Year ABC
The Feast of the Nativity
Proper I - December 25



Eucharistic Preface

Let us lift up our hearts.
    We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
and to offer a new song of praise,
singing: “Glory to you in the highest heaven
and on earth peace among all you favour.”

You are the God who made the heavens,
the Lord, whose majestic light now shines
on those who walked in darkness.
Your grace appears bringing salvation to all;
your child is given to us, the firstborn of Mary,
and the heavenly host sings his praise.

Though born in exile at the Emperor’s command
and delivered over to death,
he will rise to break the rod of oppression.
Though clothed this night in bands of cloth,
he will burn the blood stained clothes of war.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be seated on the throne of endless peace
to rule with justice and righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.

Therefore with .....

©2004 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Short Preface

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for your grace appears bringing salvation to all;
your Son is given to us, the firstborn of Mary.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be seated on the throne of endless peace
to rule with justice and righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.

©2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
and offer to you a new song of praise,
singing: “Glory to you in the highest heaven
and on earth peace among all you favour.”

You are the God who made the heavens,
the Lord, whose majestic light now shines
on those who walked in darkness.
Your grace appears bringing salvation to all;
your child is given to us, the firstborn of Mary,
and the heavenly host sings his praise.

Though born in exile at the Emperor’s command
and delivered over to death,
he will rise to break the rod of oppression.
Though clothed this night in bands of cloth,
he will burn the blood stained clothes of war.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be seated on the throne of endless peace
to rule with justice and righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

©2004 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Declaration of Grace / Absolution

God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people.
Jesus Christ is given to us
to redeem us from all wickedness
and to make us a pure people who belong to him
and are eager to do good.

Sisters and Brothers,
    your sins are forgiven;
        be at peace.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Commission & Benediction

Go now, glorifying and praising God
for all you have heard and seen.
Renounce ungodly living and unworthy desires,
and take control of your life with godliness and honour.

And may the God of grace increase your joy.
May Christ Jesus be born as Saviour within you.
And may the Spirit, the Wonderful Counsellor,
make the good news known to you and through you.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
    In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net






Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the Feast of the Nativity - Proper I - December 25
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.




* Isaiah 9: 2-7

The people who lived in a dark cloud of gloom
    have seen a great light break through;
those in the blackest hell-holes
    have seen their whole world light up.

LORD, you have built up the nation,
    and given them every reason to celebrate.
The people revel in it all,
    like farmers when a drought breaks;
    like children opening presents.

Finally they are out from under the thumb
    of those who oppressed them.
You have broken their chains
    and run the slave drivers out of town,
        just as you did in days long ago.

There will be a huge bonfire
    to burn everything left by the occupation forces,
    their blood-stained uniforms and cruel boots
        will go up in flames.

For see! A child has been born for us;
    the gift of a son who will take charge of everything.
He will be given all these titles:
    Most Excellent Advisor;
    Supreme God;
    Father Forever,
    Prince of Peace.

The reach of his arm will just keep growing,
    and his realm will know peace without limit.

He will inherit all that David ruled,
    and bring stability and security.
Doing what is just and right
    will be the hallmarks of his reign
        from now on and for all time.

The LORD’s heart is set on this;
    The LORD who rules over everything will see that it happens.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 96

We sing like we’ve never sung before, LORD;
    singing to you with all the earth.
        Every mention of your name sets us singing your praises.

We never tire of telling the story of how you bailed us out;
    all over the world, we speak of your incredible accomplishments;
        everyone we meet hears us giving the credit to you.

You are the greatest, LORD; we can’t praise you enough!
    When it comes to gods, you are in a league of your own;
        all other objects of devotion are powerless.

But you, LORD, created the whole cosmos;
    you are surrounded by majesty and celebration;
        strength and beauty are signs of your presence.

People of every race and creed recognise you, LORD;
    they recognise you behind all that is strong and true;
    they name you as the one who deserves all the glory.

We offer ourselves to you, LORD;
    we fall to our knees in this beautiful place of worship;
        with all the earth, we celebrate you alone.

You are our king, LORD; we’ll tell everyone everywhere!
    You have set the world on firm foundations,
        and with you in charge, everyone will get a fair go.

Let the heavens and the earth celebrate;
    let the roar of the sea join in;
        let everything that walks, flies or swims join the party!

You are on your way, LORD,
    and even the roadside trees cheer as you approach,
        for you are coming to set things right on the earth.

You will sort things out and put things right,
    and reveal the truth about everything and everyone.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Titus 2: 11-14

    God’s extravagant generosity is now out in the open for everyone to see. No one is left out - God has come to save everyone and everything! There are some solid lessons in this for all of us - we are being trained in how to turn our backs on crass and indulgent lifestyles, and how to get our lives back under control and on track, to realign ourselves with God and rebuild our integrity. All this is for the here and now. As much as we are eagerly waiting for the day when all God’s promises are fulfilled, when the full glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is writ large for all to see, there’s no reason not to get on with living it right now! After all, it was him who paid the ultimate price to bail us out of the degradation we’d sunk into. He didn’t stop at getting us out either, he personally went to work, decontaminating us and transforming us into a people he’s proud to be identified with, a people who enthusiastically throw themselves into doing good.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 2: 1-14, (15-20)

    Many years ago, the Roman Emperor Augustus gave orders for a census to be conducted throughout the whole empire. This was the first time it had been done while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Every man was required to go and register himself and his family in the town where he had been born. For Joseph, this meant travelling all the way from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. Bethlehem had been the home town of King David, and Joseph, being a descendent of David, had been born there too, so that was where he had to report. Joseph’s fiancée, Mary, travelled with him to Bethlehem for the census. She was pregnant and the baby was due any day. There was no accommodation left anywhere in the town, so they ended up sleeping rough in the stables behind a pub. Sure enough, she went into labour while they were there and gave birth to her first child – a baby boy. Mary wrapped the baby in a bunny rug and made up a bed for him in a feed trough.
    The region around Bethlehem was sheep country, and that night there was a bunch of shearers spinning yarns around their campfire. Suddenly the whole sky lit up with the glory of God, and the Lord’s messenger stood among them. They were packing death, but the messenger said to them, “It’s okay! There’s no need to panic. I’m here with good news, news that will give everyone everywhere good reason to celebrate. A saviour has just been born in David’s town. He is God’s chosen one, the Lord of all. Go and see for yourselves. You’ll know you’ve found him when you see a baby wrapped in a bunny rug and lying in a feed trough!”
    The moment he’d finished speaking, the messenger was joined by a whole crowd from heaven, all praising God and shouting at the tops of their voices, saying:

    “All the glory belongs to God in heaven,
        and let there be peace on earth for all God’s people!” 

    Then it was all over – the crowd went back to heaven and the shearers were left sitting there looking at one another, gob-smacked. “We’d better go and check this out,” they said. “Let’s go into town and see if we can see what’s happened, what the Lord has let us in on.”
    So without messing around they headed straight into Bethlehem, and sure enough, they tracked down Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the feed trough. When they saw all this, they began telling everyone what they had heard about this child. People could hardly believe their ears when they heard what the shearers were saying. But their words were precious to Mary and she repeated them over and over in her mind, wondering what would become of it all. The shearers headed off towards their camp again – a rowdy mob, singing and shouting in the streets about how fabulous God was because of everything they had seen and heard. Everything had been just the way they had been told it would be.


©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net