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First Reading: Proverbs Chapter 29 and 30

Proverbs 29

29:1 Happy Is He Who Keeps the Law

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
3 Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice,But a companion of harlots wastes his wealth.
4 The king establishes the land by justice,But he who receives bribes overthrows it.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor Spreads a net for his feet.
6 By transgression an evil man is snared,But the righteous sings and rejoices.
7 The righteous considers the cause of the poor,But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.
8 Scoffers set a city aflame,But wise men turn away wrath.
9 If a wise man contends with a foolish man,Whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless,But the upright seek his well-being.
11 A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.
12 If a ruler pays attention to lies,All his servants become wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
14 The king who judges the poor with truth,His throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom,But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases;But the righteous will see their fall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest;Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;But happy is he who keeps the law.
19 A servant will not be corrected by mere words;For though he understands, he will not respond.
20 Do you see a man hasty in his words?There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 He who pampers his servant from childhood Will have him as a son in the end.
22 An angry man stirs up strife,And a furious man abounds in transgression.
23 A man's pride will bring him low,But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
24 Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life;He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.
25 The fear of man brings a snare,But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
26 Many seek the ruler's favor,But justice for man comes from the LORD.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.

Proverbs 30

30:1 The Wisdom of Agur

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel — to Ithiel and Ucal:
2 Surely I am more stupid than any man,And do not have the understanding of a man. 3 I neither learned wisdom Nor have knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?Who has gathered the wind in His fists?Who has bound the waters in a garment?Who has established all the ends of the earth?What is His name, and what is His Son's name,If you know?
5 Every word of God is pure;He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words,Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
7 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;Give me neither poverty nor riches — Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You,And say, "Who is the LORD?"Or lest I be poor and steal,And profane the name of my God.
10 Do not malign a servant to his master,Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.
11 There is a generation that curses its father,And does not bless its mother. 12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,Yet is not washed from its filthiness. 13 There is a generation — oh, how lofty are their eyes!And their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,And whose fangs are like knives,To devour the poor from off the earth,And the needy from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters — Give and Give!
There are three things that are never satisfied,Four never say, "Enough!": 16 The grave, The barren womb,The earth that is not satisfied with water — And the fire never says, "Enough!"
17 The eye that mocks his father,And scorns obedience to his mother,The ravens of the valley will pick it out,And the young eagles will eat it.
18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,Yes, four which I do not understand: 19 The way of an eagle in the air,The way of a serpent on a rock,The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,And the way of a man with a virgin.
20 This is the way of an adulterous woman:She eats and wipes her mouth,And says, "I have done no wickedness."
21 For three things the earth is perturbed,Yes, for four it cannot bear up: 22 For a servant when he reigns,A fool when he is filled with food, 23 A hateful woman when she is married,And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.
24 There are four things which are little on the earth,But they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong,Yet they prepare their food in the summer; 26 The rock badgers are a feeble folk,Yet they make their homes in the crags; 27 The locusts have no king,Yet they all advance in ranks; 28 The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,And it is in kings' palaces.
29 There are three things which are majestic in pace,Yes, four which are stately in walk: 30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any; 31 A greyhound, A male goat also,And a king whose troops are with him.
32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,And wringing the nose produces blood,So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Second Reading: Luke Chapter 2

Luke 2

2:1 Christ Born of Mary
(Matt 1:18-25)

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them,"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
21 Circumcision of Jesus

And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 Jesus Presented in the Temple

Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD"), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
25 Simeon Sees God's Salvation

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,And the glory of Your people Israel."
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
36 Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 The Family Returns to Nazareth

So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
41 The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."
49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
51 Jesus Advances in Wisdom and Favor

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Bible Background



Part 1 of 3

Luke is the third gospel. It is the most complete look at the life of Jesus. Luke uses eyewitnesses as sources for his writings. He stresses Jesus' humanity and compassion as well as the power of the Holy Spirit and of prayer. The main them is: Jesus Christ as the perfect man. It was written particulary for Greeks who delighted in wisdom, beauty and system. Luke, therefore, tells the story of Jesus, unfolding his development in a systematic manner, setting the facts in chronological order in a manner not attempted by the other writers. Luke was an artist with the pen, drawing the portrait of Jesus as the perfect man. He followed up by writing the book of Acts.


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