Order of Worship
Sunday, December 25, 2020
Nativity of Our Lord
Introduction to the day
As on the first day of creation, on this Christmas Day the Word illumines the world, shining forth to bring all things into being. Today we celebrate the incarnate Word, God becoming flesh to live among us in the person of Jesus Christ then and now. Emboldened by the good news of Christ’s birth, along with the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and all witnesses to the light of Christ, we declare to the world that we have indeed seen and been transformed by the arrival of “the salvation of our God.” O come, let us adore!
Holy God, Incarnate in Jesus, we have marked the time of Advent with the candles of the Advent Wreath and we have pondered what it is to watch, wait, wonder, and worship. This morning we celebrate and rejoice that Jesus is born among us. Let the light of is love shine forth in our lives every day. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, who was in the beginning, who makes a dwelling among us, who covers us with justice and mercy.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
God of goodness and lovingkindness,
we confess that we have sinned against you and our neighbors.
We have turned away from your invitation to new life.
We have turned away from the lowly and downtrodden.
In your abundant mercy, forgive us our sins,
those we know and those known only to you,
for the sake of the one who came to live among us,
Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Hear the good news of peace and salvation!
God forgives us all our sins,
not through our own work, but through + Jesus Christ, made known to all people.
With all who come to the manger,
rejoice in this amazing gift of grace.
Prayer of the Day
All-powerful and unseen God, the coming of your light into our world has brightened weary hearts with peace. Call us out of darkness, and empower us to proclaim the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading Isaiah 52:7-10
A holy day has dawned upon us. Come you nations, and adore the Lord. For today a great light has come upon the earth. Alleluia.
Gospel John 1:1-14
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,*
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Joining our voices with the song of the angels, let us pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.
God of glory, you bring your word to birth among us. As you spoke through prophets and ancestors, empower your church to proclaim your name with boldness and tenderness, that your salvation is revealed to all the ends of the earth. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You founded the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands. Protect the beauty of mountains and valleys. Save glaciers, tundra, and arctic lands from the threat of changing climates. Sustain all things by your powerful word. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You send messengers to announce peace. Build trust among nations. Strengthen relationships that reach beyond borders. Grant safety to ambassadors, relief workers, military personnel, and health care providers who travel across the world. Reveal your redemption through their work. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You bring hope to all people. Bring wholeness to all who long for your comfort and companionship. Revive aching spirits and restore tired bodies. Bring healing and wholeness to all who long for mercy (especially). Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You are the fullness of grace and truth. Bless ministries of generosity in this congregation and community. Open our doors in welcome, extend our tables to guests, and send us out with provisions for those who lack food, water, shelter, clothing, or companionship. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. Claim us as your children in this life and in the next. Encourage us by the witness of the saints across the ages who have testified to your light and life. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of mercy, come quickly to us with grace upon grace as we lift these and all our prayers to you, in the name of Jesus.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
And may God, who is Father + Son and Holy Spirit bless us as we do.
The credit of the benediction is Howard Thurmon in his book: Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights