Christmas

Christmas

We celebrate not only the infant’s birth in Bethlehem but also the hope for all time given to us by the ‘becoming flesh’ of God’s Son.

Hymn or Music

Opening Sentence – Luke 2:10-11

‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord’.

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

We have come together in the name of Christ to offer our praise and thanksgiving, to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Opening Responses

O Lord, open our lips:
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
O God make speed to save us:
O Lord make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen

Praise the Lord.
The Lord’s name be praised.

Hymn or Music

Prayer of Preparation

We meet to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. Lord speak to us that we may hear your word. Move among us that we may behold your glory. Receive our prayers that we may learn to trust you. Amen.

Invitation to Confession

As we kneel with the shepherds before the new born Christ child, we open our hearts in penitence and faith.

Silence is kept.

Lord of grace and truth, we confess our unworthiness to stand in your presence as your children. We have sinned:
Forgive us and heal us.
The Virgin Mary accepted your call to be the mother of Jesus. Forgive our disobedience to your will. We have sinned:
Forgive us and heal us.
Your Son our Saviour was born in poverty in a manger. Forgive our greed and rejection of your ways. We have sinned:
Forgive us and heal us.
The shepherds left their flocks to go to Bethlehem. Forgive our self-interest and lack of vision. We have sinned:
Forgive us and heal us.
The wise men followed the star to find Jesus the King. Forgive our reluctance to seek you. We have sinned:
Forgive us and heal us.

Absolution

May God who loved the world so much that he sent his Son to be our Saviour, forgive us our sins and make us holy to serve him in the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Collect

Almighty God, you have given us your only begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm

Bible Reading

Address

Hymn or Music

Affirmation of Faith

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Prayers

Let us pray in silence for our own needs and for the needs of the world:

Lord, meet us in the silence.
And hear our prayer.

  • For the world (for peace, for all leaders, for those suffering or in need)
  • For the church (for our bishops, clergy, the diocese, local churches)
  • For our community (for leaders, groups, and those in need or distress)
  • For our friends and family (for those we love and those no longer with us)
  • For ourselves (we give thanks and we ask for help and guidance)

Son of God, Child of Mary, born in the stable in Bethlehem, be born again in us this day, that through us the world may know the wonder of your love. Amen.

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us, as our Saviour has taught us, so we pray:

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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn or Music

Agape Meal

The Agape was the Love Feast of early apostolic times, a simple meal to which everyone was invited. All differences of economic and social standing were ignored, as Christians met as members of one family. As a sign of equal membership, the rich brought food for the poor, who brought nothing. The word ‘Agape’ describes a love which is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional. It is the love God has for us, shown in Jesus’ sacrificial death. We pray that in sharing this meal, we may then demonstrate that love to one another in our daily lives.

Reading (Colossians 3)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Prayer before the Meal

Come, Holy Spirit
and bless us as we meet together in unity.
As we eat and drink this meal,
may we be reminded of your unconditional love for us,
and may our eyes be opened
to recognise Jesus in each other.
We ask this prayer in his name
Amen.

The Distribution

We remain in our seats for the meal and, as a sign of our fellowship in Christ, we pass the food and drink to our neighbour, saying: ‘The Bread of Life’ and ‘The Cup of Blessing’

Prayer after the Meal

Lord, be with us through the fellowship of this meal.
May the food and companionship we share
nourish our hearts and minds,
and with our spirits refreshed,
may we live our lives to your praise and glory,
now and forever. Amen.

The Song of Mary (Magnificat)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Prayer

Son of Mary, Son of God, we have joined the worship of the angels; may we never lose that heavenly vision. Like the shepherds, we have rejoiced at the news of your birth; help us to proclaim that message in word and deed, to your praise and glory. Amen.

Hymn or Music

Blessing

May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ-child be ours this Christmas; and may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ, Amen.

Hymn or Music