Christmas Eve Prayer
Omnipresent God, long ago you sent your angels through the midnight of the sleeping world to tell the shepherds Christ was born in Bethlehem: come to our dark world, and stir our hearts to hear again their message of your love in Christ. Aided by your Spirit, may we grow in faith and understanding of your purposes, and so be moved to wonder and to praise.
O God most joyful, on this night of expectant wonder, we tread again the path to Bethlehem and to the child whose birth was heralded by prophets, proclaimed by angels, and welcomed by shepherds. Open our eyes to see in that infant your loving purposes, and stir up within us the spirit of adoring praise.
Embracing God, in the quietness of this hour, touch our understanding with your Holy Spirit, that we may know again in true reality the wonder of your love in Jesus Christ; and though there was no room in Bethlehem’s inn, help us to make room in the busy-ness of the world, in our daily life, that our lives may show Christ’s love, and our hearts receive Christ’s peace.
Jesus Christ, born coloured and poor, welcomed by working women and kings, come to our world and heal our deep divisions, that we may be not white and black, male and female, employer and employed, but the children of God, seeing you, our Lord, in one another.
All thanks to you, generous God, for the gift of Christ, light in our darkness and hope of the world, whom you have sent to save all humanity. With singing angels, let us praise your name, and tell the earth this story, so that all may walk together, work together, eat together and in the breaking of bread, one with another, may feel our hearts inflamed and our souls sustained. Amen.
(adapted from Prayers for Sunday Services, posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website)
HYMN: The Crown of Love
A berceuse: French traditional, arr. Malcolm Sargent
Far from the gaze of powerful ones and great,
in darkest night – and at an hour so late
that only shepherds, minding the flocks within their care,
heard of the new arrival and hastened to see there
the infant born for us.
And in the stable our dreams find their own birth:
of failings pardoned, of future peace on earth.
Here in the hush we worship, in silence kneeling down
before a tiny baby whom with our love we crown –
the child who is our king.
In our dark world, so full of hurt and pain,
come, gentle Lord, reveal yourself again.
Make us the herald angels who faith and hope renew
for lost and lonely people who search for what is true:
The Christ is born today!
(Source: Paul P J Sheppy)