An Uncommon Lectionary: A Companion to Common Lectionaries

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Christmas Day, December 25
December 26
December 27
December 28
December 29
December 30
December 31
January 1
January 2
January 3
January 4
January 5

The Uncommon Lectionary provides readings from gospels outside the New Testament—Thomas, Peter, Mary (Magdalene), the Sayings Gospel Q—and from other early church documents such as the Didache, the Secret Book of James, and the Odes of Solomon. Designed to complement and supplement common lectionaries, it helps priests, pastors, and liturgical leaders introduce modern listeners to the message of Jesus as it was understood and experienced in all its variety by his earliest followers. This section provides Christmas readings following the liturgical calendar.

Christmas Day, December 25

Reading Sibylline Oracles, Book 10, lines 456–479, OTP

In the last times God changed the earth and, coming late as a new light, he rose from the womb of the Virgin Mary. Coming from heaven, he put on a mortal form. First, then Gabriel was revealed in his strong and holy person. Second, the archangel also addressed the maiden in speech:

“Receive God, Virgin, in your immaculate bosom.” Thus speaking, he breathed in the grace of God, even to one who was always a maiden. Fear, and at the same time, wonder seized her as she listened. She stood trembling. Her mind fluttered while her heart was shaken by the unfamiliar things she heard.

But again she rejoiced, and her heart was healed by the voice. The maiden laughed and reddened her cheek, rejoicing with joy and enchanted in her heart with awe. Courage also came over her.

A word flew to her womb. In time it was made flesh and came to life in the womb, and was fashioned in mortal form and became a boy by virgin birth.

For this is a great wonder to men, but nothing is a great wonder for God the Father and God the Son. The joyful earth fluttered to the child at its birth. The heavenly throne laughed and the world rejoiced. A wondrous, new shining star was venerated by Magi. The newborn child was revealed in a manger to those who obey God: cowherds and goatherds and shepherd of sheep. And Bethlehem was said to be the divinely named homeland of the Word.

Psalm: Ode 19

A cup of milk is offered to me*
and I drink its sweetness as the delight of the Lord.
The Son is the cup and the Father is the one Who is milked.*
The Holy Spirit is she who milks him.
His breasts are full*
and his milk should not drip out wastefully.
The Holy Spirit opens the Father’s bosom*
and mingles the milk from the Father’s two breasts.
She gives that mingling to the world, which is unknowing.*
Those who drink it are near the Father’s right hand.
The Spirit opens the Virgin’s womb and she receives the milk.*
The Virgin becomes a mother of great mercy;
She labors and bears a Son without pain.*
No midwife comes.
She bears him strongly, openly, with dignity, with kindness.*
She loves him, swaddles him, and reveals his majesty.

Gospel: Infancy Gospel of James 18–19, SV

Joseph found a cave nearby and took Mary inside. He stationed his sons to guard her and went to look for a Hebrew midwife in the country around Bethlehem.

“Now I, Joseph, was walking along and yet not going anywhere. I looked up at the vault of the sky and saw it standing still, and then at the clouds and saw them paused in amazement, and at the birds of the sky suspended in midair. As I looked on the earth, I saw a bowl lying there and workers reclining around it with their hands in the bowl; some were chewing and yet did not chew; some were picking up something to eat and yet did not pick it up; and some were putting food in their mouths and yet did not do so. Instead, they were all looking upward.

“I saw sheep being driven along and yet the sheep stood still; the shepherd was lifting his hand to strike them, and yet his hand remained raised. And I observed the current of the river and saw goats with their mouths in the water and yet they were not drinking. Then all of a sudden everything and everybody went on with what they had been doing.

“Then I saw a woman coming down from the hill country, and she asked, ‘Where are you going, sir?’

“I replied, ‘I am looking for a Hebrew midwife.’

“She inquired, ‘Are you an Israelite?’

“I told her, ‘Yes.’

“And she said, ‘And who’s the one having a baby in the cave?’

“I replied, ‘My fiancee.’

“And she continued, ‘She isn’t your wife?’

“I said to her, ‘She is Mary, who was raised in the temple of the Lord; I obtained her by lot as my wife. But she’s not really my wife; she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit.’

