The Season of Advent ends on Saturday next, so the celebration of the birth of Christ is now very close. We gather in preparation for that great event, worshipping God who was made flesh to bring us to glory.
As we prepare ourselves to celebrate God’s immense love for us, let reflect on how ready we are to celebrate this great feast (pause) Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God’s kingdom … You come in word and sacrament to strengthen us in holiness … You will come in glory with salvation for your people…
Alternative Opening Prayer (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
in the psalms of David,
in the words of the prophets,
in the dream of Joseph
your promise is spoken.
At last, in the womb of the Virgin Mary your Word takes flesh.
Teach us to welcome Jesus, the promised Emmanuel,
and to preach the good news of his coming,
that every age may know him
as the source of redemption and grace.
Grant this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Isaiah 7:10-16 Contains Isaiah’s prophecy of the events we celebrate at Christmas — words repeated in today’s Gospel. Romans 1:1-7 Paul begins his letter to the Romans by summing up the message of Advent and Christmas. Matthew 1:18-24 Matthew recalls some events that happened before the birth of Jesus.
Introduction (by the Presider) Let us bring our prayers to the Lord, the King of Glory.
- That all religious leaders may have the gift of courage (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
- That Christians may prepare their hearts to meet Christ (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
- That the world may not forget the suffering of those who live in war-torn lands (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
- That we may always bring peace, at home and abroad (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
- That in the darkness of this winter day, the light of Christ may give hope to people who are depressed (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
- That bereaved and lonely people may have our support, at Christmas time (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
The presider prays for the dead: For those who have gone before us in faith (especially N and N), that they may share in Christ’s resurrection from the dead (pause and pray). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) O God, yours is the earth and its fullness, bless your people by hearing the prayers we make, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
may the power of the Spirit
which came upon Mary and made her womb fruitful
sanctify the gifts we have placed on this altar.
Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PREFACE OF ADVENT (II)
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He is the one foretold by all the prophets,
whom the Virgin Mother awaited with love beyond all telling,
the one whose coming John the Baptist heralded,
and whose presence he proclaimed.
This same Lord invites us to prepare with joy
for the mystery of his birth,
so that when he comes
he may find us watchful in prayer,
our hearts filled with wonder and praise.
And so, with angels and archangels,
with all the heavenly host,
we proclaim your glory
and join their unending chorus of praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…..
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER II (with interpolation for Sundays)
Lord, you are holy indeed,
you are the fountain of all holiness.
[In communion with the whole Church,
we have assembled on this day which you have made holy,
and, rejoicing that you have made us a new creation in your risen Son,
Send down your Spirit upon these gifts to make them holy,
that they may become for us
the body + and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Before he was given up to death,
a death he freely accepted,
he took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith…..
Remembering therefore his death and resurrection,
we offer you, Lord God,
this life-giving bread, this saving cup.
We thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
We pray that all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ
may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.
Lord, remember your Church throughout the world:
perfect us in love
together with Francis our Pope and N. our Bishop,
with all bishops, priests, and deacons,
and all who minister to your people.
Remember our brothers and sisters
who have gone to their rest
in the sure hope of rising again;
bring them and all who have died in your mercy
into the light of your presence.
Have mercy on us all:
make us worthy to share eternal life,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with the apostles and with all the saints,
who have found favour with you throughout the ages;
in union with them
may we praise you and give you glory
through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
In this communion, almighty God,
you have given us the pledge of eternal redemption.
Grant that the closer we come to the feast of Christmas,
the more eagerly we may prepare to celebrate
the saving mystery of your Son’s birth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SOLEMN BLESSING (Advent)
Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
We rejoice at the coming of the Saviour in our flesh,
and we await his return again in glory:
May God the almighty and merciful
bless you by the light of Christ’s coming,
and enrich your lives with every grace.
May God make you steadfast in faith,
joyful in hope,
and untiring in love all the days of your life.
May God reward you with eternal life
when our Redeemer comes again in glory.
Songs this Sunday (suggestions): O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; Magnificat; Maranatha; Christ be our Light.