Week 4: Saturday, Christmas Eve

On that holy night when Jesus was born, the angels announced to the shepherds that he indeed was the world’s Messiah and Lord. On the very day of his birth to Mary in Bethlehem (called the city of David), Jesus was proclaimed as the world’s true Savior, Christ the Lord. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, this lowly peasant child inspired the heavenly choirs to acknowledge his glory. With a joyful celestial shout they exclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Jesus, the child of Mary, is the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.

~ England Revised Prayer Book. In John Wallace Suter, Jr. ed. The Book of English Collects. New York, NY: Harper, 1940. p. 78.

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)

Gloria Patri
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.

Chronological Reading for the Day

An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place

Christmas Eve: Job 32-34

Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 96
OT: Isa. 9.2-7
Gospel: Luke 2.1-14
NT: Titus 2.11-14

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

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.

Benediction 

O God, who hast made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light, grant, we beseech Thee, that as we have known on earth the mysteries of that Light, we may also come to the fullness of His joys in heaven. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

~ The Common Service Book. In Fred H. Lindemann. The Sermon and the Propers: Volume I, Advent and Epiphany. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1958. p. 69.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Let my heart rejoice, and my soul be glad, for God has visited his people. Christ is born today!

“It is a distinctive feature of Old Testament religion that when God revealed himself more was involved than displays of power in nature or supernatural phenomena. Words of covenant promise and demand lie at the heart of God’s encounters with the patriarchs. Even before God engaged with them in this way, the Bible indicates that those who called upon him and sought to serve him did so within the context of his continuing communication with them (e.g. Noah in Gn. 6-9).”

~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 25.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Christ the Savior Is Born, Luke 2.8-20

Book Reading
Peterson, Engaging with God

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