Preparing for worship
You’ll need a table, set with a piece of bread and a glass of wine or juice.
If you have an Advent wreath, put a white candle in the middle and light the other four
If you have a Christmas Crib, arrange it on the table if possible, or put a candle beside it ready to light.
We join, preferably at 9am or 10.30am, for worship
Though each in our homes, we are together with all our sisters and brothers in the faith,
as we worship and give thanks. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
A Carol (suggestion: O Come all Ye Faithful)
See the love that the Father has given us,
in calling us children of God.
As many as received him, to them he gave power
to become the children of God.
See what love the Father has given us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
See the love that the Father has given us,
in calling us children of God.
The white candle in the centre of your ring is lit
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world:
a light no darkness can quench.
If you have a crib scene, light the candle next to it with this prayer:
Father God, your son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility
was born of the Virgin Mary and was laid in a manger.
Bless this crib, prepared in celebration of his birth,
and in this year of hardship and confusion, strengthen our faith
In his redeeming love for us and all the world. Amen.
We say this Canticle – the Song of the Redeemer
All praise to the Father, who has delivered us from the dominion of darkness,
and welcomed us into the kingdom of his beloved Son;
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
All things were created through him and for him,
he existed before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the Church, he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell;
and through him God delighted to reconcile all things to himself.
PRAYERS OF PENITENCE
Christ the light of the world has come among us to dispel the darkness and bring us to the light. In that light, let us confess our sins to God.
After a moment of quiet reflection, we confess our sins to God;
Father of all, the virgin Mary accepted your call to be the mother of Jesus.
Forgive our disobedience to your will
Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you were born in poverty in a manger.
Forgive our greed and lack of vision
Christ have mercy.
Father, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to witness Jesus’ birth.
Forgive our reluctance to seek you.
Lord have mercy
We say this assurance of God’s forgiving grace (from Isaiah 55)
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, or expend your labour for what does not satisfy? Return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on you, to our God, who will freely pardon.”
Glory be to God in heaven, peace to those who love him well;
on the earth let all his people speak his grace, his wonders tell:
Lord, we praise you for your glory, Mighty Father, heaven’s King
hear our joyful adoration and accept the thanks we bring.
Only Son of God the Father, Lamb who takes our sins away,
now with him in triumph seated, for your mercy, Lord, we pray:
Jesus Christ, most high and holy, Saviour, you are God alone,
in the glory of the Father, with the Spirit, ever One!
THE COLLECT – A prayer for the season of Christmas
All praise to you, Almighty God our heavenly Father, who sent your Son into the world to take our nature upon him and to be born of a pure virgin. Grant that as we are born again in him, so he may continually dwell in us and reign on earth as he reigns in heaven with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
The first scripture reading.
Christmas Day – Isaiah 9.2,6,7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Sunday after Christmas – 1 Corinthians 1.26-29
Now remember what you were, my friends, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. This means that no one can boast in God’s presence.
At the end, there may be a short period of silence followed by this response:
For the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
A Carol (suggestion: O Little town of Bethlehem)
The Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ according to... Glory to you, O Lord.
Christmas Day – John 1.1-14
In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
God sent his messenger, a man named John, who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. This was the real light—the light that comes into the world and shines on all people.
The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.
And the Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.
Sunday after Christmas – Luke 2.15 – 21
When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen; it had been just as the angel had told them.
A week later, when the time came for the baby to be circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
At the end for the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
REFLECTION (on the website, attached to the email, or printed for you at the end of these sheets)
EXPRESSION OF FAITH
Blessed are you, God of all glory, in your Son the Christ.
His name is Jesus,
because he saves his people from their sins.
He will be called Emmanuel:
God is with us!
Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel:
he has come to his people and set them free.
He gave up all the glory of heaven
and took the form of a servant.
In humility he walked the path of obedience,
even to death on the cross.
God raised him to the highest place above
and gave him the name above every name:
So all beings in heaven and earth will fall at his feet,
and proclaim to the glory of God,
that Jesus Christ is Lord!
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Each petition begins with the words,
“Father, on this holy morning…” on Christmas Day, or “Father, in this joyful season…” on Sunday
… your Son our Saviour was born a human baby. Renew your church as a sign of his presence in our world today. Lord, hear us Lord, graciously hear us
… Christians the world over are celebrating Jesus’ birth. Open our hearts that he may be born in us today. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us
… Jesus came as a light in our darkness. Bring comfort to all who suffer in the sadness of our world.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us
… the angels sang, “Peace to God’s people on earth.” Strengthen and encourage all who work for peace and justice in our world. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us
… shepherds hurried to the stable when they heard the good news. May our lives draw all people to the flame of your love. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us
… heaven is come down to earth and earth raised up to heaven. Hold in your embrace all those who have died in the hope of your salvation, and renew our faith and love as we journey to your kingdom.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us
“To us a child is born, to us a son is given; And his name will be called the Prince of Peace.”
May the peace of the Lord be always with us.
and with all our sisters and brothers, near and far.
We share a sign of peace with all people of faith throughout the world, by clasping our hands together and bowing our heads saying the word “Shalom”, peace.
A Carol (suggestion: In the Bleak Midwinter)
SHARING THE FEAST
Gracious God, we welcome your presence with us. May the table at which we share, nourish our bodies, hearts and minds, and may our spirits be refreshed. As we live in the light of your presence, with us now and at all times and places. Amen.
We come to your table, Lord,
not because we are strong, but because we are weak.
We come not because any goodness of our own gives us the right to come,
but because we need your mercy and grace.
We come because you love us, and gave yourself for us.
Take and eat a piece of the bread. If you are with another, give the bread to each other. As you give and receive the bread, say this prayer:
As we break this bread, and as we share it, we thank you, God, that you give us this day our daily bread.
For the food which delights and nourishes us and for the companionship that sustains us as your people.
Drink a sip of the wine or juice. If you are with another, give the wine to each other. As you give and receive the wine, say this prayer:
We thank you for drink to quench our thirst and for the Living Water with which you surprise and enrich and transform our lives.
We give thanks for this feast at which all can share, though separated now. A foretaste of the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
As our Saviour 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 forever. Amen.
A Carol (suggestion: Joy to the World!)
The Prayer of St Richard
Lord Jesus Christ, we give you thanks
for all the blessings you have given us;
for all the pain and insults
which you have borne for us.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother
may we see you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
May God the Father, who loved us before the world began, bless us and our loved ones this Christmas. May God the Son, who came to us in great humility, bless our wounded and thirsty world. May God the Holy Spirit, light in our darkness, enfold us in her care. And may we know the joy of Christmas that nothing can spoil or destroy or whither.
Let us go from this table in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.