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Christmas 1, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 29, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God


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.

SONG: ‘Joy to the world!’ (268)


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.

May grace, mercy and peace from God the Creator
and from Christ Jesus our Saviour be with you.
And also with you.

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians; welcome to visitors.
Lighting the Christ candle.


Let us ask pardon from our God
that we have often done carelessly
the common tasks of everyday life.

O Jesus, you grew up in Nazareth
and lived as the apprentice of the local carpenter:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son (760).

Jesus Christ, to work with your hands
was part of your human dignity:
Chris-te e-le-i-son.

O Jesus, through your life in the holy family
you sanctified the ordinary tasks
of everyday life:
Ky-ri-e e-le-i-son.

Have mercy on us, God,
and forgive us all our sins.
May our lives give you worship
and lead us to everlasting life. Amen.


Christ has become our high priest.
It is his suffering and loving presence that saves us,
and lifts us up.

Jesus says, You are children of Sarah and Abraham.
Do not be afraid of death.
You are accepted and you are holy!
Thanks be to God!


Let us pray
that God may bless our families.

Abba God,
you let Mary and Joseph
provide the warmth of a home
to your own Child, Jesus Christ.
Let Jesus become the heart and centre
of all our families.
May we all grow up in Christ
and become closer to one another
in patience and love.
With the holy family of Nazareth,
may we seek your will in all we do.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

Your word, O God, is a lamp to our feet:
a light to our path.

FIRST READING Isaiah 63:7-9

May your word live in us, O God;
and bear much fruit to your glory.


Prophets foretold him,
infant of wonder;
angels behold him
on his throne;
worthy our Saviour
of all their praises;
happy for ever
are his own.

GOSPEL Matthew 2:13-23

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



With the holy family of Nazareth we trust in our God who knows our needs, and we ask God to bless all families. Let us say: Abba God, bless your creatures.

... Abba God, we trust in you.
May we not deny one another the love you show us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

OFFERING ‘Joseph’s Lullaby’ (John Bell)


Fragile Saviour,
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.


God is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to the God of love.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
because of all the good things you have done for us
in your abundant mercy and steadfast love.

All things exist for you and through you,
for you called them forth
and fixed them in place.
You taught your people through the law and prophets
and became their saviour in all their distress.

In your love and concern for us,
you became present among us in your Child, Jesus.
Though he was hunted at birth and forced to flee as a refugee,
he was made perfect through his sufferings
so that he might be a merciful high priest,
reconciling your people to you.

When enemies overtook him,
in death he destroyed the power of death,
and you raised him to new life,
freeing all those whose lives were held in slavery
by the fear of death.

Therefore we sing ... (761):
Holy, holy, holy God, wisdom, strength and hope,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.
Hosanna in the highest.

To you indeed be glory, almighty God,
because on the night before he died ...

God of hope and joy,
we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
With this bread and this cup
we proclaim the mystery of our faith ... (757):
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

Therefore, loving God,
recalling now Christ’s death and resurrection,
we ask you to accept
this our sacrifice of praise.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us
and our celebration,
that we may be fed with the body and blood of Christ
and be filled with your life and goodness.
Strengthen us to do your work,
and to be your body in the world.
Unite us in Christ
and give us your peace.

May we praise you
and give you glory.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in your holy Church,
we worship you, O God,
in songs of everlasting praise.

Blessing, honour and glory be yours,
here and everywhere, now and forever. Amen.


God is with us, and so we pray:

Abba God in heaven,
glory to you!
Your rule of love renews the earth.
In your name, we take part in that renewal
helping, and not harming,
caring, and not coercing ...
We pray that we might receive with thanks
the bread we need,
the money we need,
the warmth we need ...
We pray that forgiveness and freedom
flow through our lives.
Teach us that in sharing life
we live life to the full ...
Remind us that evil is real.
Still, we are not afraid of it,
but confident
that love is stronger than hate,
justice other than revenge,
true peace the work of your Spirit.


Let us receive what we are;
let us become what we receive:
the body of Christ.


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us, have mercy on us ...
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace, grant us peace.


This is Jesus our Saviour,
who comes to unite us
as children of Sarah and Abraham,
as children of God.
Happy are we to be invited
to this family table of God.


Infinite God,
Jesus your Own made himself near to us
in this eucharistic celebration.
He has been here for us,
approachable and available.
May he keep on living
in our homes and our communities.
Let him make us, too,
approachable and available to one another,
even at the cost of personal discomfort,
and with Mary and Joseph
ready for any task you may entrust to us.
For we can do everything
in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God




Go now and give praise for all that God has done.
Put your trust in Christ;
weep over the world’s grief and suffering,
and with Christ, offer yourselves to God
for the healing of the world.

And may God give you strength and glory;
May Christ Jesus be proud to call you his friends;
And may the Holy Spirit lift you up and carry you onward.


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!

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);
Eucharistic preface based on prayer by Nathan Nettleton (www.laughingbird.net).
Icon of the Nativity.