+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening Sentence –
In the dark of this winter night, we proclaim the new light that has shone on the world: Jesus Christ is born! With the angels, we worship God who saves us — for through the life, death and resurrection of this child Jesus, salvation is ours.
Good and gracious God, on this holy night you 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, your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendor of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
Reading: Isaiah 9:1-7 (NLT)
[The ancient promise of a light in darkness, a child born for us, are fulfilled this Christmas night…]
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Unto Us – Hillsong
Reading: Luke 2:1-14 (NLT)
[As Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the shepherds recognize him and the angels echo their joy.
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Sisters and brothers, standing together in the brightness of this Christmas celebration, let us ask God to fill the whole world with light.
+ That those who mark the birth of Christ all over the world tonight may have new hope…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the people of Aleppo and the other parts of Syria may have the gift of peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That refugees of good will may find safe haven and kindness…. Lord, hear us.
+ That hungry and homeless people may be looked after…. Lord, hear us.
+ That those who have lost loved ones in 2016 may be comforted…. Lord, hear us.
+ That people who are lonely may experience friendship and love…. Lord, hear us.
+ That our friends who have fallen asleep in Christ may experience the peace and joy of heaven…. Lord, hear us.
Maker of heaven and earth, your Son is born for us, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God: hear our prayers through the same Christ, our Lord, Amen.
“Angels We Have Heard On High” – Sanctus Real
May God fill you with the joy of the shepherds and make you heralds of the gospel of peace and goodwill.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holly Spirit. Amen!
Categories: Life in Christ