Sunday, December 27, 2020
First Reading (Genesis 15:1-6; 21: 1-3)
 Some time later the word of Adonai came to Avram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Avram. I am your protector; your reward will be very great.”  Avram replied, “Adonai, God, what good will your gifts be to me if I continue childless; and Eli‘ezer from Dammesek inherits my possessions?
 You haven’t given me a child,” Avram continued, “so someone born in my house will be my heir.”  But the word of Adonai came to him: “This man will not be your heir. No, your heir will be a child from your own body.”
 Then he brought him outside and said, “Look up at the sky, and count the stars — if you can count them! Your descendants will be that many!”  He believed in Adonai, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
[21:1] Adonai remembered Sarah as he had said, and Adonai did for Sarah what he had promised.  Sarah conceived and bore Avraham a son in his old age, at the very time God had said to him.  Avraham called his son, born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitz’chak.
Second Reading (Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19)
 By trusting, Avraham obeyed, after being called to go outto a place which God would give him as a possession; indeed, he went out without knowing where he was going.  By trusting, he received potency to father a child, even when he was past the age for it, as was Sarah herself; because he regarded the One who had made the promise as trustworthy.
 Therefore this one man, who was virtually dead, fathered descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and as countless as the grains of the sand on the seashore.  By trusting, Avraham, when he was put to the test, offered up Yitz’chak as a sacrifice.
Yes, he offered up his only son, he who had received the promises, to whom it had been said, “What is called your ‘seed’ will be in Yitz’chak.”  For he had concluded that God could even raise people from the dead! And, figuratively speaking, he did so receive him.
Gospel (Luke 2: 22-40)
 When the time came for their purification according to the Torah of Moshe, they took him up to Yerushalayim to present him to Adonai  (as it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to Adonai”  and also to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Torah of Adonai.
 There was in Yerushalayim a man named Shim‘on. This man was a tzaddik, he was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Isra’el, and the Ruach HaKodesh was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Ruach HaKodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah of Adonai.
 Prompted by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts; and when the parents brought in the child Yeshua to do for him what the Torah required,  Shim‘on took him in his arms, made a b’rakhah to God, and said,  “Now, Adonai, according to your word, your servant is at peace as you let him go;  for I have seen with my own eyes your yeshu‘ah,  which you prepared in the presence of all peoples –  a light that will bring revelation to the Goyim and glory to your people Isra’el.”
 Yeshua’s father and mother were marvelling at the things Shim‘on was saying about him.  Shim‘on blessed them and said to the child’s mother, Miryam, “This child will cause many in Isra’el to fall and to rise, he will become a sign whom people will speak against;  moreover, a sword will pierce your own heart too. All this will happen in order to reveal many people’s inmost thoughts.”
 There was also a prophet named Hannah Bat-P’nu’el, of the tribe of Asher. She was a very old woman — she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage  and had remained a widow ever since; now she was eighty-four. She never left the Temple grounds but worshipped there night and day, fasting and praying.
 She came by at that moment and began thanking God and speaking about the child to everyone who was waiting for Yerushalayim to be liberated.
When Yosef and Miryam had finished doing everything required by the Torah of Adonai, they returned to the Galil, to their town Natzeret.  The child grew and became strong and filled with wisdom — God’s favor was upon him.