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Archive for the ‘December’ Category

12-29-thomasbecketThomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170.  Appointed by Henry II, Thomas was also assassinated in Canterbury Cathedral by the orders of Henry. Henry and Thomas had been in conflict over issues concerning the rights of the Church in relation to the State.    Thomas was born to a wealthy family, received a splendid education, and became skilled in sporting activities.  Noticing his obvious talents, Becket was made Lord Chancellor of England and supported Henry’s laws which often brought him into conflict with the Church.   To gain further control of the church, Henry appointed Thomas to be Archbishop of Canterbury, thinking that he could control the Church through Thomas.  After his appointment as archbishop, Thomas appears to have become a devout ascetic, engaging in works of charity and rigorous self-discipline.  Henry and Thomas came into conflict over many issues.  Henry wanted to be rid of Thomas and some of his Henry’s friends decided to assassinate Thomas, which they did on December 29, 1170, in the cathedral as monks were chanting their hymns.  It is still debated whether Henry actually wanted Becket to be killed.  Becket is, nevertheless, considered to have been martyred for his stand for Christ and His Church; Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:16-22.

CollectAlmighty and everlasting God, who dost enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of the Saints; Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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12-28-innocentsIn Matthew 2:16-18, we are told that Herod issued an order that all male babies two years old and under should be killed.  When Herod heard from the wise men that the King of the Jews had been born, he was determined to kill the Christ child.  Since he did not know the child’s true identity, he was trying to make sure that he killed the child by killing all the children who were born during the likely time period of the birth of Jesus.   No one is sure how many infants were killed, estimates ranging from 6 to 64,000.  Many Christians considered these infants to be the first martyrs, since they were killed because of the arrival of Christ into the world; Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:13-18; Collect: O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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12-27-stjohnJohn, one of the twelve apostles, wrote the Gospel that bears his name, the epistles of I, II, and III John, as well as the book of Revelation.  In the Gospel of John, he is referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”  John and his brother James, fishermen, were sons of Zebedee.  They were fishermen who left all to follow Jesus. He, Peter, and James were witnesses to some events that the other disciples were not.  Of all the apostles, John alone was at the foot of the cross as Jesus died and was one of the first witnesses of the resurrection.  He and Peter worked together in the early parts of the book of Acts to establish and confirm the early Christian movement.  According to some traditions, John was the bishop of the church in Ephesus before being exiled to Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation.  It is said that he taught Polycarp who later became the bishop of Smyrna; Scripture Reading: John 21:19-25.

CollectO MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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12-26-ststephenStephen was the first martyr of the Christian Church after the death of Christ.  He is considered to be one of the first deacons, being chosen to help the apostles serve those in need in order that the apostles might give themselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word.  Put on trial before the Jews, his defense further enraged them.  He was stoned, while a young man named Saul, (later the Apostle Paul) consented to the death of Stephen and held the cloaks of those who stoned him; Scripture Reading: Acts 7:55-60.

Collect: GRANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those who suffer for thee. our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

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12-25-christmasOn this day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospels of Matthew and Luke and Luke give us a great deal of information concerning the events surrounding his birth.  Though we are not certain concerning the exact date of the birth of Jesus, December 25 was decided upon in Rome in 336.  Christmas Day is celebrated as we remember the greatest gift that God to the world:  His only Son.  God became man so that he is called “Emmanuel,” “God with us.”  As we share gifts with one another, let us remember the gift of Jesus who came to save his people from their sins. Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-14

 

Collect: ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

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Ambrose – Dec 7

 

ambroseDecember 7 –Ambrose (338-397)

Ambrose was bishop of Milan.  Recognized as one of the four doctors of the Church, along with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great, he is especially known for his contribution to the conversion of Augustine.  Educated at Rome, he studied law, rhetoric, and literature.  Famous for his stand against the heresy of Arianism, he was eventually made the bishop of Milan.  He gave large sums of money to the poor and lived an ascetic lifestyle.  A gifted orator, he made an impression on the young Augustine.  Extremely interested in Church music, Ambrose is sometimes credited with writing the Te Deum; Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-44; Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who dost enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of the Saints; Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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