“The midwife said, ‘Really?’”

Joseph responded, “Come and see.”

And the midwife went with him. As they stood in front of the cave, a dark cloud overshadowed it. The midwife said, “I’ve really been privileged, because today my eyes have seen a miracle in that salvation has come to Israel.”

Suddenly the cloud withdrew from the cave and an intense light appeared inside the cave, so that their eyes could not bear to look. And a little later that light receded until an infant became visible; he took the breast of his mother Mary.

Then the midwife shouted: “What a great day this is for me because I’ve seen this new miracle!”

And the midwife left the cave and met Salome and said to her, “Salome, Salome, let me tell you about a new marvel: a virgin has given birth, and you know that’s impossible!”

And Salome replied, “As the Lord my God lives, unless I insert my finger and examine her, I will never believe that a virgin has given birth.”

December 26

Reading: Exodus 1:15–21, Tanakh

The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, saying, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the birthstool: if it is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘“Why have you done this thing, letting the boys live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women: they are vigorous. Before the midwife can come to them, they have given birth.”

And God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and increased greatly.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: Infancy Gospel of James 20, SV

The midwife entered and said, “Mary, position yourself for an examination. You are facing a serious test.”

And so Mary, when she heard these instructions, positioned herself, and Salome inserted her finger into Mary. And then Salome cried aloud and said, “I’ll be damned because of my transgression and my disbelief; I have put the living God on trial. Look! My hand is disappearing! It’s being consumed by the flames!”

Then Salome fell on her knees in the presence of the Lord, with these words: “God of my ancestors, remember me because I am a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not make an example of me for the people of Israel, but give me a place among the poor again. You yourself know, Lord, that I’ve been healing people in your name and have been receiving payment from you.”

And suddenly a messenger of the Lord appeared, saying to her, “Salome, Salome, the Lord of all has heard your prayer. Hold out your hand to the child and pick him up, and then you’ll have salvation and joy.”

Salome approached the child and picked him up with these words: “I’ll worship him because he’s been born to be king of Israel.” And Salome was instantly healed and left the cave vindicated.

Then a voice said, abruptly, “Salome, Salome, don’t report the marvels you’ve seen until the child goes to Jerusalem.”

December 27

First Reading: Isaiah 1:1–4, Tanakh

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth,
For the LORD has spoken:
I reared children and brought them up —
And they have rebelled against Me!
An ox knows its owner,
An ass its master’s crib:
Israel does not know,
My people takes no thought.”
Ah, sinful nation!
People laden with iniquity!
Brood of evildoers!
Depraved children!
They have forsaken the LORD,
Spurned the Holy One of Israel,
Turned their backs on Him.

Second Reading: Sibylline Oracles, Book I, lines 324–355, OTP

Then indeed the son of the great God will come, incarnate, likened to mortal men on earth . . . Consider in your heart Christ, the son of the most high, immortal God. He will fulfill the law of God — not destroy it — bearing a likeness which corresponds to types, and he will teach everything.

Priests will bring gifts to him, bringing forward gold, myrrh, and incense.

For he will also do all these things.

But when a certain voice will come through the desert land bringing tidings to mortals, and will cry out to all to make the paths straight and cast away evils from the heart, and that every human person may be illumined by waters, so that being born from above they may no longer in any respect at all transgress justice — but a man with barbarous mind, enslaved to dances will cut out this voice and give it as a reward — then there will suddenly be a sign to mortals when a beautiful stone which has been preserved will come from the land of Egypt. Against this the people of the Hebrews will stumble. But the gentiles will be gathered under his leadership. For they will also recognize God who rules on high on account of this man’s path in common light.

For he will show eternal life to chosen men but will bring fire upon the lawless for all ages. Then indeed he will cure the sick and all who are blemished, as many as put faith in him. The blind will see, the lame will walk. The deaf will hear. Those who cannot speak will speak. He will drive out demons. There will be a resurrection of the dead. He will walk the waves, and in a desert place he will satisfy five thousand from five loaves and a fish of the sea, and the leftovers of these will fill twelve baskets for the hope of the peoples.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Gospel of Pseudo Matthew 14, NTA

On the third day after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ holy Mary went out from the cave, and went into a stable and put her child in a manger, and an ox and an ass worshipped him. Then was fulfilled that which was said through the prophet Isaiah, “The ox knows his owner and the ass his mother’s crib.”

