First Sunday of Christmas – 30 Dec – John 1:1-18 ~ Christmas reveals God’s unfailing love and faithfulness

First Sunday of Christmas

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Prayer

As your sons and daughters, O loving God, we come before you in thanksgiving, called and united by your eternal Word. Teach us to ponder the mystery of Christmas, that we may always find in you the source of our strength and the unity of our life together. We ask this through 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. Amen.
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“Adore” – Chris Tomlin

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Gospel Reading: John 1:1-18 (NLT)

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

+ He existed in the beginning with God.
+ God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
+ The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
+ The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
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Prayers of Intercession:

God our Creator: You made us and spoke life into us, and you adopted us into your family. Make plain your unfailing love and faithfulness to us today. We pray especially –

+ For all the members of your family, that joy and peace may be theirs through the celebration of Christmas…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who are displaced and dispossessed, that they may be protected and find comfort and rest…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all our friends and neighbors, that the Word made flesh may be at the center of every home…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all families where there is heartache or hurt, that everyone involved may experience reconciliation and healing…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who look to the future with fear, that the unfailing love of Christ may dispel their anxiety as they approach the coming year…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who are sick, in hospitals or living in nursing homes, that we may remember them and honor them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all who have died in Christ, especially during the past year, that they may rejoice in eternal life with the angels of heaven…. Lord, hear us.

God our Creator: Your strength sustains us all our days, hear our prayers and reveal your heart to us throughout the New Year, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“In the beginning” – Joel Payne

 

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Blessing – Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Morning Reading: Sat, 30 Dec – Jude ~ defend the faith & remain faithful

Morning Reading

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Morning Reading in Full: Jude (NLT)

Greetings from Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.

Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

A Prayer of Praise

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
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“Angels We Have Heard on High” – Christmas Celtic Sojourn 2009


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!