Scripture Readings (KJV)
(Epistle, Saturday before Nativity)
8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
(Gospel, Saturday before Nativity)
18Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
19It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
20And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
21It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
22And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Genesis 1.1-13 (Vespers)
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Numbers 24.2-3, 5-9, 17-18 (Vespers)
2And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.
3And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:
5How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!
6As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.
7He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
8God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
9He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.
17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
18And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.
Micah 4.6-7; 5.2-4 (Vespers)
6In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
7And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
2But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
3Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
4And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 11.1-10 (Vespers)
1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Jeremiah (Baruch 3.35-4.4) (Vespers)
35This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him
36He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
37Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men.
1This is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endureth for ever: all they that keep it shall come to life; but such as leave it shall die.
2Turn thee, O Jacob, and take hold of it: walk in the presence of the light thereof, that thou mayest be illuminated.
3Give not thine honour to another, nor the things that are profitable unto thee to a strange nation.
4O Israel, happy are we: for things that are pleasing to God are made known unto us.
Daniel 2.31-36, 44-45 (Vespers)
31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Isaiah 9.6-7 (Vespers)
6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 7.10-16; 8.1-4, 9-10 (Vespers)
10Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
13And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
1Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
2And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.
3And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
9Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
10Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
(Epistle, at Vespers)
15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
(Gospel, at Vespers)
1And 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.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And 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:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.