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Welcome to Bristol Cathedral on this Christmas Day.
What we are celebrating today is simple and startling.
At Christmas, God appears amongst us in the one form we can
most easily understand, as one of us.
He is made like us so we can become like him.
Our cathedral is an abbey founded nearly 900 years ago, right
It is a place where the city has always gathered
Now our service is about to begin, and the congregation is ready
to sing the first carol, inviting us all to join in and make
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Peace be with you. ALL: And also with you.
Today heaven touches earth, God becomes a child,
In this Eucharist, Christ comes to meet us and invites us to share
in the life he already lives with us, his risen life.
Christ, the light of the world, has come to dispel
In his light, let us examine ourselves and call to mind our sins.
# Kyrie eleison # Kyrie eleison
# Christe eleison # Christe eleison
# Kyrie eleison # Kyrie eleison
# Kyrie eleison 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 # Et in terra pax hominibus
bonae voluntatis. # Gratias agimus tibi propter
magnam gloriam tuam, # Domine fili unigenite,
Jesu Christe, # Filius Patris qui tollis peccata
mundi, miserere nobis. # Qui tollis peccata pecata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram. # Qui sedes ad dexteram ad dexteram
Patris, miserere nobis. # Quoniam quoniam tu
solus tu solus Sanctus, # Tu solus Dominus,
tu solus Altissimus, # Jesu Christe, Jesu Christe cum
Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. # Amen, amen,
amen, amen, amen, amen Let us pray in the peace of this
Christmas celebration that our joy in the birth of Christ
will last for ever. Almighty God, you have given
us your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be Grant that we, who have been born
again and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit,
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. A reading from the
prophecy of Isaiah. The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light. Those who lived in a land
of deep darkness - You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy. They rejoice before
you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when
dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have
broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of
the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled
in blood shall be burned For a child has been born
for us, a son given to us. Authority rests upon his
shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. # Hodie in terra canunt angeli,
laetantur archangeli. A reading from the letter
of Paul to Titus. For the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety
and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives
that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait
for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory
of our great God and He it is who gave himself for us
that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify
for himself a people of his own This is the word of the Lord.
ALL: Thanks be to God. Hear the Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. In those days, a decree went out
from Emperor Augustus that This was the first registration
and was taken while Quirinius All went to their own
towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town
of Nazareth in Galilee in Judea, to the city of David called
Bethlehem, because he was descended He went to be registered with Mary,
to whom he was engaged While they were there, the time came
for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn
son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place In that region there were shepherds
living in the fields, keeping watch Then an angel of the Lord stood
before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid, for see - I am bringing you good news of great
joy for all the people. To you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour, This will be a sign for you -
you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying
in a manger." And suddenly there was with
the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those In the name of the Father,
the Son and Holy Spirit. A young woman in a hospital,
she has small children with her. She gets up to go, and a nurse
asks where she is going. "We have no food at home,
I am going shopping", When she gets to the supermarket,
children in tow, someone "Give me your shopping
list, go to the cafe. We are going to treat
your family to supper I heard that story from
the young woman herself. She thought she had learnt
something about love We will come back to her after I
have said something about Christmas. For three weeks people
have been telling me, "This must be your busy
time of year". In fact, Christmas is not
the biggest challenge in my diary. However, just out of sight
this morning, I have They have wrestled with
15-foot Christmas trees, They have lit just shy of 800
candles and put them out again. They have put up staging
for a university concert, and listened to Hark
the Herald nearly every day for a month and mopped up more
mulled wine than you And this afternoon, they will close
their eyes and dream of Lent. They know that Christmas
arrives playing an organ They know it is busy and brash,
lit with coloured lights Not just carol services,
but the cooking, the ho-ho-hoing and the business
of explaining to Uncle Phil that it really wasn't
Colonel Mustard in the library, For some, Christmas is quiet,
or even sad, but the big, bright Christmas
we see in the adverts shouts out at us -
it wants our attention. The Christmas story has always been
full of bustle and bravado. The temptation at Christmas
is to tell the wrong story. We have just heard Luke tell us,
"In those days a decree went out Now that sounds like a history
lesson, a bit like "In 1066, Luke gives us a list
of names and places - Augustus, Quirinius,
Nazareth, Bethlehem. He does that to tell us that Jesus
was born into a world the weak obeyed the strong
and the strong feared the emperor. People talked about peace
and managed not to notice that Augustus had annexed Egypt,
invaded the Balkans, Before ever we get to Bethlehem,
Luke makes us think about uniforms and swords, about plans
and broken promises. Luke really wants us to notice that
Jesus was born while everyone The Augustus story is one we know
really well, power and politics, the noisy story we have been hearing all
year. Plans and gestures, taking control, being great.
