(Portions of this prayer contain excerpts from the Moravian Book of Worship Liturgy for Christmas, pages 59-63, used by permission of the Moravian Interprovincial Board of Communications)
The Watchword for the Week:
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face
shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Invitation to Confession
God has done marvelous things for us, but often the conduct of our lives does not reflect the acceptance of those gifts. Let us acknowledge our sin and our need for a Savior.
Confession of Sin:
Saving God, we confess to you our sinfulness. We find ourselves more concerned with self instead of loving you as we ought. We view the world narrowly from our point of view rather than seeking to see others through your eyes. Too often we are indifferent to the feelings of those for whom this season is not a time of joy. You call us to a simple life, but we engage in extravagance, which directs our hearts away from you and from those in need. Forgive us and renew us, gracious Savior.
God has reached into the darkness of our lives to give us hope for living a new life. Accept the gift of God’s grace today and be transformed.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, AMEN.
Reading of the Daily Texts
Prayers of the Community of Faith (spoken and silent)
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us.
Holy Child of Mary, Savior of the World,
reveal yourself to us.
Help us and save us through the totality of your life:
By your holy incarnation,
By your human birth,
By your pure and blameless childhood,
By your obedience and diligence,
By your humility, meekness, and patience,
By your extreme poverty,
By your grief and sorrows,
By your prayers and tears,
By your having been despised and rejected,
By your cross and suffering,
By your death and burial,
By your triumphant resurrection and ascension.
We marvel, Gracious God, at the mystery of your incarnation.
Why would you choose to be born into poverty, with a family far from home, and seemingly ill prepared for your arrival?
Why would you choose a forgotten village in a forgotten corner of the world?
Why would you choose to be born in a cave full of cattle, and take a manger for your crib?
Could it be that through this unlikely birth you would reach out and choose even us to be your children?
Could it be that you would reach out and choose even me?
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved
The Holy One has done great things for us,
and holy is his name. Thanks be to God! Amen.