Year ABC
The Feast of the Nativity
Proper II - 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,
singing: “Glory to you in the highest heaven
and on earth peace among all you favour.”

You are the God whose Word raised the earth from the seas,
whose presence melts mountains like wax,
and whose light rains down joy on loyal hearts.
Your loving kindness has appeared - salvation by grace -
a 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 bring back your people
and name them “Redeemed”.
Though clothed this night in bands of cloth,
he will be wrapped in thunder and crowned with glory.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be throned on justice and righteousness,
and will restore to all the joyous fruits of their labours.

Therefore with .....

©2004 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Short Preface
(for insertion into Eucharistic prayers with fixed prefaces)

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for your loving kindness has appeared - salvation by grace -
a Son is given to us, the firstborn of Mary.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be throned on justice and righteousness,
and will restore to all the joyous fruits of their labours.

©1999 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



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

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

You are the God whose Word raised the earth from the seas,
whose presence melts mountains like wax,
and whose light rains down joy on loyal hearts.
Your loving kindness has appeared - salvation by grace -
a 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 bring back your people
and name them “Redeemed”.
Though clothed this night in bands of cloth,
he will be wrapped in thunder and crowned with glory.
Though laid this night in a manger,
he will be throned on justice and righteousness,
and will restore to all the joyous fruits of their labours.

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

The kindness and love of God our Saviour has been revealed
and he has saved us according to his mercy.
Having been justified by his grace,
we are now made heirs with Christ
in the hope of eternal life.

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

©1999 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Commission & Benediction

Go now, glorifying and praising God
for all you have heard and seen.
Love the Lord, reject evil,
Be joyous in Christ and live faithful lives.

And may God shield you and call you his redeemed.
May Christ Jesus be born as Saviour within you.
And may the Spirit be poured out upon you,
making you heirs of hope with Christ.

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 II - 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 62:6-12

Jerusalem, I have sent the town criers up onto the wall.
    I have told them to shout day and night,
        and never let anyone shut them up.
Their job is to shout and chant without a break,
    to keep up the pressure
        until the LORD puts Jerusalem back on her feet
        and makes her the toast of all the earth.

“I have given my word,” says the LORD,
    “and you can count on it.”
“Never again will I let your enemies in
    to plunder the food and wine
        that you have put so much work into.
From now on everyone will enjoy the fruits of their own labour;
    those who bake the bread
        will eat with thankful hearts;
    those who pick the grapes
        will enjoy the wine in my temple.”

People of Jerusalem, throw open your gates.
    Get everything ready for the home comers.
Resurface the road,
    fill the potholes, clear the stones,
        put up signs to show everyone the way.

The LORD has an announcement to make,
    and all the earth will hear it;
“I am coming soon to save you, Jerusalem,
    and I will bring a reward
        to make up for all you have suffered.

You will be known as a people dedicated to me,
    as the people I have reclaimed and brought home.
You will be called “the place to be,
    the city no one wants to leave.”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 97

You, LORD, are the ruler of everything!
    The whole earth celebrates!
    Up and down the coast, everyone is shouting for joy!

Deep, dark clouds of mystery hide you from us;
    justice and integrity are the bedrock of your rule.

You are a consuming fire, leaping in all directions,
    purging the earth of its enemies.

Your touch splits the darkness with bolts of light;
    the earth is lit up and shakes like a leaf.

You are Lord of all the earth, and in your presence
    even the mountains go weak and melt like wax.

The heavens herald you as the one who puts things right;
    all people everywhere witness your day of glory.

Those who worshipped hollow facades
    will hang their heads in shame.
Those who take pride in the power of possessions
    will be horrified when it all proves worthless.
All these false gods and short-lived saviours
    crumble and fall before you, the real thing.

From the Temple Mountain to the farthest flung town,
    your people are celebrating with great joy, O God,
    because you have seen the truth and brought about justice.

You, LORD, are number one in all the universe;
    in a league of your own,
        far above anything else that seeks our allegiance.

You love those who detest evil, LORD;
    You stand guard over those who are loyal to you;
        You come to their rescue if they fall prey to violence.

When people have integrity and do what is right,
    you light up their lives and fill them with joy.

All who build their lives on the bedrock of your truth and justice
    are celebrating all you do, LORD.
Just the mention of your holy name
    and they burst forth with a flood of gratitude!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Titus 3: 4-7

When God our Saviour showed up,
    overflowing with goodness, love and kindness,
        we were rescued from the horrors of our past.

God saved us,
    for no other reason than because God wanted to.
We had never done anything to deserve it.
    It only happened because God’s mercy is so extravagant.

The Holy Spirit stepped in
    and took us down into the healing waters.
We came out thoroughly rejuvenated,
    like newborn babies with a fresh start before us.

Through our contact with Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
    God has poured out the Holy Spirit on us,
        like a rich oil that soaks into every pore.
So now, having been given a clean slate
    through God’s extravagant generosity,
we are marked out to receive the full inheritance,
    the life without limit that everyone has been longing for.

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 2: (1-7), 8-20

    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