The Service may begin with a Chorale, an Introit, a Processional Hymn, or with Sentences.
SENTENCES, one or more to be read by the Minister.
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Mark I: 2.
The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah XL: 3.
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all ﬂesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah XL: 5.
Arise, shine! for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; and nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praises of the Lord. Isaiah LX:1, 3, 6.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. Isaiah LII: 7.
Blessed be the Lord God; for he hath visited and redeemed his people: and hath raised up a mighty salvation for us. Luke I: 68.
Through the tender mercy of our God, the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death: to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke I:78-79.
INVOCATION, by the Minister
Let us pray.
O Loving Father, who hast brought us again to the glad season when we commemorate the birth of thy son, Jesus of Nazareth, grant that his spirit may be born anew in our hearts this day, and that we may joyfully welcome him to reign over us. Open our ears that we may hear again the angelic chorus of old; open our lips that we too may sing with uplifted hearts, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Amen.
O Thou who dwellest on high, accept this day the gladness of our hearts as our richest gift upon thine altar; and confirm the spirit of this holy time that it may be with us throughout the days to come. Amen.
Prayer to be said by the Minister and people:
We rejoice this day in the unquenchable and eternal light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. In that light we are ashamed of those greeds within us that have darkened our own souls, and those selfish customs among us that have shadowed the lives and spirits of others. We seek thy presence here, O Thou Most High, not alone for our joy today, but to illumine the ways of all our doings until every child of man shall be brought out of darkness into thy marvelous light. Amen.
Then may he said the Lord’s Prayer, the people joining:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord, open thou our lips.
And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.
Praise ye the Lord.
The Lord’s name be praised.
HYMN, CANTICLE or ANTHEM
ASCRIPTION, to be said or sung.
Blessed be the Lord, our God; who only do-eth won-drous things.
And blessed be his glo-rious name, Forever and ev-er. A-men.
CHANT or ANTHEM, if desired.
SECOND LESSON, if desired.
The Minister may then say:
Here endeth the reading of the lesson.
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. O Lord, show thy mercy upon us.
And grant us thy salvation.
O God, make clean our hearts within us.
And take not thy holy Spirit from us.
Then may follow a period of silent meditation, after which the Minister may read the Litany, the People responding, and one or more of the following or other suitable prayers, or may oﬂer prayer in his own words.
O Thou Light of hope for all peoples, we give thanks this day for the birth of Jesus, thy messenger and prophet of truth and light and love.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. They that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
We give thanks for his ministry to men, that he was anointed to preach good tidings to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bound.
Help us to make of our present world the acceptable year of the Lord.
We rejoice in the pure light of the spirit of Jesus which has led his followers to seek the highest truth and to walk in friendship with their fellowmen.
For this commandment have we also from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also.
We remember before thee this day, and bear in our hearts, the many who are needy and suffering and discouraged. May we rise up to their help and comfort.
If we walk in the light we have fellowship one with another.
Over the face of the ancient earth, weary and torn with strife, the passing generations have come and are gone, and have not seen the triumph of good will among men: yet we give thanks for the unceasing renewal of life born to new hopes and strong to achieve new victories of good.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder.
In the light of the shining star that gives happiness to little children and cheer to all, help us to renew our zeal for that good time when none shall be far off or forgotten, but all shall live within the circle of the blessed life.
May the dayspring from on high visit us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.
O God, sanctify unto us, we pray thee, the rich and holy gift of thine abounding love which is manifest to the world in this glad festival of universal joy. Help us to attain unto the fulness of its blessing, that Christ may be born afresh to us this day; in deeper love and reverence for thee, in nobler sense of human brotherhood, in hunger and thirst after righteousness, in eager longing for the spirit of peace. May the passion of his faith and the patience of his love be shared by us this day in quickening consciousness of our eternal sonship to thee, his God and our God, his Father and our Father, Amen.
O Thou who hast mercifully and patiently led us through the busy year, giving us more than we have deserved or even desired, give us at this Christmas time the grace which was in Jesus Christ. Let the spirit of the little child, as it knocks today at the hearts of men, enter our life and bless it. Let duty become touched with delight, and justice be forgotten in love. Let our ears hear the cry of the needy, and our hearts feel the love of the unlovely. Give our hands strength to do all things graciously. Let our gifts today be not a sacriﬁce but a privilege, and let us accept kindness with humility. Heal the wounds of misunderstanding, jealousy, or regret, with the gentle breath of the Christmas spirit. As the old year ends, and the new year begins, grant us peace with the world, and peace in our own hearts, that those we love and those whom we may help may have sweet joy and rest. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who in holy wedlock have been made one; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and so kindle charity among us all, that we may be ever more kindly affectioned with brotherly love. Amen.
O Thou whose eye is over all the children of men, and who hast called them, by thy Prince of Peace, into a kingdom not of this world; send forth his spirit speedily into the dark places of our guilt and woe, and arm it with the piercing power of thy grace. May it reach the heart of every oppression, and make arrogancy dumb before thee. Let it still the noise of our strife and the tumult of the peoples; put to shame the false idols of every mind; carry faith to the doubting, hope to the fearful, strength to the weak, light to the mourner, and more and more increase the pure in heart who see their God. Commit thy word, 0 Lord, to the lips of faithful men or the free winds of thine invisible providence; that soon the knowledge of thee may cover the earth, as the waters cover the channels of the deep. And so let thy kingdom come, and thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Then may follow a period of silence, an organ interlude, or the following chant.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Glory be to thee, O Lord most high. Amen.
OFFERTORY, during which an anthem may be sung.