24th December 2022 11.30pm – Midnight Christmas Eucharist

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22 12 24 Christmas Midnight Eucharist - booklet

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Image © The Rev’d Sarah West | visiolectio.com



The Readings

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.

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.

Scripture Quotations are from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By Kath B


Well here we are again! After all the build up, Christmas has finally arrived. I don’t know whether you’re one of those who plans and prepares for it methodically and meticulously for weeks or even months in advance or whether you’re the opposite and it’s all a mad last minute rush or maybe like me you’re somewhere in between these approaches, just doing the best you can to make it as good as possible for everyone. Whichever you are, I hope that your way of marking Christmas has come together or that you’re at least on the home straight and a time of relaxation is in sight.


If we’re fortunate Christmas may involve the giving and receiving of gifts and this is generally regarded as a nice thing to happen, especially if the gifts are given thoughtfully and considerately. However, as we probably all know from experience, selecting the right gift for someone can be difficult. What would they like? What would be useful to them or what might be a real treat that they wouldn’t get for themselves? All these questions can go through our minds and there can be a lot of stress and angst involved as we scour the shops or wrack our brains as we try to decide what to buy or make as our gift. In order to give though, we need a recipient who is willing to accept our offering. Without one, we wouldn’t be able to give. Assuming this goes ahead though, I know we’re not supposed to have expectations when we give something but I think we all secretly hope that our gift will be liked and appreciated and used otherwise it’s all a bit pointless.


We’re here tonight to celebrate the birth of Jesus. God’s ultimate gift to us of his only Son. But our reading from John tells us that many of the people at the time were not willing to receive his gift which is very sad because they deprived themselves of so much. It would be easy for us to be judgmental about what appears to be their ungracious refusal to accept God’s gift but perhaps we should bear in mind, we have the benefit of hindsight and know more of the story than they did.


When we long for something and we’ve waited a very long time for it, if it finally arrives in a very unexpected way, we might take some convincing that what has arrived is really, genuinely what we had been longing for. The people were awaiting a messiah, a king and the manner of Jesus’ arrival probably didn’t fit with their expectations so maybe we should be a little bit understanding of their behaviour. Would we have been any different?


Fortunately for us though, some of them did accept God’s gift of his Son. They believed in him, stuck with him and by him so the light that John speaks of did not go out. We are here this Christmas to celebrate the arrival and continuation of that light and to play our part in showing it to others in a world that is in some ways just as hostile and unaccepting as when Jesus first arrived. What we might wish to consider is, what are we each doing with this ultimate gift from God? A question I was struck by when I read it recently was “How do my actions reveal the light and love of Christ to others?”. From the same publication I read this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer which reminds us of Jesus’ earthly as well as divine nature.

“As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbour, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. - He lives in the form of a human being among us.”


Lord please give us the courage to let your light shine through us in the way we live our lives and thank you for your ultimate gift of making your Son one of us.



The Prayers
Prepared by Oli.

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 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
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 those 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.

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.