Printable services to use at Church or home Midnight Mass

                                

                                        

        

 

               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

Good evening to you all, at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve we will be celebrating Midnight Mass in our church building.  I’m aware that a number of folk who usually attend this service are unable to attend this year, so the below is a service of the word for you.  

(you can read it before midnight if you wish!)

From Boxing Day, because of rising Covid numbers Cornwall will be in tier 2, so please be vigilant if/when you have to go out.

May Christ’s love sustain you always.

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray;

Eternal God, in the stillness of this night you sent your almighty Word to pierce the world’s darkness with the light of salvation: give to the earth the peace that we long for and fill our hearts with the joy of heaven through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Hear the words of the angel to Joseph: ‘You shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.’ Therefore let us seek forgiveness from God through Jesus the Saviour of the world:

 

God our Father, you sent your Son full of grace and truth: forgive our failure to receive him.

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus our Saviour, you were born in poverty and laid in a manger: forgive our greed and rejection of your ways.

Christ, have mercy.

 

Spirit of love, your servant Mary responded joyfully to your call: forgive the hardness of our hearts.

Lord, have mercy.

 

May our God, of all healing and forgiveness draw us to himself, that we may behold the glory of his Son, the Word made flesh and be cleansed from all our sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

The Collect

Let us pray in the peace of this Christmas celebration that our joy in the birth of Christ will last for ever.

Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth, to see the radiance of your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

 

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Luke 2. 1-14 (15-20)

 

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

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 Saviour, 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 favours!’

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 is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)

 

 

Reflection

Usually, crossing the mind of most adults at this time of year is the fantasy of the perfect Christmas, in whatever shape or form that might be.  But the problem with fantasy is that it’s not reality, and this year we face the reality of celebrating Christmas whilst in the grip of a pandemic.

So, the stress of organising a perfect Christmas has been complicated by working out how many households can meet and for how long, what tier our usual visitors reside in, who they bubble with, or if they’re allowed to travel at all. 

Whether we like it or not, this Christmas is going to be far from what we might consider perfect. But when the fantasy of the perfect Christmas fills our heads, we can do ourselves a favour by going back to the beginning. We can look at the original Christmas and recognise that the first Christmas was far from perfect.

Forced by government bureaucracy, Joseph brings his pregnant wife to Bethlehem for the sake of the census, not a single relative with a bedroom to spare remains in his old home town, and there’s not a hotel room to be had for love or money.
The young couple find some space inside a stable filled with farm animals, a couple of local women help with the birth, Joseph, meanwhile, tries to get his wits about him.
The months since he found out about this pregnancy that nearly brought his relationship with Mary to an end have been hard. The dream, demanding that he accept the child, was followed by this awkward travel to Bethlehem, and now this sleepless night in the stable.

Nor is it a perfect Christmas for Mary. The unease of the pregnancy, the pains of labour, and once her baby is delivered, the unexpected arrival of shepherds from the countryside, their eyes wild as they proclaim a story of angels filling the night sky with song.

The shepherds delight in the baby, and as quickly as they came, go off into the night, shouting songs of praises, their hearts overflowing with heaven’s joy.

Christmas in the stable is far from perfect. The circle around the manger is made up of people with problems, but Christmas in the stable is real.

The perfect Christmas of our fantasies may be complicated this year by having to consider how many people we can socially distance around the dinner table, and by struggling to find out how to zoom and skype with those who’re remaining in their own homes.

Certainly this year if we try to live up to some fictional standard of a perfect Christmas we will end up sorely disappointed.

But let’s think about the reality of that first Christmas……

Imagine the scene, the shepherds had been sitting around the campfire, keeping guard over their sheep, protecting them from wolves and other terrors of the night, probably telling stories to help pass the time and keep tiredness at bay.

Their conversations might even have included each other’s views on when the long awaited Messiah would come to free them from the tyranny of the Roman empire, when suddenly the angel appeared and told them their wait was over.

But the angel didn’t tell the expected story that the Messiah had made a grand entry on a white charger, riding up to the royal gates of the city, but instead told of a baby born in a stable.

 

I love the fact that the shepherds, who were considered the lowliest people of those times, were the first to be told the Good News of Christ, and without hesitation they acted on what they’d been told.  They didn’t hold a committee meeting, or do a risk assessment, they went with haste, and on seeing the baby, their hearts overflowed with joy.

That first Christmas in the stable was far from perfect, poor Joseph could only find a stable to shelter Mary and the Christ child, but that Christmas in the stable was their reality.

Our Christmas this year due to Covid19 may be considered far from perfect, but like it or not, it’s our reality. 

But let’s not forget, thankfully that first Christmas message of the angels is as real and perfect now, as it was then, and our hearts should overflow with joy this night, just like the shepherds.

That’s all we need to remember, because God does not require us to perfect. God only asks that we are real, as real as the events in that Bethlehem stable, and that we accept the reality of his divine love.

So, what we need to do is remarkably simple: to put down the burden of memories of previous Christmases and accept the reality of the Christmas we have this year. Let us be thankful for what we do have, the gift we have been given, and lay to one side what we can’t have or do.

This night as we gather around the manger to celebrate with Joseph and Mary, and the joyous Bethlehem shepherds, the birth of Jesus Christ, here, with all its imperfections, we find that whatever the reality of the day may hold, Christmas has become perfect for us.

Hark the Herald Angels sing, glory to the new-born king. 

Albeit if needed by the wonders of technology this year, may our voices join with theirs.  Amen.

 

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Our Intercessions this night are taken from the book: Times and Seasons

In peace let us pray to the Lord.

Father, in this holy night your Son our Saviour was born in human flesh.  Renew your Church as the Body of Christ.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this holy night Mary, in the pain of labour, brought your Son to birth.  Hold in your hand all who are in pain or distress.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night your Christ came as a light shining in the darkness.  Bring comfort to all who suffer in the sadness of our world.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night the angels sang, ‘Peace to God’s people on earth.’  Strengthen those who work for peace and justice in all the world.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night shepherds in the field heard good tidings of joy. Give us grace to preach the gospel of Christ’s redemption.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night strangers found the Holy family, and saw the baby lying in the manger.  Bless our homes and all whom we love.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night heaven is come down to earth, and earth is raised to heaven.  Hold in your hand all who have passed through death in the hope of your coming kingdom.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

In this Holy night Christians the world over celebrate Christ’s birth.  Open our hearts that he may be born in us today.

Holy God Hear our prayer.

 

 

 

Father, in this Holy night angels and shepherds worshipped at the manger throne.  Receive the worship we offer in fellowship with Mary, Joseph and the saints through him who is your Word made flesh, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who 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.

 

 

The Peace

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace.

May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.

 

 

Blessing

May Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill us with peace and goodwill and make us partakers of the divine nature; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 24th December 2020 7:42 AM