We gather with joy in our hearts to celebrate the birthday of our Saviour. The rising sun of this winter morning reminds us that Jesus, who is born for us, rose from death as our undying light, our hope and our salvation.
Alternative Opening Prayer (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
Today, O God of light,
your loving-kindness dawns,
your tender compassion shines upon us,
for in our Saviour, born of human flesh,
you reveal your gracious gift
of our birth to life eternal.
Fill us with wonder on this holy day:
let us treasure in our hearts
what we have been told,
that our lives may proclaim
your great and gentle mercy.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,
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 62:11-12 — Isaiah proclaims the joy that comes with the Saviour’s birth: God’s people are to be redeemed, not forsaken.
Titus 3:4-7 — Paul reminds us that everything that has happened shows the compassion of God.
Luke 2:1-14 — Luke records that Jesus was first recognised by lowly shepherds — a sign of his future mission to people on the margins.
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 (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For homeless children and families in Ireland (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For those who sent us Christmas cards (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For love and peace in our homes (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For people who are sick with COVID-19 (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For those in nursing homes and hospitals (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
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER II
Lord, you are holy indeed,
you are the fountain of all holiness.
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, AND WITH HIM, AND IN HIM……
SOLEMN BLESSING for Christmas (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)
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.