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The Gathering

Please stand at the sound of the bell as the sacred ministers enter, during which a hymn is sung.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

‘Fear not,’ said he (for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind);
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

‘To you in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:

‘The heav’nly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.’

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song.

‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth from heav’n to men
Begin and never cease.’

Words: N. Tate (1652-1715)
Music: ‘Este’s Psalter’ (1592)
Hymn Tune: WINCHESTER

‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord.

Now the Word is made flesh
and laid in a narrow manger.

From eternity to eternity you are God,

and now we see you as a new-born child.

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

The sun of righteousness has dawned
with healing in his wings.
Let us come to the light of Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Malachi 4.2

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.

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 in the peace of this Christmas celebration that our joy in the birth of Christ will last forever.’

Almighty God,
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin:
grant that we,
who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
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 St. Paul’s Letter to Titus.

When the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3.4-7

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Please stand as the gradual hymn is sung. During the hymn a procession will make its way to the centre of the nave from where the Gospel for the day is read. To symbolise our desire to turn to Christ in our daily lives, at the end of the hymn we remain standing and turn to face the place where the Gospel is proclaimed.

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 pow’r
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,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoicèd much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed Babe to find:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay,
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
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,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Words & Music: English traditional carol
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)
Hymn Tune: GOD REST YOU MERRY

Gospel Reading

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.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ 

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.

Luke 2.1-20

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Please sit after the preacher leads us in prayer.

The Nicene Creed

Please stand with the president.

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

Following an invitation to pray from the intercessor we kneel or sit to pray.

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 with the president.

The Peace

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace
to all in whom he delights.

Luke 2.14

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.

See amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on earth below;
See the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.
Hail, thou ever-blessèd morn,
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in heights sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.
Hail, thou ever-blessèd morn,
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?
Hail, thou ever-blessèd morn,
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

‘As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light;
Angels, singing “Peace on earth”
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.’
Hail, thou ever-blessèd morn,
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble thee,
In thy sweet humility.
Hail, thou ever-blessèd morn,
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Words: E. Caswall (1814-1878)
Music: J. Goss (1800-1880)
Hymn Tune: HUMILITY (OXFORD)

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.

Please kneel or sit.

The Eucharistic Prayer (A)

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 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.

Accept our praises, heavenly Father,
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and as we follow his example and obey his command,
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us his body and his blood;
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.

Therefore, heavenly Father,
we remember his offering of himself
made once for all upon the cross;
we proclaim his mighty resurrection and glorious
ascension; we look for the coming of your kingdom,
and with this bread and this cup
we make the memorial of Christ your Son our Lord.

Great is the mystery of faith:

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

Accept through him, our great high priest,
this our sacrifice of thanks and praise,
and as we eat and drink these holy gifts
in the presence of your divine majesty,
renew us by your Spirit,
inspire us with your love
and unite us in the body of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,
we worship you, Father almighty,
in songs of everlasting praise:

Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever.
Amen.

Silence is kept.

The Lord’s Prayer

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
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.

The Agnus Dei is sung as the bread is broken for distribution.

Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.

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. All baptised Christians are welcome to receive the sacrament. Please follow the guidance offered by the stewards.

If you are not baptised, or would prefer to not receive then do still come forward for a blessing bringing this book with you so the president knows your intention.

The sacrament is for the moment available in one kind only. To the words ‘The Body of Christ’ the communicant replies “Amen”.

For those at home it might be helpful to use this prayer during the distribution.

God of rough hands
and hardened feet,
giving light to the daughters and sons of earth:
in agony of birth
and gentleness of new-born skin,
may we discover your ordinary beauty
in the heart of our longing world;
through Jesus Christ, the Icon of the Unseen God.
Amen.

Choir Anthem

In dulci jubilo

In dulci jubilo, Let us our homage shew;
Our heart’s joy reclineth In praesepio,
And like a bright star shineth Matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O, Alpha es et O!

O Jesu parvule! My heart is sore for thee!
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Puer optime!
My prayer let it reach thee, O Princeps gloriae!
Trahe me post te, Trahe me post te!

O Patris caritas, O Nati lenitas!
Deeply were we stainèd Per nostra crimina;
But thou hast for us gainèd Coelorum gaudia,
O that we were there, O that we were there!

Ubi sunt gaudia, If that they be not there?
There are angels singing Nova cantica,
There the bells are ringing In Regis curia:
O that we were there, O that we were there!

Words: English text translated from German by R. L. Pearsall (1795-1856)
Music: 14th century German carol arranged by R. Chilcott (b. 1955)

The Communion Hymns are sung.

Please remain seated.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.

Words: anon. (19th century American)
W. J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921) arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)
Hymn Tune: CRADLE SONG

Virgin-born, we bow before thee:
Blessèd was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, maid and mother mild,
Blessèd was she in her child.

Blessèd was the breast that fed thee;
Blessèd was the hand that led thee;
Blessèd was the parent’s eye
That watched thy slumb’ring infancy.

Blessèd she by all creation,
Who brought forth the world’s salvation,
Blessèd they, for ever blest,
Who love thee most and serve thee best.

Virgin-born, we bow before thee:
Blessèd was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, maid and mother mild,
Blessèd was she in her child.

Words: R. Heber (1783-1826)
Music: German carol melody (14th century)
arranged by R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Hymn Tune: QUEM PASTORES

The Post Communion Prayers

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

God our Father,
whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
may the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord.

Amen.

Merciful God,
you have called us to your table
and fed us with the bread of life.
Draw us and all people to serve your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

A hymn is sung.

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

God of God,
Light of light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God,
Begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above;
Glory to God
In the highest:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesu, to thee be glory giv’n;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Words: J. F. Wade (1711-1786)
translated by F. Oakley (1802-1880) and others
Music: J. F. Wade (1711-1786)
arranged by D. V. Willcocks (1919-2015)
Hymn Tune: ADESTE FIDELES

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 people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.

For to us a child is born
to us a Son is given.

His name will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, mighty God,

the everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace.

Glory to God in the highest

and peace to his people on earth.

The Dismissal

Go in peace.
Proclaim the Word made flesh.

Glory, thanks and praise to God.


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Communion setting
© Oxford University Press

Gospel acclamation
© The Royal School of Church Music

God rest you merry, gentlemen
© Oxford University Press

In dulci jubilo
© Oxford University Press

Away in a manger
© Oxford University Press

Virgin-born, we bow before thee
© Oxford University Press

O come, all ye faithful
© Oxford University Press

Organ voluntary
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

CCL licence: 668063