Today the Bible readings are related to the celebration of Christmas Day (I)
Peace to those who are far off.
Peace to those who are near.
Glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as in the beginning, so now, and for ever. Amen.
A poem: A Song of God’s Herald
Go up to a high mountain
herald of good tidings to Zion:
lift up your voice with strength,
herald of good tidings to Jerusalem.
Lift up your voice, fear not:
say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’
See the Lord God, coming with power:
coming to rule with his mighty arm.
He brings his reward for the people of God:
the recompense for those who are saved.
God will feed his flock like a shepherd:
and gather the lambs in his arms;
He will hold them to his breast:
and gently lead those that are with young.
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.
Father of lights, receive the prayer and praise we offer you as our daily sacrifice; make us a light for all the world, delivered by your goodness from all the works of darkness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have posted sentinels;
all day and all night
they shall never be silent.
You who remind the LORD,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it renowned throughout the earth.
The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink the wine
for which you have laboured;
but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the LORD,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in my holy courts.
Go through, go through the gates,
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
clear it of stones,
lift up an ensign over the peoples.
The LORD has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
‘See, your salvation comes;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.’
They shall be called, ‘The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD’;
and you shall be called, ‘Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.’
The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice:
let the multitude of islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him:
righteousness and justice
are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him:
and burns up his enemies on every side.
His lightnings light the world:
the earth sees it and quakes.
The mountains melt like wax before his face:
from before the face of the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens have proclaimed his righteousness:
and all peoples have seen his glory.
They are ashamed, all those who serve idols
and glory in mere nothings:
all gods bow down before him.
Zion heard and was glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoiced:
because of your judgements, O God.
For you, Lord, are most high over all the earth:
you are exalted far above all gods.
The Lord loves those that hate evil:
the Lord guards the life of the faithful,
and delivers them from the hand of the ungodly.
Light dawns for the righteous:
and joy for the true of heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous:
and give thanks to his holy name.
But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure.
I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.
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 (traditional)
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
This week’s prayer:
who gave your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born of the virgin Mary:
grant that we being born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through the same our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,
ever one God, now and for ever. Amen.
We thank God for what we have and pray for what we need.
Today we pray for ourselves, that God would give us wisdom to know what is right and strength and grace to pursue it. In our local church, we ask God to strengthen their marriages of the couples who have been married in our church, and give them the gift of faith. In our world, we pray for health professionals and those who act as carers to family and friends. We remember before God those who have asked for our prayers, or who are in need of them.
A prayer for the day
Lord Christ, eternal Word and Light of the Father”s glory: send your light and your truth that we may both know and proclaim your word of life, to the glory of God the Father; for you now live and reign, God for all eternity. Amen.
The Lord be with us
now and forever.
Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May Jesus, the Lord of peace, give us peace at all times and in all ways. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 3.16