Christmas Eve: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD
So, we wait. We wait for Christ to come among us and by his Incarnation to change our lives and, indeed, the life of the world.
We know where we are going to see him. We are going to see him in poverty. We’re going to see him with his father and mother with the dust of the journey from a distant home still on their clothes. We will see him among the dispossessed. We’ll see him in the face of his mother, a face filled with hope and love.
We know what we are going to hear. We know that we will hear Scripture being read. We’re going to hear a message of hope, of God’s love for the world. We will hear the music of the ages, hymns passed from generation to generation, giving thanks to God for the gift of his Son. We’re going to hear the greetings of friends, as well as the kind words of strangers whom we do not know.
We know what we are going to say. In concert with others, we will say The Lord’s Prayer together. We will exchange with each other a greeting of peace. In concert with others, we will offers prayers of thanksgiving as well as prayers for the well being of our family, our friends, for the nation, the world and all those who stand in need of our intercessions.
Finally, we know what we will be doing. We will be giving gifts to those we love and, one hopes, to those we do not know who are in need.
Yes, I’m talking about Christmas Eve… but it is a pretty good agenda for every other day of the year as well.
A Bidding Prayer
Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmastide our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Therefore let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child.
But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all his people; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this city in which we live.
And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved, the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are for ever one.
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the Throne of Heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil;
for thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life, and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.
A Very Merry Christmas to one and all…