Year V: 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

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
    a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His hands formed the dry land, too.

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
    as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw everything I did.
For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of 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

At that time, Augustus Caesar sent an order that all people in the countries under Roman rule must list their names in a register. This was the first registration; it was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to their own towns to be registered.

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.

Shepherds Hear About Jesus

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:

“Give glory to God in heaven,
    and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.”

Reader:  
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.

Recognising that my body is a temple, and that a simple life lived at a sustainable speed is deeply beneficial, I choose to be mindful of my habits of diet and exercise, and to dress simply and modestly. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will not overeat, consume excess intoxicating substances, pollute my mind with impure thoughts or neglect my body through lack of adequate exercise.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.


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 in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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