Holy Communion – Christmas Eve Sunday 24 December 2023 – 11.00 pm

Please note: This Service is not being live streamed.

Presiding Minister: Revd George Mwaura
Preacher: Revd Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga

Gathering music

Gathering Prayer

Call to Worship

God of surprises, may we sing like the angels, may we be amazed like the shepherds,
and, like the wise men, may we worship the newborn king.


God of glory, in the beginning your love was alive, and it lives still.
In the beginning you created all things and you love them still.
In Jesus the word became flesh, and is with us still.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Hymn: O little town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet, in the dark streets shineth
the everlasting Light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King,
and peace to men on earth;
for Christ is born of Mary;
and, gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming;
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend on us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel.

Phillips Brooks (1835–1893)

Prayer of Confession

Lord Jesus, forgive us when we forget that in the midst of all our Christmas presents,
you are the gift.

In the midst of all our partying and noise,
you are the word made flesh.

In the midst of all our angst and conflicts,
you are the Prince of Peace.

In the midst of all our darkness,
you are the Light of the World.

In the midst of every moment of our lives,
you are our Emmanuel – God with us.


Gracious God, in you no one is insignificant, no one goes unnoticed, no one is turned away,
no one is forgotten, no promise that you make is broken, no plan is unfulfilled.
So, with confidence, we can lay down all that burdens us
and step out boldly, confidently and forgiven, in the name of Jesus.


Lighting the Candle

Now we light the Christmas candle and we rejoice that Jesus is born.
He is hope, peace, joy and love for all the world.

A Saviour is born to us today.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

[The candle is lit.]

O come let us adore him!
We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, you bring the life of God into the world.
Fill us with your light, now and always.


Ministry of the Word

Romans 16: 25–27

Read by Richard May-Miller

25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – 27 to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen.


This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Hymn: While shepherds watched

While shepherds watched
their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground,
the angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.

‘Fear not,’ said he,
(for mighty dread
had seized their troubled mind)
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you and all mankind.’

‘To you in David’s
town this day
is born of David’s line
a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
and this shall be the sign:

The heavenly Babe
you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
and in a manger laid.’

Thus spoke the Seraph;
and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
of Angels praising God, who thus
addressed their joyful song:

‘All glory be
to God on high,
and on the earth be peace,
goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
begin and never cease.’

Nahum Tate (1652–1713)

Luke 1: 26–38

Read by Kudakwashe Matare

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’

34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’

35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37For no word from God will ever fail.’

38‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga

Choral Response


Led by Joy Enenche

The Peace

May the peace and the love of the Lord be yours this night and always.

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
and also with you!

Let us share a sign of peace.

Hymn: It came upon the midnight clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold;
‘Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all-gracious King!’
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
 with peaceful wings unfurled;
and still their heavenly music floats
o’er all the weary world:
above its sad and lowly plains
they bend on hovering wing;
and ever o’er its Babel-sounds
the blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the angel-strain have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not
the love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
and hear the angels sing!

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing.

For lo, the days are hastening on,
by prophet-bards foretold,
when, with the ever-circling years
comes round the age of gold,
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendours fling,
and the whole world give back the song
which now the angels sing.

Edmund H. Sears (1810–1876)

Holy Communion

The Thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become our spiritual drink.

Blessed be God for ever.

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

We adore you, creator of the universe.
In the beginning you spoke life into being.

We adore you, God, who kept the promise made to our ancestors.
You promised to redeem the earth and set its people free.

In the fullness of time, you came to us in Jesus,
A baby, born of God’s desire to lift up the broken hearted.

Almighty God, good Father to us all, your face is turned towards your world.
In love you gave us Jesus your Son to rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home to the city where angels sing your praise.
We join with them in heaven’s song:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We bless the name of Jesus, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh,
whose brokenness and suffering makes love real,
who on the night in which he was betrayed took bread,
gave thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples saying,

Take, eat. This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

After supper he took the cup saying,

Drink from this, all of you, this is my blood given for you.
Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.

This is the mystery of our faith.

Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.

Therefore, as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we acknowledge brokenness as a path to truth.
We long for the bread of tomorrow: eternally broken and so able to nourish.
We long for the new wine of the kingdom: continuously poured out that thirst may be quenched.

Send your Spirit on us now,
that by these gifts we may feed on Christ with opened eyes and hearts on fire.
May we and all who share this food offer ourselves to live for you
and be welcomed at your feast in heaven, where all creation worships you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours forever and ever.


The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


The Communion

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.


The Offering

Prayer after Communion

Most gracious God, source of all blessing,
we give you thanks for inviting us to share this meal as your family;
strengthen us to be a blessing to one another and a blessing to all the world,
glorifying you in all things, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Christmas Acclamation

We came to adore the Son of God.
Jesus is the Light of the world.

We came to share the bread of heaven.
Jesus is our way, our truth, our life.

We came to enter the door to life.
Jesus is the first and last.

We came to adore the Lord of all.
Jesus is our wisdom from above.

We came to adore the King of kings.
Jesus is our friend and brother.
Immanuel, God with us. Joy to the World.
We come from all the corners of the world to adore Him.


Hymn: O come, All ye faithful

O come, all ye faithful,
joyful and triumphant.
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
come and behold him, born the king of angels:
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

God of God,
Light of Light,
lo! He abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
very God,
begotten not created:
O come, let us adore him, …

Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation,
sing all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God
in the highest:
O come, let us adore him, …

Yea, Lord, we greet thee
born this happy morning,
Jesu, to thee be glory given;
word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore him, …

Latin (18th century)
tr. Frederick Oakeley (1802–1880) and others


Tonight, as we celebrate God is with us in the birth of Jesus,
let us continue to live lives of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Share God’s love with the shepherds you meet on the hillside.
Let the communion of the Holy Spirit fill your heart with glad tidings like the angels.
And the Prince of Peace born again tonight,
may he live in your heart to comfort and challenge you as you seek to live as one of his disciples.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ,