This Week’s Theme
A Savior Is Born
During the time of Mary’s pregnancy, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. All were called to return to their ancestral home to be numbered there. Being of David’s lineage, Joseph went up from Nazareth of Galilee, to Judea to the city of David, Bethlehem. While they were there, Mary went into labor, and gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger (for there was no place for them in the inn).
In that region shepherds were out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord’s glory shone around them. The shepherds were filled with great fear, but the angel spoke to them and said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” After this, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” After the angels left, the shepherds decided to go over to Bethlehem to see this thing that the Lord had made known to them. They hurried over, and found Mary and Joseph, along with the baby, lying in a manger.
The angels’ declaration of the Messiah’s birth as that of a Savior should encourage our hearts today, this Christmas Day. Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, born in David’s city to save his people from their sins.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O Almighty God, Who by the Birth of Thy holy Child Jesus hast given us a great Light to dawn upon our darkness, grant, we pray Thee, that in His light we may see light to the end of our days; and bestow upon us, we beseech Thee, that most excellent Christmas gift of charity to all men, that so, the likeness of Thy Son may be formed in us, and that we may have the ever-brightening hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Professor Knight, Nineteenth Century (Fox, p. 214)
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 Day: Job 19-21
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 96
OT: Isa. 9.2-7
Gospel: Luke 2.1-20
NT: Titus 2.11-14
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
O Christ, the King of glory, who art not ashamed to call us thy brethren, and who camest in great humility to be made like us in our weakness, poverty and need: give us grace to contemplate and adore the mystery of thy incarnation wherein thou didst condescend to our low estate, that we, following the example of thy meekness and lowliness, might be exalted in thy divine nature, to be one with thee, as thou art one with the Father. Amen.
~ Gelasian Sacramentary (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 27)
Affirmation for the Day
Glory to God in the highest for the birth of his Son, our Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ. Let his peace be on earth among those upon whom his favor rests!
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
I give you thanks, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for your Son has come into the world to save his people from their sins.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
A Savior Is Born
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism