Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
You may wish to use alternate texts from those used Christmas Eve. Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources for each individual periscope:
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
Hymns of Praise:
165 Once in Royal David’s City,
142 People, Look East,
148 O Come, All Ye Faithful,
155 Angels We Have Heard on High,
150 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,
143 Joy to the World,
138 Awake! Awake!…,
159 There’s a Song in the Air,
169 O Thou Joyful
147 Away in a Manger,
145 Silent Night, Holy Night,
160 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,
161 I Wonder as I Wander,
162 What Child Is This,
163 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
171 God’s Love Made Visible,
167 Go, Tell It on the Mountain
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
Call to Prayer ©2007 David T. Chafin (tune: Hyfrydol)
Come, O God, commune here with us, as we lift to you our cares.
You, our hope and our deliv’rance, promise to receive our prayers.
God of love and understanding, you alone know heart and soul.
Listen to our intercessions, recreate us, make us whole.
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). You may also want to visit http://www.modernpsalter.com/ or http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Psalms 96-97-98 begin on Page 748
Note: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.
RESPONSIVE GREETING (adapted by the Editor)
L: Tonight old dreams die and new dreams come to life. The promise is fulfilled.
Prayer of Approach
L: The Lord be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: Let us pray.
For we pray in his name (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
Intercessions (from the Editor)
O God, you are never revealed so completely as in the face of the child of Bethlehem. Hear us as we give you thanks for those who today reveal your love in our world in his spirit.
We pray for those who give you hands by doing their best toward their brothers and sisters; for those who give you a mouth by speaking words of justice and peace for the broken and oppressed; for those who give your poverty the look of hope for your reign, revealing you simply by being your children, reflecting your beauty as did your only Son Jesus.
We hold up in prayer the lonely and hurting, the hungry and homeless, the sick and dispossessed, knowing that your heart has always been nearest those who are poor in spirit and least likely to be thought of as people touched by the hand of divinity.
As we remember how you came to live among us in the flesh, and as we celebrate that moment long ago which lives forever in the hearts of those who believe, and as we long for your fullness in our lives that we too might enflesh the goodness and love of Christ in our day, we ask that you would bless us, your church, to be food for the hungry and hope for those who are lost and alone—a living testament of Christ’s faithfulness to you. May all who drink of your one spirit receive new life to give to those in our world who are thirsty for meaning and belonging.
Pour out your Spirit upon us, your people. Continue in our lives the mystery of Christmas. Let your Son become flesh in us, so that we may reveal you to our world all the days of our lives. Holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in. Be born in us today.
From Common Worship: (“R” = Hear our prayer, O Lord. Another response may be substituted)
To us a child is born, to us a son is given; let us pray for the people he came to save.
Wonderful Counsellor, you order all things with your wisdom: help the Church to reveal the mystery of your love and fill her with the Spirit of truth: R
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness: R
Everlasting Father, you call us to live together in unity: protect by your mercy all your children, bless our families and renew our communities: R
Prince of Peace, you bring reconciliation through the cross: by your healing power give to all who suffer your gift of wholeness and peace: R
Let us commend the world, to which Christ came, to the mercy and protection of God.
Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.
Prayers from Common Worship*
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.
God our Father,
in this night you have made known to us again
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
confirm our faith and fix our eyes on him
until the day dawns
and Christ the Morning Star rises in our hearts.
To him be glory both now and for ever.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.
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.
Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)
O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth
of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully
receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence
behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.
Almighty God, you have given your only‑begotten Son to
take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a
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 our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom
with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and
for ever. Amen.
In peace with God and with one another, let us offer to God our hearts desires and our concerns for our world and ourselves. Let us pray.
To you, O giver of joy, we praise you that in the fullness of time you came to be with us and to give us hope, peace and the joy of eternal life. We thank you that in Mary you found one who would willingly give over control of her life, trusting in you, for the sake of your love of us. We rejoice that we have received grace upon grace in the giving of your Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Forgive us for our frequent unwillingness to let your joy spring to life in our midst, and the self-centeredness that has kept us from revealing in the fullness of your joy. Refashion us that we might recognize the greatness of your gift, and to release the joy that you have planted deeply within us in creation and in our baptism.
Because you have made us for joy, Lord, we are burdened to see a world that is limp and joyless. As trouble, oppression, grief and sorrow pervades our world, the joy of life seems to fade from our sight. Yet, we have been called by you to entrust our world’s needs, and our own, to your safekeeping, trusting that you, in your right time, will bring to fruition your promise of redemption. Inspire us to trust you more, and to joyfully bring to our world the news of your presence in our midst.
We pray for all your children in their need. To those who are fearful and oppressed, give freedom; to those who are hungry and homeless, give help; to those who are lonely and grieving, give your peace; and to those who are sick, give healing and hope. As we give thanks for the life of _________, and for all your saints who rest in peace with you, we offer to you our lives afresh. Make us to walk in your paths of righteousness and peace, and fill us with joy, as we pray in Christ’s name, [even as he taught us…]
O God, who comes to us in Jesus Christ of Bethlehem, in these wonderfully busy days, may we not crowd you out of our minds, as he was crowded out of the inn on that first Christmas. Forbid that we should spend all for passing pleasures and fail to find the deeper, richer joys that do not pass away with the close of the day. Even as the tinsel and lights of the season begin to fade, time and again we pray that you would draw us back to his manger-bed. Rekindle our sense of wonder and worship, and grant that, as we find you in the likeness of a little child, we may experience a new reverence for childhood, and a more sincere longing for those qualities of the heart which childhood incarnates. Forgive our cynicism and pride, banish our doubts, and restore our faith in the things we cannot see or hear: the star that shines in human souls, and the song of peace that lingers over a world so troubled with war. Like the shepherds, may we return to our humble lives knowing that heaven is not some distant place, but is ever near because of the coming of the Christchild, and that in him you have revealed yourself here, among even people like us. Hear our prayers for those in need today, for healing and peace, reconciliation and joy. We pray especially for __________________ and others we name in our hearts.
Bless us, O God, one and all as this Christmas season continues. We lift our hearts in praise, and would seek to serve you as a follower of your beloved Son, assured that in following him is perfect freedom and peace. Now we pray as he has taught us saying, Our Father…
Service of Table
Prayer of Thanksgiving
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
Loving God, giver of life and bringer of peace, as we gather at the table Christ has spread for us, we pray that you would make your presence known anew in our lives. Send your Spirit now, we pray, that as we break the bread and drink from his cup, we might know afresh the joy of life eternal in your family, as we offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving. All praise and glory be to you, O God, now and forever, in Christ’s name. Amen.
[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]