Today the Bible readings are related to the celebration of Christmas Eve
Through Christ let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,
the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as in the beginning, so now, and for ever. Amen.
A poem: A Song of Praise
God be gracious to us and bless us:
and make your face to shine upon us,
That your way may be known upon earth:
your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God:
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy:
for you judge the peoples with equity
and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God:
let all the peoples praise you.
Then the earth will bring forth its increase:
and God, our own God, will bless us.
You, O God, will bless us:
and all the ends of the earth will fear you.
The opening prayer
By night and by day we worship the Lord; let us pray with one heart and mind.
We remember God’s presence and pause in silence.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness –
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
O sing to the Lord a new song:
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord and bless his holy name:
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations:
and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised:
he is more to be feared than all gods.
As for all the gods of the nations, they are mere idols:
it is the Lord who made the heavens.
Majesty and glory are before him:
beauty and power are in his sanctuary.
Render to the Lord, you families of the nations:
render to the Lord glory and might.
Render to the Lord the honour due to his name:
bring offerings and come into his courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of his holiness:
let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
Say among the nations that the Lord is king:
he has made the world so firm
that it can never be moved;
and he shall judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad:
let the sea roar, and all that fills it:
Let the fields rejoice, and everything in them:
then shall all the trees of the wood
shout with joy before the Lord;
For he comes, he comes to judge the earth:
he shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Lord’s Prayer
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.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
This week’s prayer:
Good and gracious God,
who on this holy night gave us your Son,
the Lord of the universe, wrapped in swaddling clothes,
the Saviour of all, lying in a manger:
on this holy night draw us into the mystery of your love.
Join our voices with the heavenly host
that we may sing your glory on high.
Give us a place among the shepherds
that we may find the one for whom we have waited,
Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We thank God for what we have and pray for what we need.
Today we pray for ourselves, that God would increase our faith. In our local church, we ask God to help us grow in our faith, hope and love. In our world, we pray for truth and honesty in our media. We remember before God those who have asked for our prayers, or who are in need of them.
A prayer for the day
Lord and heavenly Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: keep us by your mighty power, protect us from sin, guard us from every kind of danger, and in all we do this day direct us in the fulfilling of your purpose, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord be with us
now and forever.
Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the Lord bless us and keep us; the Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us; the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace. Amen.