Thus the beasts, ox and ass, with him between them, unceasingly worshipped him. Then was fulfilled what was said through the prophet Habakkuk, “Between two beasts are you known.” And Joseph remained in the same place with Mary for three days.

December 28

Reading: Infancy Gospel of James 21–22, NTA

There took place a great tumult in Bethlehem of Judea. For there came wise men saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When Herod heard this he was troubled and sent officers to the wise men, and sent for them and they told him about the star.

Herod also sent for the high priests and questioned them: “How is it written concerning the Messiah? Where is he born?” They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written.” And he let them go.

And Herod questioned the wise men and said to them, “What sign did you see concerning the newborn king?” And the wise men said, “We saw how an indescribably greater star shone among those stars and dimmed them, so that they no longer shone; and so we knew that a king was born for Israel. And we have come to worship him.” And Herod said, “Go and seek, and when you have found him, tell me, that I also may come to worship him.”

And the wise men went forth. And behold, the star which they had seen in the east, went before them until they came to the cave. And the star stood over the head of the child (the cave). And the wise men saw the young child with Mary his mother, and they took out of their bags gifts, gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned by the angel that they should not go to Judea, they went to their own country by another way.

But when Herod perceived that he had been tricked by the wise men he was angry and sent his murderers and commanded them to kill all the children who were two years old and under. When Mary heard that the children were to be killed, she was afraid and took the child and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.

But Elizabeth, when she heard that John was sought for, took him and went into the hill country. And she looked around to see where she could hide him, and there was no hiding place. And Elizabeth groaned aloud and said, “O mountain of God, receive me, a mother, with my child.” For Elizabeth could not go up further for fear. And immediately the mountain was rent asunder and received her. And that mountain made a light to gleam for her; for an angel of the Lord was with them and protected them.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: Gospel of Matthew 2:13–15, SV

After (the astrologers) had departed, a messenger of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, “Get ready, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I give you instructions. You see, Herod is determined to hunt the child down and destroy him.”

So Joseph got ready and took the child and his mother under cover of night and set out for Egypt. There they remained until Herod’s death. This happened so the Lord’s prediction spoken by the prophet would come true: “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

December 29

Reading: Pseudo Matthew 18–20, NTA

On their journey to Egypt, when they came to a cave and wished to rest in it, holy Mary dismounted and sat down the child Jesus in her lap. And on the journey there were with Joseph three boys and with Mary some maidens. And behold, suddenly many dragons came out of the cave. When the boys saw them they cried out in terror. Then Jesus got down from his mother’s lap, and stood on his feet before the dragons; thereupon they worshipped Jesus, and then went back from them. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through the prophet David, “Praise the Lord, you dragons from the earth, you dragons and all deeps.” And the child Jesus himself went before the dragons and commanded them not to harm anyone.

But Mary and Joseph had great fear lest the child should be hurt by the dragons. And Jesus said to them, “Have no fear, and do not think that I am a child; for I have always been and even now am perfect; all wild beasts must be docile before me.”

Likewise lions and leopards worshipped him and accompanied them in the desert. Wherever Joseph and holy Mary went, they went before them, showing them the way and lowering their heads in worship; they showed their servitude by wagging their tails and honored him with great reverence. But when Mary saw the lions and leopards and all kinds of wild beasts surrounding them, she was at first gripped by violent fear.

But the child Jesus looked at her face with a happy countenance, and said, “Do not fear, Mother; for they do not come to harm you, but they hasten to obey you and me.” With these words he removed all fear from her heart. And the lions went along with them, and with the oxen and asses and the beasts of burden which carried what they needed, and they harmed no one, although they remained with them. Rather they were docile among the sheep and rams which they had brought with them from Judea and had with them. They walked among the wolves without fear, and neither was harmed by the other. Then was fulfilled that which was said by the prophet, “The wolves pasture with the lambs; lions and oxen eat straw together.” And the lions guided on their journey the two oxen and the wagon in which they carried what they needed.

