, 24 December 2022 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” (Gospel of St. Luke 2:1-6
Collect for Christmas Eve
December 24th, 2022
O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Begotten Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we as joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold Him when He shall come to be our Judge; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. AMEN. (A Prayer of Collect taken from the Gelasian Sacramentary Sarum, translated in 1549, Book of English Collects)
I believe just as many Christians have heard and sung the carol, On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, as those who have no idea that Christmas has traditionally been celebrated in the Church of England during the twelve days of the season called Christmastide beginning on December 25th and ending on Epiphany – January 6th. This is consistent with the traditional Church Yearly Calendar and Lectionary (1662 or 1928 BCP) that is designed to provide a broad understanding of the life and works of Christ by the prescribed sermon Gospel texts, Epistles, Old Testament readings and Psalms for each Sunday as well as each day of the week. The lectionary provides readings not only for Sunday and Communion worship but for Morning and Evening Prayer for each day of the week as well.
The 1st Day of Christmastide is the Nativity of our Lord (or Christmas Day) observed with appropriate Scripture readings. In the days following the first day of Christmastide follows the days observing St. Stephen the Martyr (December 26th), St. John the Evangelist (December 27th), the Massacre of the Holy Innocents at Bethlehem (December 28th), the 1st Sunday after Christmas, the Circumcision of Christ (January 1st), the 2nd Sunday after Christmas, and ending January 6th with the beginning of Epiphany Season (the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles illustrated by the coming of the Wise Men to visit the Christ Child). Christ came unto his own and there was no room found in the inn, but He came for both Jew and Gentile who would believe in the promise of a Redeemer made to Abraham. “10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Gospel of St. John 1:10-13 The coming of the Wise Men from the East symbolizes the acceptance of the Gentile nations of faith. The daily Morning and Evening Prayer Services intervening the Sundays of the season also bolster the joyful Spirit and meaning of Christmas.
There is much beauty illustrated in both truth and majesty in the Church Calendar, but especially at the Christmas Season. Whether Anglican, Baptist, or Presbyterian, I believe the Lectionary Readings of the traditional Book of Common Prayer of the Reformation Church of England will provide abundant spiritual benefits to all who take it up.
Merry Christmas and a joyful Christmastide of twelve days. Don’t let go of the Spirit!