54a Magnificat (The Song of Mary)
1 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
2 From this day all generations will call me blessed; •
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.
3 He has mercy on those who fear him, •
from generation to generation.
4 He has shown strength with his arm •
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
5 Casting down the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.
6 He has filled the hungry with good things •
and sent the rich away empty.
7 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, •
to remember his promise of mercy,
8 The promise made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.
All Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
This psalm is from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.
COLLECTS FOR CHRISTMAS
O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
[When 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." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. ]
This prayer is from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.
At this time of year we are celebrating the living presence of God in our midst. As his Church we know God is here with us – he is present in the baby in the manger; in the man on the cross; in each and every one of his people: Emmanuel, God with us.
Truly that is cause and enough to rejoice, especially at this season.
A Happy and Joyful Christmas to all.
NOT FORGETTING THOSE DEPLOYED ON ACTIVE SERVICE
stretch forth your mighty arm
to strengthen and protect the armed forces:
grant that meeting danger with courage
and all occasions with discipline and loyalty,
they may truly serve the cause of justice and peace;
to the honour of your holy name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
From the Field Service Book of the British Army