Now on the third day of their journey, as they went on, it happened that blessed Mary was wearied by too great heat of the sun in the desert, and seeing a palm tree, she said to Joseph, “I should like to rest a little in the shade of this tree.” And Joseph led her quickly to the palm and let her dismount from her animal. And when blessed Mary had sat down, she looked up at the top of the palm tree and saw that it was full of fruits, and said to Joseph, “I wish someone would fetch some of these fruits of the palm tree.” And Joseph said to her, “I wonder that you say this; for you see how high this palm tree is, and I wonder that you even think about eating of the fruits of the palm. I think rather of the lack of water, which already fails us in the skins, and we have nothing with which we can refresh ourselves and the animals.”

Then the child Jesus, who was sitting with a happy countenance in his mother’s lap, said to the palm, “Bend down your branches, O tree, and refresh my mother with your fruit.” And immediately at this command the palm bent its head down to the feet of blessed Mary, and they gathered from it fruits with which they all refreshed themselves. But after they had gathered all its fruits, it remained bent down and waited to raise itself again at the command of him at whose command it had bent down. Then Jesus said to it, “Raise yourself, O palm, and be strong and join my trees which are in the paradise of my Father. And open beneath your roots a vein of water which is hidden in the earth, and let the waters flow so that we may quench our thirst from it.” And immediately it raised itself, and there began to gush out by its root a fountain of water very clear, fresh, and completely bright. And when they saw the fountain of water, they rejoiced greatly, and quenched their thirst, and also all the beasts of burden and all the animals, and gave thanks to God.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: Matthew 2:19–23, SV

After Herod’s death, a messenger of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Get ready, take the child and his mother, and return to the land of Israel; those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.”

So he got ready, took the child and his mother, and returned to the land of Israel. He heard that Archelaus was the king of Judea in place of his father Herod; as a consequence, he was afraid to go there.

He was instructed in a dream to go to Galilee; so he went there and settled in a town called Nazareth. So the prophecy uttered by the prophets came true: “He will be called a Nazorean.”

December 30

Reading: Gospel of Luke 2:22–28, SV

Now when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord — as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb is to be considered holy to the Lord” — and to offer sacrifice according to what is dictated in the Law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, named Simeon, a decent and devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the holy spirit was with him. It had been disclosed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he had laid eyes on the Lord’s Anointed. And so he was guided by the spirit to the temple area. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to perform for him what was customary according to the Law he took him in his arms and blessed God.:

Psalm: Luke 2:29–32, SV

Now, Lord, you can dismiss your slave in peace,*
according to your word
now that my eyes have seen your salvation,*
which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples —
a revelatory light for foreigners,*
and glory for your people Israel.

Gospel: Luke 2:33–38, SV

His father and mother were astonished at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This child is linked to the fall and rise of many in Israel, and is destined to be a sign that is rejected. You too will have your heart broken — and the schemes of many minds will be exposed.”

A prophetess was also there, Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, since she had married as a young girl and lived with her husband for seven years, and then alone as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple area, and she worshiped day and night with fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at that very moment, she gave thanks to God, and began to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the liberation of Jerusalem.

December 31

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 1–2, SV

I, Thomas the Israelite, am reporting to you, all my non-Jewish brothers and sisters, to make known the extraordinary childhood deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ — what he did after his birth in my region. This is how it all started.

When this boy, Jesus, was five years old, he was playing at the ford of a rushing stream. He was collecting the flowing water into ponds and made the water instantly pure. He did this with a single command. He then made soft clay and shaped into into twelve sparrows. He did this on the sabbath day, and many other boys were playing with him.

But when a Jew saw what Jesus was doing while playing on the sabbath day, he immediately went off and told Joseph, Jesus’ father: “See here, your boy is at the ford and has taken mud and fashioned twelve birds with it, and has so violated the sabbath.”

So Joseph went there, and as soon as he spotted him he shouted, “Why are you doing what’s not permitted on the sabbath?”

But Jesus simply clapped his hands and shouted to the sparrows: “Be off, fly away, and remember me, you who are now alive!” And the sparrows took off and flew away noisily.

The Jews watched with amazement, then left the scene to report to their leaders what they had seen Jesus doing.

