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31 December              First Sunday of Christmas

Collect of the Day

Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


First Reading

Isaiah 61.10-62.3

10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. 3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.


Psalm   Psalm 148

Refrain: O praise the name of the Lord. Alleluia.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all his host.

3                 Praise him, sun and moon; 
praise him, all you stars of light.

4                 Praise him, heaven of heavens, 
and you waters above the heavens.

5                 Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded and they were created. He made them fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away. 

7                 Praise the Lord from the earth, 
you sea monsters and all deeps;

8                 Fire and hail, snow and mist, 
tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word; Mountains and all hills, 
fruit trees and all cedars; Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and birds on the wing;

11               Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world; Young men and women, old and young together; let them praise the name of the Lord. For his name only is exalted, his splendour above earth and heaven. He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants, 
the children of Israel, a people who are near him. Alleluia.

Refrain: O praise the name of the Lord. O glorious God, your whole creation sings your marvellous work; may heaven’s praise so echo in our hearts that we may be good stewards of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Second Reading

Galatians 4.4-7

4When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. 


Gospel  Luke 2.15-21

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 


Post Communion Prayer

Heavenly Father,
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home: help your Church to live as one family, united in love and obedience, and bring us all at last to our home in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):

Galatians 4.4-7 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA

Isaiah 61.10-62.3 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA

Luke 2.15-21 ©  1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA

Some material included in this service is copyright: ©  The Archbishops' Council 2000

Psalm 148 ©  The Archbishops' Council 2000

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