Christmas Day

Dec. 25


Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Note:  There are numerous traditions to take into account for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  While many Disciples do not have a Christmas Day service, when it falls on Sunday the opportunity arises to offer more scripture to the congregation than in other years.  To complicate things a bit, the chosen texts given on for Christmas Day are the texts for Christmas Eve (reading down the first column of readings below.  Further, if the congregation is accustomed to some blend of Christmas Eve texts (mixing the lectionary with the Service of Lessons and Carols, which in its design was a prayer service, not intended to be offered at a Eucharist), the challenge is further complicated.  Because at some point on Christmas Eve most Disciples receive Communion, it can be an intricate dance between texts and traditions, and one that enriches the life of the whole church.  We’d love to know your congregation’s experience on this holy weekend.  Email

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources for each individual pericope:

Isaiah 9:2-7 / Isaiah 62:6-12 / Isaiah 52:7-10
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Isaiah 9:1-6 (see also study page for Isaiah 9:1-4)
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Isaiah 62: 11-12
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Isaiah 52:7-10
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Isaiah 9:2-7
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 / Psalm 97 / Psalm 98
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Psalm 96:1-13
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Psalm 97:1-12
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Psalm 98:1-6
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Psalm 96
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Psalm 98

Titus 2:11-14 / Titus 3:4-7 / Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Titus 2:11-14
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Titus 3:4-7
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: Hebrews 1:1-6
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Titus 2:11-14
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) / Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 / John 1:1-14
Roman Catholic reading for Midnight Mass: Luke 2:1-14
Roman Catholic reading for Mass at Dawn: Luke 2: 15-20
Roman Catholic reading for Mass during the day: John 1:1-18 or John 1:1-5, 9-14
United Methodist reading for Christmas Eve: Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
United Methodist reading for Christmas Day: John 1:1-14

ANGLICAN TRADITION for Christmas Night (eve) or Morning

Principal Service
Isaiah 9.2-7
Psalm 96
Titus 2.11-14
Luke 2.1-14[15-20]

Isaiah 62.6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3.4-7
Luke 2.[1-7]8-20

Isaiah 52.7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1.1-4[5-12]
John 1.1-14

Second Service
Isaiah 65.17-25
Philippians 2.5-11 or
Luke 2.1-20 if it has not been used at the principal service of the day
Evening Psalm
Psalm 8

Third Service
Isaiah 62.1-5
Matthew 1.18-25
Morning Psalms
Psalms 110, 117

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

It would be difficult to reduce the hymnal for this occasion, as much music is often expected and enjoyed in the Christmas Eve/Day celebration.  The editor will step away from giving his personal standards here.  In future years, perhaps, a publication of “what’s worked for me” might be worth posting…or not.

Hymn for the Day From William Flewelling:

On Isaiah 62:6-12

Behold, today salvation comes

appearing in the course of God.

The fair reward is in the hand

that comes exultingly, and low.

Become the holy people now,

the ones the Lord redeems in time.

Sought out, rejoice; be fully free,

a city never more forsaken.

The bounty of our God arrives

in simple guise before our eyes;

herein is found the ringing cry

of those who watch and see the prize.

For in delight our God achieves

the gain for those whose constancy

lifts eyes and hearts, unbounded joy

to greet salvation’s gracious day!

LM                      Suggested tune: Von Himmel Hoch

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  The hymnal offers all three Psalms for these days as quoted in the lectionary (96, 97, 98).  They begin on page 748.  Thanks be to God.




Almighty God,
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin:
grant that we, who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God our Father,
whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
may the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord.

Alternative Collect

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.


Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries
using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.

From The Jubilee Fund

Call to Worship (Responsive)   Adapted from Psalm 96
L: O sing to the LORD a new song;
P: Sing to the LORD, declare his glory among the nations.
L: Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
P: Honor and Majesty are before him.
L: Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
P: For the LORD has come in righteousness and glory.

The day is here, when we remember your coming Oh God.  Amidst the wrappings and boxes, the hurry and worry, we pause.  We come before you seeking to remember the true meaning of the day.  We come to celebrate with thanks and praise the wonderful works you have done.  We come to pray for Christ’s authority to grow continually, so there will be endless peace.  Draw us near to you this day of days, our Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.


Stewardship Moment:
It’s here! It’s Christmas.  For many of us the packages have already been torn open, and perhaps even the first toy has failed.  And yet there is still one gift under the tree.  You didn’t see it? It is the most beautifully wrapped gift of all.  Swaddled and waiting.  It is the gift of the Christ Child to you from God.  What did you get for God?  We will now receive our tithes and offerings.

Offertory Prayer:
Everlasting and Loving God, we know the gift of your Son is free, freely given without cost.  We bring these tithes and offerings and dedicate them before you, not to “pay” for your gift of the Christ Child, but to recognize our love and thanksgiving for EVERYTHING you give to us.  Especially the gift we celebrate this day.


Communion Meditation:
A lesser known passage of Paul’s letter to Titus says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly.”  On this day when we remember the beginning of Christ’s earthly life, it is fitting to remember also the ending.  For without the Cross, what would be the significance of the manger?  Come and celebrate the ultimate gift of God.

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 We also urge you to visit Worship Connection at, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.