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 3, SV

The son of Annas the scholar, standing there with Jesus, took a willow branch and drained the water Jesus had collected. Jesus, however, saw what had happened and became angry, saying to him, “Damn you, you irreverent fool! What harm did the ponds of water do to you? From this moment you, too, will dry up like a tree, and you’ll never produce leaves or root or bear fruit.”

In an instant the boy had completely withered away. Then Jesus departed and left for the house of Joseph. The parents of the boy who had withered away picked him up and were carrying him out, sad because he was so young. And they came to Joseph and accused him: “It’s your fault — your boy did all this.”

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 5, SV

So Joseph summoned his child and admonished him in private, saying, “Why are you doing all this? These people are suffering and so they hate and harass us.” Jesus said, “I know that the words I spoke are not my words. Still, I’ll keep quiet for your sake. But those people must take their punishment.” There and then his accusers became blind.

Those who saw this became very fearful and at a loss. All they could say was, “Every word he says, whether good or bad, has become a deed — a miracle, even!” When Joseph saw that Jesus had done such a thing, he got angry and grabbed his ear and pulled very hard. The boy became infuriated with him and replied, “It’s one thing for you to seek and not find; it’s quite another for you to act unwisely. Don’t you know that I don’t really belong to you? Don’t make me upset.”

January 1

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 6:1–8, SV

A teacher by the name of Zacchaeus was listening to everything Jesus was saying to Joseph, and was astonished, saying to himself, “He is just a child, and saying this!” And so he summoned Joseph and said to him, “You have a bright child, and he has a good mind. Hand him over to me so he can learn his letters. I’ll teach him everything he needs to know so as not to be unruly.”

Joseph replied, “No one is able to rule this child except God alone. Don’t consider him to be a small cross, brother.”

When Jesus heard Joseph saying this he laughed and said to Zacchaeus, “Believe me, teacher, what my father told you is true. I am the Lord of these people and I’m present with you and have been born among you and am with you. I know where you’ve come from and how many years you’ll live. I swear to you, teacher, I existed when you were born. If you wish to be a perfect teacher, listen to me and I’ll teach you a wisdom no one else knows except for me and the one who sent me to you. It’s you who happen to be my student, and I know how old you are and how long you have to live. When you see the cross that my father mentioned, then you’ll believe that everything I’ve told you is true.”

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 6:9–12, SV

The Jews who were standing by and heard Jesus marveled and said, “How strange and paradoxical! This child is barely five years old and yet he says such things. In fact, we’ve never heard anyone say the kind of things this child does.”

Jesus said to them in reply, “Are you really so amazed? Rather, consider what I’ve said to you. The truth is that I also know when you were born, and your parents, and I announce this paradox to you: when the world was created, I existed along with the one who sent me to you.”

The Jews, once they heard that the child was speaking like this, became angry but were unable to say anything in reply. But the child skipped forward and said to them, “I’ve made fun of you because I know that your tiny minds marvel at trifles.”

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 6:13–23, SV

When, therefore, they thought that they were being comforted by the child’s exhortation, the teacher said to Joseph, “Bring him to the classroom and I’ll teach him the alphabet.”

Joseph took him by the hand and led him to the classroom. the teacher wrote the alphabet for him and began the instruction by repeating the letter alpha many times. But the child clammed up and did not answer him for a long time. No wonder, then, that the teacher got angry and struck him on the head. The child took the blow calmly and replied to him, “I’m teaching you rather than being taught by you: I already know the letters you’re teaching me, and your condemnation is great. To you these letters are like a bronze pitcher or a clashing cymbal, which can’t produce glory or wisdom because it’s all just noise. Nor does anyone understand the extent of my wisdom.” When he got over being angry he recited the letters from alpha to omega very quickly.

Then he looked at the teacher and told him, “Since you don’t know the real nature of the letter alpha, how are you going to teach me the letter beta.” He began to quiz the teacher about the first letter, but he was unable to say anything.

Then while many were listening, he said to Zacchaeus, “Listen, teacher, and observe the arrangement of the first letter: How it has two straight lines or strokes proceeding to a point in the middle, gathered together, elevated, dancing, three-cornered, two-cornered, not antagonistic, of the same family, providing the alpha has lines of equal measure.”

