*Carol On This Day Earth Shall Ring
*Lighting the Christmas Candle
Lift up your heads; the day of peace is here!
God has visited us with healing!
All the ends of the earth can see it,
And the distant coastlands rejoice!
The Christmas candle is lit.
The light of Christ!
Thanks be to God!
[A traditional Gloria may also be sung, chanted, recited here.]
Come, let us praise our God!
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth!
We worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory!
Lord Jesus Christ, only-begotten Child,
you take away the world’s sin!
Have mercy on us!
Lamb of God, you sit at God’s right hand!
Receive our prayer!
For you are the Healer and the Holy One,
the world’s hope and the heart’s desire.
You preside in love forever, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God, the Sovereign. Amen.
Reading Isaiah 52:7-10
*Carol Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Reading Luke 2:1-20
*Carol O Come, All Ye Faithful
Shared Reflection [or Homily]
[Short sung refrain, carol, or a recited statement of faith.]
[A few moments of reflection, could be undergirded by instrumental music.]
Prayers for the Church and World
[Congregational response: Lord, hear our prayer!]
In peace, let us pray to the Lord for the church and the world:
That the heart of the world might rejoice today
at the birth of a merciful savior, let us pray to the Lord…
That the works of justice may capture every human heart
and lead to peace, let us pray to the Lord…
For an end to war and all violence,
that all people may live in hope and safety,
so that free of fear we may build a new tomorrow, let us pray to the Lord…
For the health of the earth, and the integrity of all creation, let us pray to the Lord…
For the sick, the troubled, the sorrowing and the dying,
that they may know the comfort of God’s mercy, let us pray to the Lord…
For our enemies and for all who have done us harm,
and for all whom we have harmed, let us pray to the Lord…
For the church throughout the world, that we may love God,
God’s world, and one another; welcome and serve all people,
and show forth the mercy of our Savior, let us pray to the Lord…
And now, in the words our Savior gave us, we are bold to say:
*Carol Angels We Have Heard On High
*All who are able may rise.
The newborn Child be with you!
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them joyfully to God.
Let us give thanks to God, our God!
It is right to give God thanks and praise.
We are right to praise you, Maker of heaven and earth,
for you have always loved us.
Even when we strayed like sheep, you loved us.
You planted hope within us and sent messengers
to keep that hope alive,even in the worst of times.
At last, in the fullness of time,
in the stillest night, you sent us our healer.
Born on life’s margin, he was one of us,
full of our joy and subject to our frailty,
our brother and your delight.
He welcomed everyone who was unwelcome elsewhere.
He kept faith with you, even when it cost him his life.
You vindicated him, and he lives, our healer still.
From his fullness we all receive mercy after mercy, grace after grace.
Therefore, most wonderful God, with the Christmas angels
and the faithful of every time and place, we praise you, saying [singing]:
[A traditional Sanctus may be sung, or a Gloria in excelsis Deo refrain from a popular carol may substitute.]
Holy, Holy, Holy God, Lord of heaven and earth!
The cosmos shows us your glory!
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the Child who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!
You may be seated.
[These remembrances may be interspersed with an alleluia refrain or the refrain of a familiar carol.]
Now we remember the Garden, Adam and Eve and God’s footsteps.
We remember that long ago we sinned and were left without a home.
We remember Abraham, and Sarah, Moses, the sea, the desert.
We remember the manna, and water from the rock.
We remember the prophets, the longing, the promise.
We remember an angel interrupting a young woman’s day.
And we remember Joseph’s dream.
We remember a hard journey, inns with no room.
We remember poor things –a manger, a child, some straw.
We remember the cold, the shepherds, the night.
We remember midnight glory, God in human face outshining.
We remember Jesus.
He came to us then.
He is with us still – we are not alone.
And when he was all grown up,
in the middle of another night when the end was near
and betrayal was in the air, he shone all the brighter with love for his friends.
He ate with them, taking bread, the staff of life.
He gave thanks to God for it, called it his body, and shared it all around.
He drank with them, too, taking a cup and blessing it,
pouring it out like life-blood for the forgiveness of sins.
He said to them: Whenever you do this, remember me.
Calling on the Holy Spirit
Send your Spirit upon these gifts, O God –
fruit of the earth and work of human hands!
May they be for us life-giving food and drink.
As we share in their goodness, give us love for each other
and make us willing servants of your justice in the world.
Sharing Bread and Cup
Meditation in Music
[During or after communion. Could be choir, piano, organ, or whatever you have!]
All may rise.
Let us give thanks for all we have received.
We thank you, O God,
for making yourself known to us in the human life of Jesus.
Keep us always in the joy of this Christmas Day,
like Mary and Joseph, like angels and shepherds –
servants of your love and bearers of your grace.
Glory be to you in the church and in all creation,
now and forever. Amen.
*Carol Joy to the World!
Beloved, do not be afraid! Today a Child is born to us.
God is alive among us, closer to us than our own hearts.
God will never leave us or lose us.
Unfailing love will always save us,
and the blessing of God is forever upon us,
Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
*A Sign of Christmas Joy, and Sending
Now offer each other a sign of Christmas joy, and go in peace!