Year II: Christmas Triduum

Christmas Eve: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Vigil: Christmas Eve:  On Christmas Day our emphasis becomes one of joyful celebration, but today we find ourselves in deep anticipation for the coming Saviour.  In our readings we join the shepherds on the hillside, are reminded of Isaiah’s great prophecy concerning the coming Messiah and find our place alongside the angels and saints around the Throne in the book of Revelation.  Tonight we keep vigil for the coming Christmas Day.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 95

A Call to Worship and Obedience

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Mighty God, we thank you for bringing us again to this wonderful season. Open our hearts to your love and our minds to your truth. Banish all fear and the clouds of the past as we proclaim…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • Help us today in our preparations, and keep us mindful of the reason for the season. May thankfulness permeate our entire day as we announce…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • Keep us in fellowship with you, and in oneness with our brothers and sisters. Make us instruments of your peace this Christmas as we acknowledge…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

 Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, today we celebrate the eve of your birth. As your family found refuge in the stable when there was no room at the inn, we pray for the safe gathering of our families and friends at this Christmastime, as we join with angels to declare…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For our children, parents, loved ones and the stranger that may find refuge with us, may they experience your blessing as we pray…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • Give us eyes O God to identify the lonely, the depressed, the discouraged and the hurting. Empower us not only to see them but to make a difference; that we may demonstrate…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

The Church

  • Lord God, shine on your church today! May she be resplendent in beauty, awesome in holiness and terrible as an army with banners! May you be ever born anew in your Body, the Church, that she can resound the cry…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For power in her witness and clarity in her message. May the words the shepherds heard be echoed afresh as we exclaim…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For Christmas services everywhere, watch-night vigils and evangelistic outreach. May they be effective in broadcasting the message…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For our home-church and community. For refreshing rest, edifying fellowship and sanctified fun. May we ever exhibit…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

The World

  • Mighty God, as the world often sees only gifts around the tree and food on the table, we remember before you those who have no home, no food and no gifts. Heal our world and bring hope to those who have no hope this Christmas as we pray for…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For areas of conflict and war and people groups cruelly repressed. Hear their cry and make us the solution to their need as we appeal to you for…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
  • For those of your people who tomorrow will speak to millions. For Pastors, Bishops, Archbishops, Popes and all who open their mouth in your name. May their words bring…
              –  Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your 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 yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Luke 2:1-14

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”


Pause for Reflection…


READING FROM THE CHURCH
 FATHERS (Optional)

Lesson from the Church Fathers – ‘Awakening Faith’ Day 323


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

O God, you have caused this holy season to shine
With the brightness of the true Light:
Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth,
May also enjoy him perfectly in heaven;
Where with you and the Holy Spirit,
He lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God the Holy Spirit,
By whose working the Virgin Mary conceived the Christ,
Help us bear the fruits of holiness.  Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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