Joseph went up from Nazareth of Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David, to be registered for the census with Mary, his betrothed, who was pregnant. While they were there, Mary went into labor and gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger. In the fields nearby, angels proclaimed the good news: Christ the Lord is born in Bethlehem, the city of David. They burst into a joyful song of praise and glory to the Father, whose love gave to us the gift of his only Son for our deliverance and salvation.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Who are we, Lord God, that you should come to us? Yet you have visited your people and redeemed us in your Son. As we prepare to celebrate His Birth, make our hearts leap for joy at the sound of your word, and move us by your spirit to bless your wonderful works. We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
~ 146, in The Theological and Worship Ministry Unit. Book of Common Worship.
Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. p. 177.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
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.
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.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again, in his glorious majesty to judge the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
~ Scottish Prayer Book, in John Wallace Suter, Jr. ed.
The Book of English Collects. New York, NY: Harper, 1940. p. 3.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
The story of God in Christ gives structure to our ongoing discipleship. In broad strokes, we learn hope in the Lord and we prepare ourselves for his arrival. We learn to praise him and to make room for him to dwell in our midst.
~ Ryan Carter. Guard the Good Deposit: The Great Tradition for the Whole Church.
Wichita: TUMI Press, 2019. p. 49.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
To the Praise of His Glorious Grace, Ephesians 1.3-14
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit