We celebrate today an amazing mystery — God is born in time. The eternal God shares our nature, he has pitched his tent in the midst of humanity. With joy in our hearts, we contemplate the mystery of the Word made flesh.
Alternative Opening Prayer (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)
We praise you, gracious God,
for the glad tidings of peace,
the good news of salvation:
your Word became flesh,
and we have seen his glory.
Let the radiance of that glory
enlighten the lives of those who celebrate his birth.
Reveal to all the world
the light no darkness can extinguish,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Isaiah 52:7-10 — Let there be great joy, because we have received Good News: God is consoling his people.
Hebrews 1:1-6 — Greater than all the angels is the firstborn Son of God, born in time today.
John 1:1-18 — In beautiful language, John describes the mystery of God taking on human flesh in Jesus.
Introduction (by the Presider) Let us bring our prayers to God, who has shown his salvation to the nations in the birth of Jesus.
- For Christians all over the world, that they may follow Christ with enthusiasm throughout the year (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For children and families in Ireland who have no homes, that the country may not forget their needs (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For people for whom Christmas has little meaning, that they may believe the Good News (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For ourselves, that each day we may spread happiness and bring good news (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For those who are sad this Christmas, that God may stay close to them (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For people who are less well-off, that we never forget to support them (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
The presider prays for the dead: For our friends who have died, and for those who have died since last Christmas, whom we remember now: (pause for silent prayer) that the peace and light of heaven may be theirs. Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) O God, your love for your people is sure: hear our prayers and grant us your grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PREFACE FOR CHRISTMAS II (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
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.
In the great mystery of his birth,
the God we cannot see
has now appeared in human form.
The one begotten before all ages
begins to live in time.
He has come to raise the fallen world,
to make creation whole again,
and to lead humanity from exile
back to your heavenly kingdom.
And so, with all the angels and saints,
we sing the joyful hymn of your praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
SOLEMN BLESSING for Christmas (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)
Presider: Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
Through the incarnation of his Son
God has scattered the darkness of the world,
and by Christ’s glorious birth,
which angels announced to the shepherds,
has brightened this most holy day.
May the God of infinite goodness banish the darkness
of sin from your hearts
and make them radiant with the light of goodness.
May God fill you with the joy of the shepherds
and make you heralds of the gospel.
May the God who joins heaven and earth
fill you with peace and goodwill
and unite you in fellowship with the Church in heaven.
May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.