Christmas Eve

Service of Lessons and Carols: Suggested Readings

[The readings of the traditional service developed at King’s College in the 1930’s relied heavily on atonement theology; the emphasis here is more on healing, reconciliation and justice.]

(Optional) Isaiah 64: 1-9 – We long for God to come to us in our brokenness

Isaiah 11: 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 – The reign of the prince of peace and justice

(Optional) Micah 5.2, 4-5a — From Bethlehem shall come a ruler, one of peace.

Luke 1: 26-38 – The Annunciation

Matthew 1: 18-23 – An Angel speaks to Joseph in a dream

Isaiah 9: 2-7 or 2, 6-7 – A child is born, who shall have authority

Luke 2: 1-7 – Luke tells of the birth of Jesus

Luke 2: 8-20 – The shepherds go to the manger

from John 1:1-14 (1-5, 9-14, 16, 18) John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation

John Reading:
In the beginning was the Word;
the Word was in God’s presence and the Word was God.
The Word was in the beginning with God.
Through the Word all things came into being,
and nothing that has come into being came into being apart from the Word.
What came into being in the Word was life,
and that life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
The Word came into the world—
the Word through which the world came into being—
yet the world did not recognize the living Word.
The living Word came to its own people, but they did not accept the Word.
But all who received the Word, who gave their hearts to that grace,
were enabled to become children of God,
children born not of natural descent,
nor human desire or will or effort, but born of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory,
the favor and delight parents give an only child, full of grace, full of truth.
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
No one has ever seen God.
It is the Only Begotten, who is close to God’s heart, who has revealed God.

The light shines in the darkness. And the darkness cannot overcome it.

Prayer

         Blessed God, we praise you on this holy night for the mystery of your Incarnation. We bless you for the birth of Jesus, and for the gift of your grace. We thank you that you dwell with us in love.
         In the name of the infant Jesus we pray for all children, and their families. We pray for peace. We pray for those for whom Christ came: those who suffer, those who are lost or lonely, and those who do not know you We pray for the sick, the powerless and the rejected, those who struggle in life, and all who are oppressed. Blessed are the poor, and those who mourn. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those who are persecuted: for among them is Emmanuel.
         Holy Spirit, make of our hearts an open manger, that Christ may be born in us anew and live in us always. By your grace help us to receive the gifts of this holy season, to share them with all the world, and to live always in the light of Jesus’ presence. Amen.


Closing Prayer

Gracious God, we thank you for that you have given yourself to us. You have come to dwell with us, within us and among us. By your presence with us, grant us your peace. Send us into the world to bring good news to the poor, to set the captives free, and to proclaim your grace. Send us in the power of your Spirit, in the blessing and the company of your Son, the Beloved, Jesus Christ, who is present among us, now and to eternal life. Amen.