Worship in the Home: January 3, 2021

Posted on December 28, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Second Sunday of Christmas, Year B
January 3, 2021

In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle near where you pray and incorporate other symbols of Christmas. One person may lead in this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Almighty God, you have filled all the earth with the light of your incarnate Word. By your grace empower us to reflect your light in all that we do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Then the readings for this day may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  Jeremiah 31:7-14

7Thus says the LORD:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
“Save, O LORD, your people,
the remnant of Israel.”
8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I am as a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is as my firstborn.

10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather them,
and will keep them as a shepherd a flock.”
11For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed Jacob’s people from hands too strong for them.
12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
13Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the LORD.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


The Psalm may be sung or read in response to the First Reading.

Psalm 147:12-20

12Worship the LORD,  | O Jerusalem;
praise your | God, O Zion,
13who has strengthened the bars | of your gates
and has blessed your chil- | dren within you.
14God has established peace | on your borders
and satisfies you with the | finest wheat.
15God sends out a command | to the earth,
a word that runs | very swiftly. R
16God gives | snow like wool,
scattering | frost like ashes.
17God scatters | hail like bread crumbs.
Who can stand a- | gainst God’s cold?
18The LORD sends forth the | word and melts them;
the wind blows, and the | waters flow.
19God declares the | word to Jacob,
statutes and judg- | ments to Israel.
20The LORD has not done so to any | other nation;
they do not know God’s judgments. | Hallelujah!


Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that before God we should be holy and blameless in love. 5God destined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ: this was God’s good pleasure and will, 6to the praise of God’s glorious grace, freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of God’s grace 8 lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9God has made known to us the mystery of the divine will, according to God’s good pleasure set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to divine counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of God’s glory. 13In Christ you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of God’s glory.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: John 1:[1-9] 10-18

The holy gospel according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The Word was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through the Word, without whom not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.]

10The light was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made God known.

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think on this:

This year on the Tenth Day of Christmas we keep Sunday once more, and the whole mystery of the incarnation of God in Christ washes over us again. Of course, we are often part of that world that does not know him, his own people who do not accept him. But the Word is given to us in these readings. Receiving it, the Spirit of God comes to us and we are brought to faith again. We welcome into our hearts and lives Jesus Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, the very one who has shared our nature and our lot, the very light that illumines all things. Then, as we rightly weep about the needs of ourselves and others, God meets us with consolations. Hearing the Word together with all the church, we are made a watered garden, a place of grain, wine and oil in the sacraments, a rescued city, a people of the light. In the Word, which is the very presence of Christ, we receive grace upon grace. We are renewed to turn with this same news to our neighbors and to all the suffering earth.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 295), Jesus, the Light of the World” (All Creation Sings 914 / This Far By Faith 59), Peace Came to Earth” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 285). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Jesus, the Light of the World


Then pray these intercessions:

As we near the conclusion of the Christmas season, let us pray for God’s mercy throughout this new year, responding to each petition with words from the first reading, “Save your people, O LORD.”

A brief silence.

All through 2021, O redeeming God, bless your church. Renew the strength of bishops, pastors, deacons, musicians, and all servants of the church. Assist congregations in paying their bills. Give us hope in your goodness and joy in your salvation.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O bountiful God, bless your earth. Hold the ecosystems of this earth in the balance you intend, from coastlands to farmlands, forests to wetlands, deserts to rainforests. Reveal new ways for us to live in harmony with your creation.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O ruling God, bless the nations of the world. Bring peace and justice where there is violence and abuse of power. Inspire those in authority to serve the common good, and preserve stability in the United States. Protect those who risk danger for the sake of others.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O reconciling God, lead us out of patterns of prejudice and into reconciliation with one another. Help us to honor all persons as members of your family and our siblings under your care.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O loving God, give us wisdom in our resolutions and strength during hardships. Console those who are afraid or lonely. Give jobs to the unemployed. Direct us toward the solution to the world’s problems, to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, to serve the neighbor.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O compassionate God, attend to those who suffer. End the pandemic. Restore health care workers. Heal the sick. Accompany those living with chronic and invisible illness. Visit those for whom we pray: . . . .

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

All through 2021, O precious God, pour over us and into us your Holy Spirit, that we may live as your own, and accept the silent petitions we offer.

A longer period of silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

At this beginning of 2021, O eternal God, hear our praise for all those whose lives proclaimed your praise, especially those who died during 2020. At our end, bring us with them into the garden watered by your mercy.

A brief silence.

Receive our prayer, merciful God.
Save your people, O LORD.

O God, you are the Beginning and the Ending of all. Receive our prayers for the sake of one who made known to us the mystery of your will, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Light Dawns on a Weary World” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 726), The First Noel” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 300). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

The First Noel


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.
Holy God,
the Beginning and the Ending, our Hope as we wait,
we praise you for joining us to your people of old.
We bless you for your prophets who call us to righteousness
and promise a new earth with peace for all.
For the Word of your covenant, we thank you, O God.
We thank you, O God.

We praise you for the coming of Jesus our Lord,
who lifts up the lowly, heals the suffering world,
and proclaims your way of mercy and truth.
For your Word who is Christ, we magnify you, O God.
We magnify you, O God.

Send your Spirit on all who receive your Word.
Nurture our faith with your grace,
accompany us with your might,
and empower our zeal for your justice and joy.
For your Word through the church, we praise you, O God.
We praise you, O God.

All praise to you, holy God,
today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.


Then speak the Blessing:

Almighty God,
who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary,
proclaimed joy through the angels,
sent the shepherds with good news,
and led the magi by a star,
bless us this day + through the Word made flesh.


Here is a brief prayer to use as a table grace for the 12 days of Christmas:

With joy and gladness we feast upon your love, O God.
You have come among us in Jesus, your Son,
And your presence now graces this table.
May Christ dwell in us that we might bear his love to all the world,
For he is Lord forever and ever.


Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “A Babe Is Born;” “O God of Light;” “Now the Heavens Start to Whisper.”


Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 110. Tuesday Luke 6:27-31. Wednesday (Epiphany of Our Lord) Matthew 2:1-12. Thursday Psalm 29. Friday 1 Timothy 4:11-16. Saturday 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12. Baptism of Our Lord: Genesis 1:1-15; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11.

Daily Prayer Resources are available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide downloadable hymns that are in the public domain and selected hymns for limited use. Other suggestions provided above may be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. To purchase copies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648. Selected hymns from All Creation Sings will be provided for limited use.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, sundaysandseasons.com, and Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2020-21 © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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