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 A SERVICE OF READINGS AND CAROLS

Christmas Day, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 25, 2010

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

We were walking in cold and darkness.
Now we dwell in the warmth of your light.

For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

A child has been born for us, a new beginning is given to us.

For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

You are our creator, you dwell in our midst,
you bring us your peace.

For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

As we rejoice in the gift of God’s presence with us
we sing the hymn first heard by the shepherds.

Glory to God, glory to God, glory in the highest!
Glory to God, glory to God, alleluia, alleluia! (773)

GREETING

Blessed is the Holy Trinity of love,
Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
One God, mothering all creation;
and blessed is the reign of God,
now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Grace and peace from our Abba God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.

Lighting the first Advent candle.

We light the first candle,
reminding us of God’s promise of peace on earth.

Lighting the second Advent candle.

We light the second candle,
reminding us that we are to dispel the darkness
of sickness, poverty, injustice, and suffering all around us.

Lighting the third Advent candle.

We light the third candle,
reminding us to be constant and patient in our relationships
and in our living.

Lighting the fourth Advent candle.

We light the fourth candle, reminding us that the way of following Jesus
is the way of righteousness, trust, and faithfulness.

READING Luke 2:1-20

The Good News and Power of God.
Praise to you, O Jesus Christ.

O God, we have watched for your coming with longing and with expectation,
with patience and with hope.

Now, as the prophets promised so long ago, you have come to us once again;
and with the shepherds, we are filled with wonder and amazement.

Lighting the white Christ candle.

Christ, you come as a tiny, fragile baby;
yet we believe that you are God, and you are with us.

May the flame of this candle remind us that you are the light of the world
and that if we follow you, we will never walk in darkness,
but will have the true light of life.
Amen! Welcome, Jesus!

A Liturgy of Readings and Carols

CAROL

READING Isaiah 52:7-10

When we read the Scriptures, we receive the word of God for us today. In the tradition of the Church, the city of Jerusalem (or Zion) means God’s people, the Church itself, us. Therefore, when you hear or read about “YHWH’s restoration of Zion,” what do you think? When you hear or read, “Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem!” what do you think or feel? What is the messenger’s message to you this Christmas Day?

SILENCE

CAROL

READING Hebrews 1:1-6

Someone once said, “Love is a verb.” A verb is an action word. Perhaps we can say today, of all days, “Jesus is the verb the action Word, love in action.”

When someone’s actions match his or her words, we say that person has integrity. We can depend on him. When she says something, she will do it. Do you know someone like this? How can you become a person of integrity? Christmas Day is a good time to thank God for sending the Only Begotten, and also for sending persons of integrity into our lives. How will you thank God today? How will you thank the people in your life that you can depend on?

SILENCE

CAROL

READING John 1:1-18

The Good News and Power of God.
Praise to you, O Jesus Christ.

The Word of God has come into the world. The Word is light and life, grace and truth. In the flesh of a tiny baby, God gives us God’s very Self. Jesus makes his home with those who accept him and embrace him as the Child of God. Christmas is a call to accept Jesus fully, and in accepting him, accepting all of God’s children. When we excitedly say at Christmas, “Here comes Jesus!” what we are really saying then is, “Here comes everybody!”
How will you help make Jesus feel “at home” in your Christmas celebrations? How will you welcome him in the tiny baby, the excited child, those near and dear, those in sorrow or pain, the guest, the neighbour who may be alone, the inconvenient or unexpected happenings, the “black sheep” of the family? How will you remind yourself and others of the presence of Jesus in our midst this day? How will you keep Jesus at the centre of your celebration?

SILENCE

HOMILY

SILENCE

INTERCESSIONS

On this holy day,
let us ask Jesus, the Child of God and the Child of Mary,
to intercede for us.

With confidence we pray:
Jesus, bless your people!

Prince of Peace,
at your birth the angels announce the Good News to the shepherds.
Fill our world, torn by division, hatred and wars,
with tidings of reconciliation and peace.
Jesus, bless your people!

Emmanuel, you make your dwelling among us.
Bless all the families of our parish,
especially those that are suffering at this time.
Jesus, bless your people!

Divine Shepherd,
you lead the shepherds to the manger.
Bless our religious and political leaders.
Make them humble and responsible stewards of your people.
Jesus, bless your people!

Divine Messiah,
many still do not know you.
Let the Good News of your coming
resound throughout the world
so that people will hear the comforting
words of hope and salvation.
Jesus, bless your people!

...

Abba God,
hear these prayers that we have made to Jesus,
our Saviour, and your Own. Amen.

CAROL AND OFFERING

THE PEACE

Fragile Saviour
You come, unprotected,
into our dangerous world
and offer yourself as our Peace.
Let our joy be to seek your Peace
let our hope be to foster your Peace
let our purpose be to announce your Peace
with all the fervour of the angels and
all the courage of those who are poor.

The peace of the Child of God be with you all.
And also with you.

We share a sign of peace.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

The people stand.

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you have revealed your justice to the nations
and recalled your merciful love for your people.

In the beginning your Word created the world.
Through your Word, life was brought into being,
and the life was the light that overcomes the darkness.
Your messenger came bringing the good news of peace
so that all might know the Word and believe.

And today the good news is fulfilled:
the Word has become flesh.
Though comforted at the breast, he is your exact likeness.
Though the world did not know him,
he bears the imprint of your very being.
Though his own people gave him no welcome,
in him we have seen your glory, full of grace and truth.
He will come to rule the world in justice
and in him all the earth shall see your salvation.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

L: Abba God in heaven, hallowed be your name!
R: May your reign come,
 may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
L: give us today the bread we need.
R: And forgive us our debts,
 as we hereby forgive those who are indebted to us.
 Don’t put us to the test, but free us from evil.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

CAROL

BLESSING

Go now, and join your voices
with the song of joy in all creation.
Announce peace.
Herald salvation.
Let the earth know that God reigns.

And may God sustain you with God’s powerful Word.
May Christ Jesus be born as Saviour within you.
And may the Spirit reveal to you the glory
of the Firstborn, full of grace and truth.

DISMISSAL

A child has been born for us,
a new beginning is given to us.
Let us go and share with our friends and neighbours
the peace and joy of the Child of Bethlehem.
In the name of Christ. Amen!

 

 

Acknowledgements:
Based on ‘The Service of the Lord’s Day’ in Uniting in Worship 2, Sydney, 2005;
Liturgy Alive for Sundays and Weekdays, the Philippines (www.bible.claret.org);
Thanksgiving based on prayer by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Advent Candle Lighting by the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship USA.
Icon of the Nativity
(http://theburningbush.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/
nativity-icon-incarnation-of-the-lord-jesus-christ.jpg).