Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Jeremiah 31:15-17, Psalm 124, Revelation 21:1-7, and Matthew 2:13-18
Mary and Joseph and the Christ-child became persecuted refugees after Jesus was born. Herod wanted to kill them: “And he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.”
After 2,000 years, very little has changed. There are still people who are forced to leave everything they know, love and find familiar; rich or poor, though no fault of their own. Think back over the news stories you have heard this year of people being forced out of their homes by war, persecution or disaster. Pray for those refugees now. You may find the following prayer helpful:
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.