January 2

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 7, SV

After Zacchaeus the teacher had heard the child expressing such intricate allegories regarding the first letter, he despaired of defending his teaching. He spoke to those who were present: “Poor me, I’m utterly bewildered, wretch that I am. I’ve heaped shame on myself because I took on this child. So take him away, I beg you, brother Joseph. I can’t endure the severity of his look or his lucid speech. This child is no ordinary mortal; he can even tame fire! Perhaps he was born before the creation of the world. What sort of womb bore him, what sort of mother nourished him? — I don’t know. Poor me, friend, I’ve lost my mind. I’ve deceived myself, I who am wholly wretched. I strove to get a student, and I’ve been found to have a teacher. Friends, I think of the shame, because, although I’m an old man, I’ve been defeated by a mere child. And so I can only despair and die on account of this child; right now I can’t look him in the face. When everybody says that I have been defeated by a small child, what can I say? And what can I report about the lines of the first letter which he told me about? I just don’t know, friends. For I don’t know its beginning or its end. Therefore, I ask you, brother Joseph, take him back toy our house. What great thing he is — god or angel or whatever else I might call him — I don’t know.

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 8, SV

While the Jews were advising Zacchaeus, the child laughed loudly and said, “Now let the infertile bear fruit and the blind see and the deaf in the understanding of their hearts hear: I’ve come from above so that I might save those who are below and summon them to higher things, just as the one who sent me to you commanded me.”

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 9, SV

A few days later Jesus was playing on the roof of a house when one of the children playing with him fell off the roof and died. When the other children saw what had happened, they fled, leaving Jesus standing all by himself.

The parents of the dead child came and accused Jesus: “You troublemaker you, you’re the one who threw him down.”

Jesus responded, “I didn’t throw him down — he threw himself down. He just wasn’t being careful and leaped down from the roof and died.”

Then Jesus himself leaped down from the roof and stood by the body of the child and shouted in a loud voice: “Zeno!” that was his name — “Get up and tell me: Did I push you?”

He got up immediately and said, “No, Lord, you didn’t push me, you raised me up.”

Those who saw this were astonished, and the child’s parents praised God for the miracle that had happened and worshiped Jesus.

January 3

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 10–11, SV

A few days later a young man was splitting wood in the neighborhood when his axe slipped and cut off the bottom of his foot. He was dying from loss of blood.

The crowd rushed there in an uproar, and the boy Jesus ran up, too. He forced his way through the crowd and grabbed hold of the young man’s wounded foot. It was instantly healed.

He said to the youth, “Get up now, split your wood, and remember me.”

When Jesus was six years old, his mother sent him to draw water and bring it back to the house. But he lost his grip on the pitcher in the jostling crowd, and it fell and broke. So Jesus spread out the cloak he was wearing and filled it with water and carried it back to his mother.

His mother, once she saw the miracle that had occurred, kissed him; but she kept to herself the mysteries that she had seen him do.

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 12, SV

Again, during the sowing season, the child went out with his father to sow their field with grain. While his father was sowing, the child Jesus sowed one measure of grain. When he had harvested and threshed it, it yielded one hundred measures. Then he summoned all the poor in the village to the threshing floor and gave them grain. Joseph carried back what was left of the grain. Jesus was eight years old when he did this miracle.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 13, SV

Now Jesus’ father was a carpenter, making ploughs and yokes at that time. He received an order from a rich man to make a bed for him. When one board of what is called the crossbeam turned out shorter than the other, and Joseph didn’t know what to do, the child Jesus said to his father, “Put the two boards down and line them up at one end.”

Joseph did as the child told him. Jesus stood at the other end and grabbed hold of the shorter board and, by stretching it, made it the same length as the other.

His father Joseph looked on and marveled, and he hugged and kissed the child, saying, “How fortunate I am that God has given this child to me.”

January 4

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 16, SV

Joseph sent his son James to tie up some wood and carry it back to the house, and the child Jesus followed. While James was gathering the firewood, a viper bit his hand. And as he lay sprawled out on the ground, dying, Jesus came and blew on the bite. Immediately the pain stopped, the animal burst apart, and James got better on the spot.

