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.

“Adore” – Chris Tomlin


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.

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.

“In the beginning” – Joel Payne



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!

First Sunday of Christmas: 31 Dec – Luke 2:22-40 ~ “I have seen your salvation!”

First Sunday of Christmas

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

Opening Prayer

O God, You cradle us at the beginning of life and embrace us at our journey’s end, for You love us as Your own. Bind our families together and deepen our faith, that, like the Holy Family of Nazareth, we may grow in wisdom, obedient to Your word. 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.

“Joy to the world” – Soundiva Classical Choir


Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40 (NLT)

Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

Prayers of Intercession:

Lord God: You have loved us and chosen us to be members of Your extended family. Hear our prayers as we anticipate the beginning of a new year –

+ For all Your families around the world, that we may learn to say “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry” to each other…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all Your families in great difficulty, that we may receive the help and hope (the support) we need…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all Your grandparents that, like Simeon and Anna in the Temple, our hope in You may be fulfilled…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all the members of our families, that You may keep us safe, healthy, and strong in 2018…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all the members of our families who have died, especially those who died in 2017, that they may see Your face…. Lord, hear us.

Lord God: You remember Your covenant forever. Hear the prayers of all those who seek Your help, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

“”Simeon’s Song”” – Tommy Walker



Live as children of God, blameless and innocent, in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation – that you may shine as lights in the world, always holding fast to the Word of Life.

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