Arise, shine, for your light has come; and over you the glory of the Lord has dawned. Isaiah 60:1
Welcome to this virtual service for Christmas Eve…
Rev. Geoff McKee’s audio sermon is based on Titus 2:11-14, which is set out for you below. Geoff discusses Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol, and how the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge that it describes – to a kind, generous and compassionate man – embodies the true spirit of Christmas. As G.K. Chesterton described it: “The great furnace of real happiness”.
Titus 2:11-14 (New International Version)
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
God of beauty and power, wonder and light, we worship you for being who you are: more beautiful than the sunlight you made; stronger than the power that formed the universe; brighter than the light which banishes night. We worship you in adoration and praise.
Good and gracious God, on this holy night you gave us your Son, the Lord of the universe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, the Saviour of all, lying in a manger. On this special night draw us into the mystery of your love. Join our voices with the heavenly host, that we may sing your glory on high. Give us a place among the shepherds, that we may find the one for whom we have waited, 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 forever and ever. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
On this night in which God joins heaven and earth in the person of his Son, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all those in need. Let us pray.
Lord God, we pray for the Church around the world as it celebrates the birth of Christ. Bless all those who are entrusted with Christian ministry that your Word might be proclaimed with truth and courage across our world. Bestow your wisdom on all who govern, that in honouring the earth and its diverse races, cultures, and religions, we may celebrate the light of Christ’s presence, Immanuel, God with us.
Grant reconciliation to those overcome by conflict and violence, that they may live in the peace of your kingdom promises.
We pray for all who are cold, hungry, or alone this night. Embrace with your tender care all who wander alone or have no place to lay their head, that they may experience the hope of your kingdom promises.
We pray for all who are anxious, depressed, or ill. Draw near to those who find this season a source of pain or grief, and to all who are suffering or sick, especially those we remember in our own hearts … that they may feel the comfort of your kingdom promises.
We pray for parents, families, and newborn infants. Strengthen families in the bonds of love and commitment, that they may delight in the joy of this holy night.
We pray for ourselves and for the blessings of Christmas. Open our hearts to your presence, that we may be transformed by new birth.
We give thanks for all the faithful departed who have been bearers of the Word made flesh. Give us grace to follow their example in lives of faith and commitment, that we may join with the hosts of heaven in singing the praises of Christ’s holy name.
All these things and whatever else we may need, grant us, O God, for the sake of him who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen