For many reasons, not everyone can make it to church on Christmas Day. But we can all find a few minutes to remember God with us, to hear the Christmas story, to give thanks, and to pray for the world. This simple liturgy is designed to help us do this.  It can be prayed alone or with others. If you are alone, as you use the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ remember the countless Christians around the world who share in your prayers on this special day. If there are two or more of you, choose one person to lead, with everyone joining in the words in bold print.

Opening

 Today we remember Jesus and the story of his birth; Jesus is our King.

You may like to light a candle, to remember Jesus, the light of the world.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world; Jesus is our Way.

With Jesus even dark places are light; Jesus is the Truth.

In Jesus we shall live for ever: Jesus is our Life.

Holy Jesus, by being born one of us,and lying humbly in a manger, you show us how much God loves the world. Let the light of your love always shine in our hearts, until we reach our home in heaven, and see you on your throne of glory. Amen.

Confession

As we worship with the shepherds before the newborn Christ-child, we open our hearts in penitence and faith.

Spend a few moments in quiet, thinking if there are things that you want to say sorry for.

Father God, we are sorry for the things we do and say and think which make you sad, and for not thinking of others before ourselves. Please forgive us, and help us to love you and other people more and more. Amen.

Remember that God forgives everyone who is truly sorry, and by his Spirit will help you to follow him.

Thanksgiving

Gracious God, we give you thanks and praise for Jesus Christ our Lord: for he was the Word before all creation. Through him all things come to be; not one thing has its being but through him. Jesus, light of the world, we worship and adore you.

Spend a few moments thinking about what you would like to give thanks for. If there are two or more of you, you may wish to share your thanksgivings.

To God our creator, born as one of us, be all praise and glory. With all the company of heaven,  we worship, saying:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and is, and is to come; to him be glory and honour for ever and ever. Amen.

The Christmas Story

A reading from the Gospel according to St Luke.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thanks be to God

Spend a few moments in quiet thinking about the story. Is there anything that strikes you afresh? What might God be saying to you through the Christmas story this year? If there are two or more of you, you may wish to share your thoughts.

Intercessions

Let us pray to Jesus our Saviour.

Christ, born in a stable, give courage to all who are homeless.

Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.

Christ, for whom the angels sang, give the song of the kingdom to all who weep.

Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.

Christ, worshipped by the shepherds, give peace on earth to all who are oppressed.

Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.

Christ, before whom the wise men knelt, give humility and wisdom to all who govern.

Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.

Christ, whose radiance filled a lowly manger, give the glory of your resurrection to all who rest in you.

Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.

Jesus, Saviour, child of Mary, you know us and love us, you share our lives and hear our prayer. Glory to you for ever. Amen.

 Ending

 May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ-child be ours this Christmas. Amen.

 

Copyright material is included from, Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England; copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

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