Order of service

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The Gathering

Please stand at the sound of the bell as the sacred ministers enter, during which the Choir sings an introit.

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now reclining,
Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king.
Angels are watching, stars are shining
Over the place where he is lying:
Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping,
Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king.
Soon will come sorrow with the morning,
Soon will come bitter grief and weeping:
Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby baby, now a-dozing,
Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king.
Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing,
Then in the grave at last reposing:
Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
Lullaby! is the babe a-waking?
Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not stir the infant king.
Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning,
Conquering death, its bondage breaking:
Sing lullaby!

Words: Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)
Music: Basque Noël arr. Philip Moore (b. 1943)

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you

and also with you.

Words of Welcome

Prayers of Penitence

Hear the words of the angel to Joseph:
‘You shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.’
Therefore let us seek the forgiveness of God
through Jesus the Saviour of the world.

cf Matthew 1.21

Silence is kept.

God our Father,
you sent your Son full of grace and truth:
forgive our failure to receive him.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus our Saviour,
you were born in poverty and laid in a manger:
forgive our greed and rejection of your ways.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Spirit of love,
your servant Mary responded joyfully to your call:
forgive the hardness of our hearts.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

The president says

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw you to himself
and cleanse you from all your sins,
that you may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

The Collect

The president introduces a period of silent prayer with the words ‘Let us pray’.

Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,
so we may share the life of his divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

Please sit.

A reading from the prophet Isaiah.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
   my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
   he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
   and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
   and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
   to spring up before all the nations.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
   and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
   and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
   and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
   that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
   and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Isaiah 61.10-62.3

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

The Choir sings an acclamation to herald the Gospel.

Please stand.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Glory to you, O Lord.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2.15-21

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Please sit.

The Nicene Creed

Please stand.

Let us declare our faith in God.

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 from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
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 worshipped 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 Intercession

Please sit.

The response to the bidding.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Then at the end.

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament 

Please stand.

The Peace

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,
and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9.6

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

Please sit.

Preparation of the Table

The table is prepared and bread and wine are placed upon it.

A Hymn is sung by the Choir. Please follow this and pray the words.

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray:

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heav’nly Father
A blessèd angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:

O tidings of comfort and joy…

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface:

O tidings of comfort and joy…

Words & Music: English traditional carol
arr. D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)

Please stand.

Taking of the Bread and Wine

Word made flesh, life of the world,
in your incarnation you embraced our poverty:
by your Spirit may we share in your riches.

Amen.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

All glory and honour be yours always and everywhere,
mighty creator, ever-living God.
We give you thanks and praise for your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who for love of our fallen race humbled himself,
and on this night was born of the Virgin Mary
by the power of your Spirit, and lived as one of us.
In this mystery of the Word made flesh
you have caused his light to shine in our hearts,
to give knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
In him we see our God made visible
and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see.
Therefore with all the angels of heaven
we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name
and sing our joyful hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.

Jesus Christ is Lord:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection
you have set us free.
You are the Saviour of the world.

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people
and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we,
in the company of Blessed Mary, St. Joseph and all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;

By whom, and with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

Please sit as silence is kept.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

We break the bread of life,
and that life is the light of the world.

God here among us,
light in the midst of us,
bring us to light and life.

Invitation to Communion

Christ is the true bread
which has come down from heaven.

Lord, give us this bread always.

The president and people receive communion.

At the giving of communion, the president receives communion in both kinds.

The words of distribution (“The body and blood of Christ, broken/shed for us all”) are spoken to the congregation, and all who intend to receive reply with “Amen”. All the baptised of whatever denomination are invited to receive the sacrament.

Please follow the instruction of the stewards. At the distribution, Holy Communion is administered without speaking. The consecrated bread is dropped into the hands of communicants.

To reduce the risk of spreading any infection, communion will be in one kind (bread) only. This is still considered to be complete communion by the Church of England.

The Post Communion Prayer

Please stand.

The president introduces a time of silent prayer with the words
‘Let us pray’.

Heavenly Father,
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth
the life of an earthly home:
help your Church to live as one family,
united in love and obedience,
and bring us all at last to our home in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Father of all,
we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
Dying and living, he declared your love,
gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.
May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;
we who drink his cup bring life to others;
we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A Hymn is sung by the Choir.

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see you lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel.

Words by P. Brooks (1835-1893)
Music: English traditional melody
arr. R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Verse 3 arr. T. Armstrong (1898-1994)

The Dismissal

The Blessing

Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
fill you with peace and goodwill
and make you partakers of the divine nature;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace.  
Proclaim the Word made flesh.

Glory, thanks and praise to God.

Please sit and wait for the stewards to invite you to leave.


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God rest you merry, gentlemen
© Oxford University Press

O little town of Bethlehem
© Oxford University Press

Berceuse de Noël
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

It came upon the midnight clear
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Joy to the world
© Oxford University Press

CCL licence: 668063