon's, had been handed down by our liturgical ancestors? What would "the Canticle of Anna" sound like?

  5. You mean this Sunday???

    Simeon and Anna and that about as much as I've got.

  6. I have an abbreviated Lessons and Carols (7 instead of 9) for Sunday which starts with John 1 and ends with the wise men. I'm hoping to move the congregation from the manger to the temple to the wise men. There's communion as well, so I may need to drop some verses and keep any meditations on the readings VERY short.

  7. Ramona, can you share? I'd love to see what you're doing.

  8. Well, our church secretary sent out the newsletter with Jan 1 as Epiphany and Jan 8 as the Naming of Jesus, so I guess that's what we're doing.

    I'm ok with it; I've decided to inaugurate a journey theme for the year, so starting with the Magi and moving onto one's name are probably good ways of beginning.

  9. I'm laughing over the letter to the Gelatins, which is good because I'm too overfed and sleepy to want to plan for Sunday.

    We're doing Anna and Simeon, and talking about how we recognize God in all God's incarnations.

  10. Rev TSB - here are the lessons and carols I'm using:

    Lesson 1: John 1:1-5, 9-14
    Angels from the Realms of Glory… verses 1,4

    Lesson 2: Micah 5:2-5a
    Carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem, vs 1, 2

    Lesson 3: Luke 1:26-35, 38
    Carol: What Child is This?, vs 1, 2

    Lesson 4: Matthew 1:18-25
    Carol: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, vs 1, 2

    Lesson 5: Luke 2:8-20
    Carol: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

    Lesson 6: Luke 2:21-38
    Carol: Go Tell It on the Mountain, vs 1, 3

    Lesson 7: Matthew 2:1-12
    Carol: the First Noel

    I'm using John 1 as a responsive call to worship. If you're interested I can email you the service complete with my meditations (rough draft).

    We're ending the service with communion and the song "What Feast of Love" (it's to the tune of Greensleves). The idea is to be ready to dive into the Baptism of Our Lord the following Sunday.

  11. I was also wondering if those Gelatins got in trouble for all their wiggling and jiggling.

  12. Thank you to Pastor Cindy!!!
    Going with that for Sunday. Now to find some cheap chalk to tie up for every family. And try to figure out how many families will be there.
    Ugh, hard to say.

  13. Hi. I've just found this web page, much to my delight! Hope it's ok for me to comment. This Sunday I will do 2nd Sunday of Christmas as I have 2 baptisms and the presentation of Christ in the Temple seems most fitting. But that's about as far as I've got at this stage!
    Glad to have found you!

  14. Thanks, Ramona!!! We have communion, too, but I don't know that hymn.

    Most folks at my churches missed Christmas Eve service b/c of snow - one canceled and one only had a few. All the churches here where I live closed, too. So this will be a nice segway into baptism.

    MUCH apreciated!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Welcome, Pat! It's definitely OK to post!

    I'm not preaching again this week, part of the deal I worked with the Lutheran pastor with whom I'm sharing all the Christmas season services while they're church is being renovated. I sort of had and idea to do a dialogue sermon using Simeon and Anna this week, though, so when I talk to him tomorrow if he hasn't done much yet, I may pitch it to him. I don't know what it would be about, though, so I'm not sure we'll go with that. It's a little late in the week to start getting creative. Diane has had some good questions about names on FB, too, and I thought that might make a fun dialogue sermon. His lead in last week was a telling of the story of my son asking me "What's a Lutheran?" We could expand on that a little further until we get to Jesus's name and maybe even Jesus's followers' name.

    I've never done (or really heard of) Holy Name Sunday, but I like it. Sort of makes me wish it were my turn to preach again.

    I'm on for the children and thought about doing the chalk. I'll wait to see what he's doing. Might need to find a baby name book to use to go in that direction, I bet.

  17. Good morning! Our congregation is continuing to find its way into the future, now as a bicultural community. The English-speaking members avg age is 72. The avg age of the Spanish-spkg folks is 28 and bubbles over with young children. This was spectacularly evident at our Christmas pageant.

    I am exploring what Jesus' presentation at the Temple might tell us about our own circumstances. Can we see the children as the promise of a long-awaited future or are they an intrusion and interruption? How can our community bless--truly bless--these little ones? Good intersection of the lectionary and our life together...

  18. Wow, Rosa, I like your idea about how we can see children as promise or intrusion. I think I may follow up on that with the 2 baptisms I have -- and the inevitable noise of children in the congregation. Even -- how do we react to that noise -- as intrusion or promise? I've only been in the parish 3 months and follow on from a very rigid rector so I'm still trying to get the congregation to lighten up. They liked my bright pink dog collar on the day we lit the pink Advent candle! Being in South Africa I've never heard of the chalk. Can someone explain what it is?

  19. Here's some info on the chalking of the door and some other great thoughts if you're doing Epiphany:


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