Day One — 25 December — Christmas Day

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 62.6-12 | Ps 97 | Titus 3.4-8a | Luke 2.1-20 |

Nativity (in a Ugandan setting) by Brian Whelan, 2005

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548?-1611), O Magnum Mysterium(responsorial chant from the Matins of Christmas.) Sung by The Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
John Milton

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
   That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven’s high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and, here with us to be,
   Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the Sun’s team untrod,
   Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

See how from far upon the Eastern road
The star-led Wizards haste with odours sweet!
Oh! run; prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
   And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.


God of joy, we celebrate the birth of your Son! In churches throughout the world, people are gathering. We are glad that we can celebrate together. Yet when we come to pray, we soon remember that there are many who are not able to be joyful this Christmas: survivors from war and disaster, loved ones of those killed by violence and accident, refugees—herded together behind wire, and people sleeping rough, and too many others. Loving God, we ask for your compassion on those who cannot rejoice. Help us to know how to celebrate and how to show mercy.

Dear Lord, how deeply we pray that the nations of the earth would respond to the gospel of peace, the goodwill your angels announced to the shepherds at Bethlehem. We pray for the people of Bethlehem today—help them somehow to find a way to peace.

We pray for the church; may it truly represent the good news of Jesus. As the church worships the Christ-child, by the power of your Spirit give new love where there is dispute, new hope where there is struggle and setback, and new faith in your power and goodness.

Lord Jesus, you were born as a vulnerable child into an ordinary family, to experience the ups and downs of family life. Often, we feel vulnerable at Christmas time. Be with those who find loneliness hard to bear, who experience hurt or disappointment. Be close to those for whom Christmas is a reminder of tragedy or bereavement. We give thanks for the happiness of Christmas, but we ask that you help us when we feel sadness or distress.

Heal, we pray, all who need restoration in body, soul and spirit. As holidays begin, we ask for rest and safety for those who are taking a break and encouragement for those who need to work.

We thank you, Lord, for the angels' proclamation of peace and goodwill to all and for the promise of eternal life. May your kingdom come and your will be done. We thank you in the name of Jesus whose birth we celebrate.

May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.