Christmas Midnight Mass

      St. Michael and All Angels                    Amersham on the Hill


Christmas Midnight Mass

A warm welcome to this service.


The celebration of Christ's incarnation is one of the two poles of the Christian year. The wonderful mystery of God's dwelling among us in the fullness of humanity, as Emmanuel, foretold by the prophets and born of Mary, provides the material of the feast:
Hark, hark the wise eternal word, like a weak infant cries! In form of servant is the Lord, and God in cradle lies. (Thomas Pestel)
The Christmas season is often celebrated for twelve days, ending with the Epiphany. St. Michael's follows the contemporary use, in which Christmas lasts for a full forty days, ending with the feast of the Presentation on February 2nd.
 

Hymn

Once in royal David's city Stood a lowly cattle shed, Where a mother laid her baby In a manger for his bed: Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little Child. 

He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all, And His shelter was a stable,  And His cradle was a stall; With the poor, and mean, and lowly, Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And through all his wondrous childhood He would honour and obey, Love, and watch the lowly maiden, In whose gentle arms he lay; Christian children all must be Mild, obedient, good as he.

For he is our childhood’s pattern, Day by day like us he grew, He was little, weak and helpless, Tears and smiles like us he knew; And he feeleth for our sadness, And he shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him, Through His own redeeming love; For that Child so dear and gentle Is our Lord in heaven above, And He leads His children on To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable, With the oxen standing by, We shall see Him; but in heaven, Set at God's right hand on high; Where like stars His children crowned All in white shall wait around.
Cecily Frances Alexander (1818-1895)

'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' says the Lord.
All: Now the Word is made flesh and laid in a narrow  manger.
From eternity to eternity you are God.
All: and now we see you as a newborn child

Lighting of the Advent Candle: Christ is Born 

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father  and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
All and also with you.

Prayers of Penitence
Christ the light of the world has come to dispel the  darkness of our hearts.  In his light let us examine ourselves and confess our sins.
We pause for confession..
God our Father, you sent your Son full of grace and truth:  forgive our failure to receive him.  Lord, have mercy

All; 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
All; Christ, have mercy.

Spirit of love, your servant Mary responded joyfully to your call; forgive the hardness of our hearts. Lord, have mercy
All; Lord, have mercy.

Absolution

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

Gloria in Excelsis

All   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Collect

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.      All; Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word;  

Isaiah 52, 7-10 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. For the word of the Lord,   All; Thanks be to God

Psalm 98 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things. His own right hand and his holy arm have won for him the victory. 
All; the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.
The Lord has made known his salvation; his deliverance has he openly shown in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness towards the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
All;  the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.
Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth; break into singing and make music. Make music to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody. 
All;  the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn sound praises before the Lord, the King. Let the sea thunder and all that fills it, the world and all that dwell upon it.
All;  the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.
Let the rivers clap their hands and let the hills ring out together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.
All; the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.

Hebrews 1, 1-4 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  For the word of the Lord,   All ; Thanks be to God


Hymn

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright; Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Shepherds first saw the sight: Glories stream from heaven afar, Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia: Christ the Saviour is born.

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light; Radiant beams from thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) trans. John Freeman Young (1820-1885)
 

Gospel Reading

Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory. Alleluia.   All; Alleluia.
The Lord be with you. All; and also with you.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. All; Glory to you, O Lord.

John 1.1–14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens
everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.  All; Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon; John 1 1-14 ( Isaiah 52, 7-10 & Heb 1 1-4) St M & AA Audio 24/12/20

Prayers of Intercession

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
All;  hear our prayer.

In this holy night there was no room for your Son in the inn.Protect with your love those who have no home and all who live in poverty. Holy God
All; hear our prayer.

In this holy night Mary, in the pain of labour, brought your Son to birth. Hold in your hand (...and) all who are in pain or distress. Holy God
All;  hear our prayer.

In this holy night your Christ came as a light shining in the darkness. Bring comfort to (...and) all who suffer in the sadness of our world. Holy God
All; 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
All; 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
All;  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
All;  hear or prayer.

In this holy night heaven is come down to earth, and earth is raised to heaven. Hold in your hand (...and) all those who have passed through death in the hope of your coming kingdom. Holy God
All; 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.   All;  Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us. let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

All 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. 

Hymn

It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, From heaven's all-gracious King." The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come, With peaceful wings unfurled, And still their heavenly music floats O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains, They bend on hovering wing, And ever o'er its babel sounds The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not The love-song which they bring; O hush the noise, ye men of strife, And hear the angels sing.

For lo!, the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold, When with the ever-circling years Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song Which now the angels sing.
Edward Hamilton Sears (1810-1876)


Blessing

May the Father, who has loved the eternal Son  from before the foundation of the world, shed that love upon you his children. All; Amen.
May Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with joy and peace. All;  Amen.
May the Holy Spirit, by whose overshadowing Mary became the God-bearer, give you grace to carry the good news of Christ. All;  Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and all those whom you love, wherever they may be,
now and throughout all eternity. All;  Amen.

Go in peace. Proclaim the Word made flesh.
 All;  Glory, thanks and praise to God. 

Hymn

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him Born the King of Angels:

Refrain: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

God of God, light of light, Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb; Very God, begotten, not created: Refrain

See how the shepherds, Summoned to his cradle, Leaving their flocks draw nigh with lowly fear; We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps: Refrain

Lo! Star-led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring, Offer him incense, gold and myrrh; We to the Christ-child bring our hearts oblations: Refrain:

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above! Glory to God in the highest: Refrain:

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning, Jesu, to thee be glory giv’n; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: Refrain:
Possibly by John Francis Wade (1711-1786) trans. Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880) and others

 

May your Christmas be filled with happiness and blessings.

 


Common Worship, Services and prayers for the Church of England (2000) and Times and Seasons (2013), material from which is included in this service. Copyright © The Archbishops' Council. CCL 908682.
SMAA 2017