Resources for the Christmas Season

 

Blessed are you, God of all creation,
and blessed is the communion
into which you gather us.

You come to us in everything you have created,
in seas and stars, in river and rock;
But tonight we celebrate the gift of yourself
given to us in a fragile baby;
gurgling, crying, laid in a manger,
sharer of our flesh and blood.

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Send your Holy Spirit among us,
that we might follow the star of your hope,
reflect the bright beams of your grace and truth,
and offer our gifts wherever we find your Son.

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Shine your light on us like the blazing sun,
withering all that is trivial and false,
forcing our roots deeper into your mercy,
and driving us to seek rest and replenishment
in the cool oceans of Christ's love.

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

 

 

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton, 2000.

 

O God, you search us out and know us,
and all that we are is open to you.
We confess that we have sinned.

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

When we make no room for Christ,
and fail to welcome him into our lives,

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

When we follow shooting stars
and squander our gifts in Herod's court,

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

When we seek to cut down those
who might rise above us,

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

When we sanitise your birth place
and erase from memory the poor and displaced,

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

When we sing sweet sentiments over Christ's birth,
and fail to rejoice over his everyday presence,

In your mercy, Lord,
forgive us and heal us.

We turn to you, O Christ,
perfect union of Spirit and flesh;

We renounce evil;
We claim your love;
We choose to be made whole.

 

 

Stanzas 1 & 7 by Janet Morley, All Desires Known, London:SPCK, 1992, p.40. (adapted)

Stanza 2 from Responsive Praises and Prayers for Minister and Congregation, by Stephen F. Winward, London:Hodder & Stoughton, 1958, p.102. (adapted)

Stanzas 3, 4, & 5 by Nathan Nettleton.

Stanza 6 adapted from a prayer by C.Welton Gaddy published in Gaddy & Nixon, Worship: A Symphony for the Senses Vol.1, Macon:Smyth & Helwys, 1998, p.114 (adapted)

 

We believe in God,
the creator and giver of life,
who brought all creation to birth,
who mothers us and fathers us,
protecting, nurturing,
and cherishing us.

We believe in Jesus Christ:
God born among us as a fragile baby,
embodying both love and the need for love,
and calling us to rest in God
as trustingly as a tiny child.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
breathed into us at our birth,
always drawing us on to be born again,
encouraging, exhorting, comforting,
nourishing our growth
and inspiring our living.

We believe in the reconciliation
of the world to God, through Christ.
Hunted at birth
and humiliated at death,
Christ entered our fearful darkness
so that we might enter his glorious light
and share the life of his resurrection.

And we believe that each new child
is a glimpse of the face of God,
a sign of the life to come,
and a call to live in peace
and celebrate living together.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God's people on earth.
Amen.

 

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton, 1999, incorporating some lines from
"Midwife of our lives" by Kathy Galloway published in Kathy Galloway (ed.)
The Pattern of Our Days,
Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1996, p.138.

 

We are the body of Christ.

His Spirit is with us.

Let us lift up our hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

(Insert the Preface of the Week here - available from Laughing Bird Weekly Texts)

 

Traditional

Therefore with the woman who gave you birth,
with the man who took you on his shoulders,
with the shepherds who found you in a feed trough,
with the magi who knew of you from the silent stars,
and with the aged prophets who saw in you he redemption of the world:

We sing to you.

With the angels and archangels who envelop us,
With all the saints before us and beside us,
With brothers and sisters, east and west, north and south,

We sing to you.

And with our loved ones,
separate from us now,
who yet, in this mystery are close to us,

We sing the hymn of unending praise:

First stanza by Nathan Nettleton.

 

 

 

Second and third stanzas adapted from "The Prayer of Thanksgiving" on page 67 of The Iona Community Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 1991.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of truth and light,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Traditional

Blessed are you,
O God of strength and vulnerability.
You are the midwife of our lives,
who pulls us, kicking, into life
and breathes Spirit into us.

Blessed is your servant Mary
and blessed is the holy child of her womb,
born into poverty and exile,
to proclaim the good news to the poor,
and freedom to all who are oppressed.

Blessed is your son, Jesus,
who emptied himself of power
and became foolishness for our sake:
heaven's child laid in a manger;
God's anointed laid in a tomb.
Born again from the shuddering earth,
he is embodied forever
in his living creation
and in these, its fruits of bread and wine.

By Nathan Nettleton incorporating materials from a "Eucharistic prayer for Christmas Eve" by Janet Morley All Desires Known, London:SPCK, 1992, p.48 and "Midwife of our lives" by Kathy Galloway published in Kathy Galloway (ed.) The Pattern of Our Days, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1996, p.138.

Blessed is our brother Jesus,
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh;
who, on the night when he was delivered over to death,
took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said:

"This is my body, which is for you.
Do this to remember me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying:

"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, whenever you drink it,
to remember me."

"Institution Narrative" by Janet Morley,
All Desires Known
, London:SPCK, 1992, p.48 (altered).

So, as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

Traditional

Therefore, here in this place,
we celebrate the life that was born at Bethlehem,
the life that Jesus has shared
among his community through the centuries,
And shares with us now.

From The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67

Made one with him,
and thus one with each other,
we lay before you these gifts of bread and wine,
in token of our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
for here we offer and present to you ourselves,
our bodies, minds and spirits,
to be a holy and continuous sacrifice to you.

Adapted by Nathan Nettleton
from "The Desert Missal" of the Anamchara Celtic Church. http://web2.airmail.net/anmchar1/disert.htm

Come now, O Spirit of Christ,
Brood over these bodily things,
this bread and this wine.

May they be for us
your body and blood,
Vibrant with life,
Healing, renewing
and making us whole.

And embrace us
with your life-giving power,
that as bread and wine are made one with us,
we may become one with you,

Bone of your bone,
Flesh of your flesh,
living our prayer
and praying our life
until love and fidelity embrace,
peace and justice kiss,
and all are free as Christ is free.

Epiclesis adapted by Nathan Nettleton from prayers by Janet Morley, All Desires Known, London:SPCK, 1992, p.47 & 49; "Prayer of Blessing for the Sunday Morning Communion" The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67; and the ICEL translation of Psalm 85:10.

Because you are one with us, O Christ,
make us one with you as we pray
the prayer you taught us:

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.

Translation of the Lord's Prayer by ELLC.