Electronic Prayer Book

Octave of Christmas Morning

 

8th day of Christmas
(Or if a Sunday, go to Sunday During Christmas Week)

 

Part 1. From the Divine Office

 

 

Opening

 

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth shall proclaim Your praise.

O God, come to my assistance,
O Lord, make haste to my help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Halleluia.

 

New Year’s Day

Christmas Day

The oldest Roman records of early Church celebrations of Christmas indicate the first Christians marked the completion of a whole week given to commemorating the birth of Christ. As the 1st January was the 8th day, commencing a new week, it started the Christian custom of capping the week’s festivity with some special or appropriate focus. Then, unlike today, little attention was given to the fact that, in this case, it was the first day of the secular calendar. From the beginning, therefore, the Church extended some of the Christmas celebration over into the Octave Day. Later a second celebration was added, the divine motherhood of Mary, and references to this appear in our devotions today. Since the sixth century a third festival has been incorporated into the Octave Day — that of the Circumcision of Jesus.

Eight days after His birth, Jesus underwent, like all Jewish boys, the ceremony of circumcision enjoined on Abraham by God as a pledge of his faith: and He received the name of Jesus. The festival commemorates our Lord’s first shedding of His Precious Blood, for love of us; reminds us of the great price paid by Him for our redemption; vividly portrays His obedient humility. In need of no spiritual cleansing, Christ obeyed the Jewish Law by undergoing Circumcision, a pre-figurement of Baptism. What Circumcision symbolised, Baptism accomplishes: the removal of evil from the soul.

Acclamations For Reflection

Celebrating the prophecies of our Messiah’s coming, His birth, and His return at the end of time.

 
 
  • In the beginning, before the ages began, the Word was God, and it is He who was born today as Saviour of the world.
 
  • Begotten before the daystar and before the ages began, the Lord, our Saviour deigned to be born today.
 
  • When the Lord was born, a choir of Angels kept singing, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb”.
 
 

From Psalm 97 [98]

 

The Lord, Judge and Ruler of the Universe

 

 

Sing to the Lord a new song, because he has done wonderful things.

His right hand and his holy arm have brought him victory.

The Lord has made known his salvation, in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.

He has been mindful of his goodness and faithfulness toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Acclaim the Lord, all the earth, be glad, rejoice and sing praises.

 

 

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody, with trumpets and the sound of the horn: shout joyfully before the king, the Lord.

Let the sea roar and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.

Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains; sing in chorus, before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is, was and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Reading — St. Luke 2: 21

 

At that time, when eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the Child,
His name was called Jesus, the name given Him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Commentary by Bishop St. Ambrose (4th Century)

And so the Child is circumcised. Who is this child but He of whom it was said, “A Child is born to us, a Son is given us”? He became as one under the Law that He might gain those under the Law. “…..to present Him to the Lord.” I would speak on the significance of His being presented to the Lord in Jerusalem if I had not already discussed it in my commentary on Isaias. In the Lord’s eyes, one circumcised of vices is judged worthy; for “The Lord has eyes for the just”. You can see that the whole course of the Old Law was a type of what was to come. So with the circumcision too: it signifies the purification from sin. We know that man, weak in both body and soul, has a certain proclivity for sinning, and gets inextricably entangled in various vices. Our Lord’s circumcision on the eight day, then, signified that the purging of all sin would take place at the time of His Resurrection. To continue, the meaning of the text, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”, is that by these words of the Law the Virgin’s childbearing was promised. For He who was sinless was certainly holy. Moreover, it was shown that this really was He whom the Law foretold when the angel repeated the words. “The Holy One to be born “, he said, “shall be called the Son of God”.

For all those born of woman only the Lord Jesus is perfectly holy. As a result of His unique and unblemished birth He did not feel the damaging effects of earth’s corruption; in fact, He destroyed those effects by His heavenly splendour. Indeed, if we would take the text in question literally, how could we call every male offspring holy, when it is obvious that many have been most infamous? Achab could not be called holy, could he? Nor could those bogus prophets whom the avenging fire of an outraged heaven annihilated, at Elias’ request. No; the Holy One is He to whom, the sacred prescriptions of the Old Law were pointing when they outlined in figure the mystery that was to come. For He alone opened the secret, immaculate, fruitful womb of the holy virgin Church to bring forth the people of God.

 
 

Alternative Readings

 
Old Testament The Gospels Epistles of St. Paul Other Epistles
 
 

Hymn as a Prayer

     

Jesus, Redeemer of all men, You were begotten by the mighty Father, before light was created, as His equal in glory.

O Light and radiance of the Father, and man’s unfailing hope, accept the prayers of of Your servants the world over.

Remember, Creator of the world, that long ago, at Your birth, You took our body’s form from the Virgin’s holy womb.

The present day, as it comes round every year, bears witness to this — that You, the only begotten of the Father, have come to be man’s salvation.

 

The heavens, the earth, the sea and every creature under heaven greet Him with a new song as the author of new salvation.

And we too, cleansed by the redeeming stream of Your holy blood, make this gift of a hymn of praise on Your birthday.

 

Glory be to You, Jesus, born of the Virgin; and glory be to the Father and loving Spirit through endless ages. Amen

     
 
     
 
 

Zackary’s Hymn of Praise — St. Luke 1: 68 — 79

 

St. Luke records (Luke 1: 67) that the father of John the Baptist, eight days after the birth of his son, “filled with the Holy Spirit”, uttered this prophecy, which has remained a daily prayer for Christians.

 
 
 
Antiphon

A wondrous mystery is revealed this day: natures are renewed, God has become man. He remained what He was and assumed what He has not, undergoing neither confusion nor division.

   
       

 

       

Blessed be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and wrought redemption for his people,

And has raised up a horn # of salvation for us in the house of David his servant,

As he promised through the mouths of his holy ones the prophets from of old;

Salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes

He has fulfilled his kindness to all our fathers and been mindful of his holy covenant

In the Oath to Abraham our father, by which he swore to grant us

That, delivered from the hands of our enemies, we should serve him without fear.

In holiness and justice before him all our days. —

 

And you, O child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

To give his people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins,

Because of the compassionate kindness of our God with which the Orient from on high will visit us,

To shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

       
 

# “Horn of salvation.”

Horn refers originally to the power of an ox. It came to be applied to people and here, to the royal saving power of the messiah.

 
Antiphon

A wondrous mystery is revealed this day: natures are renewed, God has become man. He remained what He was and assumed what He has not, undergoing neither confusion nor division.

 
 

The Lord’s Prayer

 
 

Traditional

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

Amen.

 

Contemporary

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.

Amen.

 

Prayer

 
 

O God, by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, You bestowed upon the human race the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we request You, that we may feel the power of her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of Life, Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord. Who with You, lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Closing

   
 

V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

R. Who made heaven and earth.

   

May the all powerful and merciful
Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
bless and preserve us.

Amen.

 

Part 2. Devotions Throughout Christmastide | Part 3. The Angelus

Part 4. Prayers For Protection