This Week’s Theme
The Word Became Flesh
John begins his Gospel by testifying concerning the essential nature and person of Jesus. He wrote about Jesus as the one who was in the beginning with God and who was himself also God, the divine Logos or Word of God. He was in the beginning with God, and all things were made through him. In him was life, the light of humankind, and the darkness could not overcome it. God sent a man, John the Baptizer, to bear witness about him that all might come to faith in him. John was not the light, but came to testify about it.
John further testified that this true light who gives light to everyone actually came into the world, and though he created the world, it did not know him. He also came to his own people but they did not receive him either. Yet, those who did receive him (i.e., those who believed in his name) he granted the right to become children of God, born not of human origin or will, but from God. This Word, this divine logos “became flesh”: God’s eternal Son became a human being, and dwelt among us, and his glory was seen by witnesses, the glory as of the Father’s one and only Son, full of grace and truth. The identity of Mary’s baby is none other than the Son of the Living God, who became a human being to save his own.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Almighty God, we give thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart for the coming of a Saviour, and the constant promise of thy Word that he was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble aspirations of ancient men and ages, and we acknowledge that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. Out of our very sense of need our hearts answer from their wilderness, the cry, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. In us let the rough places be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride be brought low, the valleys of despondency be lifted up. Prepare thou thy way in our hearts, that we may welcome anew thy Holy Child. Hosanna! Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen.
~ Gelasian Sacramentary (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 21-22)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Christmas Eve: Job 15-18
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 98
OT: Isa. 52.7-10
Gospel: John 1.1-14
NT: Heb. 1.1-12
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Make us glad, O God, in recounting your mercies and adoring your holiness, and let it be our chief joy to glorify your holy name. Almighty and everlasting God, the brightness of faithful souls, who brought the Gentiles to your light and made known to them him who is the true Light, and the bright and morning Star: fill, we ask you, the world with your glory, and show yourself by the radiance of your light to all nations.
~ The Gregorian Sacramentary (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 49)
Affirmation for the Day
God’s eternal Son became a human being and dwelt among humankind, and we have beheld his glory.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
On this Christmas Eve, we remember, Great Father, that you offered to the world the gift of your Son, the divine Logos, the Word of God, through whom we approach your throne.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
A Savior Is Born
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism