Day 280 | Thursday, 24 December 2020 - Christmas Eve
“On a night long ago, when the stars shone brightly in the sky, Jesus Christ was born.
Underneath the light of one especially bright star, Jesus Christ was born.
In a plain and simple manger, Jesus Christ was born.
With animals gathered all around, Jesus Christ was born.
Wrapped in a mother's embrace and a father's care, Jesus Christ was born.
So that we might know God better, Jesus Christ was born.”
A Christmas Eve Invocation:
“Holy God take us into that night long ago, and in our imaginations, let us marvel at the holy child, worship on bended knee and sing with the angels. Let us behold the tender care of Mary and the watchful care of Joseph. Let us be blessed by the gaze of the Christ child. Loving God, when we leave this place, may we leave like the shepherds, singing and praising God, for Christ is born again and again, born to set us free, born to give us hope, born to change the world. Let it happen again. Amen.”
A Christmas Eve Prayer of Confession:
God of seeking love: On this holy night, we would be reminded by your servant John that the little boy born in that manger In Bethlehem was your Word, the very essence of your being. We praise you that your Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth, inviting us, pleading with us, wooing us with your love- when you could have come to us with awesome power to overwhelm us and subdue us to your will.
Thank you, most gracious Father, for choosing to recall us to yourself through the life and witness of one like us, your son, Jesus. Draw us once again to the light that shines about his humble birthplace. Help us to experience, at least for a brief time, the wonder of this night, the awestruck curiosity of the shepherds, the gratitude of Joseph, the happiness of Mary. Let us, if only for a moment, become like little children, in the presence of the Holy Child.
The Law, John reminds us, was given through Moses, and your Son came not to destroy but to fulfill it. But the gift he brought, the gift he was, exceeded your gift of the Law. We humbly thank you for your grace and truth revealed uniquely in him who could say “I am the way, the Truth and the Life” because he was- and is. Amen”
“Holy God, in the manger we see your love, and we are never the same, never alone, never forgotten. We have your peace tonight, your joy forever and your constant love. We are blessed, and so we sing: "Love came down at Christmas." Amen”
A Prayer for Christmas Eve:
Our loving God: we thank you for giving us a chance once again to celebrate the birthday of your Son. We remember with awe the signs of his arrival: the glorious singing of the Angels, the beckoning twinkle of the star, the hushed stillness of the night. We praise you for all who welcomed him: for sturdy, reliable Joseph; for beautiful, gentle Mary; for the shepherds, confused, but openhearted; and even for the cattle who looked on curiously and shared their home with him.
Father, we pray that our hearts may always be open, not just to the Christ child, but to all your children - of all ages, nations, and colors. As you sent Jesus not just to his own people, but to all the world as the bearer of the good news of your love, so let us carry the good news into a divided and hurting world, beginning with our own families, congregations, and communities. Make the spirit of Christmas linger in our hearts throughout the year, that we may freely and happily share your gifts with others.
We pray for those who have never heard this story of Jesus: that they may have a chance to hear it and to respond to his loving claim. We pray for others whose lives at this time are so filled with hate, violence and fear that they are unable to believe in your love. Help us to help them, so that their suffering may be relieved, and their spirits filled with hope.
Reduce everywhere the murderous noise of war, so that the whole world may enjoy the stillness of Christmas Eve and clearly hear the song: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace, good will among the people.”
We offer this prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, our Savior. Amen”
A Blessing for Christmas Eve:
“Let all the bells ring and all the stars sing for on this holy night, the window of heaven is open, and the angels will lead you to incredible joy and everlasting peace. Christ is born. Rejoice! Always Rejoice!”