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, who gather to celebrate the Christmas feast, that they may follow Christ with enthusiasm throughout the year (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
- For the people affected by terrorism and war in 2015 and for all those touched by natural disasters, that they may continue to be supported by the rest of the world (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
- For homeless people and refugees, that they may find shelter and safety (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
- For ourselves, as we hear the call to be messengers of the Gospel — that each day we may spread happiness and bring good news (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
- For those afflicted by illness or anxiety this Christmas — that the care of those around them may help them see God’s compassion (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
- For children deprived of love and care — that God may protect them from every danger (pause for quiet prayer/reflection). Lord, hear us.
The presider prays for the dead: For our friends who have died (especially N and N), and for those we have known 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.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
on this solemn day accept the offering
which has brought us reconciliation and perfect peace
and is the full expression of our worship.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.
PREFACE FOR CHRISTMAS 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.
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
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
grant that the Saviour of the world,
who was born this day
to bring us new and divine life,
may bestow upon us the gift of life everlasting.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.
SOLEMN BLESSING for Christmas
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. R. Amen.
May God fill you with the joy of the shepherds
and make you heralds of the gospel. R. Amen.
May the God who joins heaven and earth
fill you with peace and goodwill
and unite you in fellowship with the Church in heaven. R. Amen.
A May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.
SONGS AT MASS (Suggestions) Christmas Carols; ‘How Lovely on the Mountains’; ‘Sing a new Song unto the Lord’.