Reading and Prayer: December 24

December 24: Matthew 2:11-12

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you, for the wonder of the Christmas story;

the child in the manger,

the song of the angels,

the homage of the shepherds, 

the tender love of Mary.

But most of all we thank you for the meaning of the Christmas story:

that you loved the world so much that you gave your only Son, 

that all might live through him.

All praise and thanks be yours, O God, 

for so great a love, so great a gift, so great a Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord God, as we give thanks, we pray for the needs of the whole world:

for peace and goodwill among all nations;

for unity and harmony within the Church of Christ our Lord, 

especially in lands where the church faces great persecution;

for love and understanding within our communities, our families and our homes;

and for a blessing on all children dear to us, and on loved ones absent from home.

Lord God, we also remember those for whom Christmas brings little joy:

the poor and the homeless, the hungry and destitute,

all the victims of human cruelty, tyranny and oppression;

and the sick and those who mourn.

And Lord God we remember with thanksgiving 

those who shared our Christmases in years gone by

and who now rejoice with us in the greater light of God’s heavenly Kingdom.

To their company, and to the fellowship of all the citizens above, 

may God in his mercy bring us all.

Joining together in celebration and in prayer with countless churches

and countless worshippers throughout our world this holy night, Amen.