It is the story that is always there.
And while that happens, a couple travel south in a remote
province and slip unnoticed into the streets of Bethlehem.
We have got so good at Christmas, so good at spotting the baby
men got lost and had to stop and ask, forgotten
You see, Christmas is a different story, another way of looking
at things, the whisper of God when the world is shouting
Over there is the big story, the manifesto,
That is what Luke is trying to get us to see, that we keep getting
distracted by the noise and the drama.
We set our hopes on the big solutions, we follow the flag.
The noise gets worse and there is no room at the inn.
My house will be full of people today.
It will be noisy and I will enjoy that, but I must not get distracted.
Christmas starts small, as small as human life can be.
It is easily overlooked and it is surprisingly ordinary.
Just a baby and his mother, a few strangers and a startling hope.
That is what the presence and power of God looks like -
a baby and his mother, a life of love and hope.
The gracious lady taking her children to the supermarket talked
about acts of kindness, about friends, family and strangers.
It is the same commitment that is asked of all of us.
God himself commits to the task of living life fully.
We can look elsewhere, we can look to the platforms of power,
Let us affirm our faith in God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
ALL: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
Let us pray to the Father through his Son Jesus Christ
Father of all, your Son Jesus Christ was born in a stable.
As we celebrate his birth, give courage to all
The infant Jesus and his family fled into Egypt.
As we give thanks for our security, give comfort to all refugees
and those who are held against their will.
As a young man, Jesus fasted in the desert.
As we eat and drink this Christmas, give relief to all who are starving,
Give strength to all who suffer - those whom we hold in our hearts
and those who have no-one to pray for them.
Heavenly Father, as we celebrate this Christmas, we give thanks
for those people we love and who love us, for our homes,
our friends, our communities and all the good things we enjoy.
Almighty God, that you might fill all things with your glory,
you have united heaven and earth in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Bring into your eternal kingdom of light and peace those who have
died recently and all whom we love and see no more.
Father, on this holy day angels and shepherds worshipped
Receive the worship we offer in fellowship with Mary,
Joseph and the saints through him who is your Word made flesh,
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,
and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of peace.
Word made flesh, life of the world,
in your incarnation you embraced our poverty -
by your Spirit may we share in your riches.
The Lord be with you. ALL: And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. ALL: We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
ALL: It is right to give thanks and praise.
All glory and honour be yours always and everywhere,
We give you thanks and praise for your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ, who for love of our fallen
race humbled himself, and was born of the Virgin Mary
by the power of your Spirit, and lived as one of us.
In this mystery of the Word made flesh
you have caused his light to shine in our hearts,
to give knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
In him, we see our God made visible and so are caught up
in the love of the God we cannot see.
Therefore with all the angels of heaven
we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name
# Sanctus Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
# Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
# Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini
Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness.
Grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
He broke it and gave it to his disciples,
"Take, eat - this is my body which is given for you.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks.
"This is my blood of the new covenant,
"which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
"Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me".
ALL: Christ has died, Christ is risen,
And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole
world, rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this
As we offer you this, our sacrifice of praise and
thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of Mary, the Mother of the Lord,
Joseph, Augustine, Jordan and all the angels and saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us.
We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
# Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
God our Father, whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem: may the light of faith
illumine our hearts and shine in our words and deeds;
Let us pray for God's blessing.
Our help is in the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord
May the humility of the shepherds
the perseverance of the wise men the joy of the angels
and the peace of the Christ Child be God's gift to us and to all people,
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
# Hail! the Sun of Righteousness
# Light and life to all He brings
# Risen with healing in His wings
# Mild, He lays His glory by
# Born that man no more may die
# Born to raise the sons of earth
# Born to give them second birth
# Hark! the herald angels sing
# Glory to the newborn King Glory to the newborn King!#
A traditional Holy Communion service for Christmas Day, live from Bristol Cathedral. The cathedral choir, directed by Mark Lee, lead the congregation in well-loved carols, including O Come All Ye Faithful, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. The Mass setting is Mozart's Missa Brevis in B flat, the president is the Rt Rev Mike Hill, bishop of Bristol, and the preacher is the dean, the Very Rev Dr David Hoyle.