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 17, SV

After this incident an infant in Joseph’s neighborhood became sick and died, and his mother grieved terribly. Jesus heard the loud wailing and the uproar that was going on and quickly ran there.

When he found the child dead, he touched its chest and said, “I say to you, infant, don’t die but live, and be with your mother.”

And immediately the infant looked up and laughed. Jesus then said to the woman, “Take it, give it your breast, and remember me.”

The crowd of onlookers marveled at this: “Truly this child was a god or a heavenly messenger of God — whatever he says instantly happens.” But Jesus left and went on playing with the other children.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 18, SV

A year later, while a building was under construction, a man fell from the top of it and died. There was quite a commotion, so Jesus got up and went there. When he saw the man lying dead, he took his hand and said, “I say to you, sir, get up and go back to work.” And he immediately got up and worshiped him.

The crowd saw this and marveled: “This child’s from heaven — he must be, because he has saved many souls from death, and he can go on saving all his life.”

January 5

First Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 14, SV

When Joseph saw the child’s aptitude, and his great intelligence for his age, he again resolved that Jesus should not remain illiterate. So he took him and handed him over to another teacher. The teacher said to Joseph. First I’ll teach him Greek, then Hebrew.” This teacher, of course, knew of the child’s previous experience with a teacher and was afraid of him. Still, he wrote out the alphabet and instructed him for quite a while, though Jesus was unresponsive.

Then Jesus spoke: “If you’re really a teacher, and if you know the letters well, tell me the meaning of the letter alpha, and I’ll tell you the meaning of beta.”

The teacher became exasperated and hit him on the head. Jesus got angry and cursed him, and the teacher immediately lost consciousness and fell face down on the ground.

The child returned to Joseph’s house. But Joseph was upset and gave this instruction to his mother: Don’t let him go outside, because those who annoy him end up dead.”

Second Reading: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas 15, SV

After some time another teacher, a close friend of Joseph, said to him, Send the child to my schoolroom. Perhaps with some flattery I can teach him his letters.”

Joseph replied, if you can muster the courage, brother, take him with you.

And so he took him along with much fear and trepidation, but the child was happy to go.

Jesus strode boldly into the schoolroom and found a book lying on the desk. He took the book but did not read the letters in it. Rather, he opened his mouth and spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit and taught the law to those standing there.

A large crowd gathered and stood listening to him, and they marveled at the maturity of his teaching and his readiness of speech — a mere child able to say such things.

When Joseph heard about this he feared the worst and ran to the schoolroom, imagining that this teacher was having trouble with Jesus.

But the teacher said to Joseph, “Brother, please know that I accepted this child as a student, but already he’s full of grace and wisdom. So I’m asking you, brother, to take him back home.”

When the child heard this, he immediately smiled at him and said, “Because you have spoken and testified rightly, that other teacher who was struck down will be healed.” And right away he was. Joseph took his child and went home.

Psalm: Select a Christmas Carol

Gospel: Infancy Gospel of Thomas 19, SV

When Jesus was twelve years old his parents went to Jerusalem as usual, for the Passover Festival, along with their fellow travelers. After passover they began the journey home. But while on their way, the child Jesus went back up to Jerusalem. His parents, of course, assumed he was in the traveling party. After they had traveled one day, they began to look for him among their relatives. When they did not find him, they were worried and returned again to the city to search for him.

After three days they found him in the temple area, sitting among the teachers, listening to the law and asking them questions. All eyes were on him, and everyone was astounded that he, a mere child, could interrogate the elders and teachers of the people and explain the main points of the law and the parables of the prophets.

His mother Mary came up and said to him, “Child, why have you done this to us? Don’t you see, we’ve been worried sick looking for you.”

“Why are you looking for me?”Jesus asked them. “Don’t you know that I have to be in my father’s house?”

Then the scholars and the Pharisees said, “Are you the mother of this child?” She said, “I am.”

And they said to her, “You more than any woman are to be congratulated, for God has blessed the fruit of your womb! For we’ve never seen nor heard such glory and such virtue and wisdom.”

Jesus got up and went with his mother, and was obedient to his parents. His mother took careful note of all that had happened. And Jesus continued to excel in learning and gain respect.

To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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