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In the hills around Zurich

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty winds made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign.

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Holy Spirit, let me be aware of your presence and that of countless others *
as together we pray your Divine Office in love.

INVITATORY & PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.

(You may wish to light a candle here.)

Hymn: Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Psalm 2

Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt,
and the princes plot together, *
against the LORD and against his Anointed?
“Let us break their yoke,” they say; *
“let us cast off their bonds from us.”
He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
and his rage fills them with terror.
“I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
he said to me, “You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery.”
And now, you kings, be wise; *
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Submit to the LORD with fear, *
and with trembling bow before him;
Lest he be angry and you perish; *
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!

1 John 4:7-16 (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Canticle: The Song of Simeon
Luke 2:29-32

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

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.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

Collect of the Day: The Nativity of Our Lord

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

(Please add your own prayers here.)

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.++

Evening Prayer 12.24.07, Christmas Eve (excerpted from dailyofffice.wordpress.com)

Madonna and Angels

Bouguereau: Madonna and Angels

Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

INVITATORY & PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.

(You may wish to light a candle here.)

Hymn: Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Psalm 89:1-29

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; *
from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; *
you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one; *
I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
‘I will establish your line for ever, *
and preserve your throne for all generations.’”
The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, *
and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? *
who is like the LORD among the gods?
God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, *
great and terrible to all those round about him.
Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? *
O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
You rule the raging of the sea *
and still the surging of its waves.
You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; *
you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
Yours are the heavens;
the earth also is yours; *
you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
You have made the north and the south; *
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
You have a mighty arm; *
strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; *
love and truth go before your face.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout! *
they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
They rejoice daily in your Name; *
they are jubilant in your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength, *
and by your favor our might is exalted.
Truly, the LORD is our ruler; *
the Holy One of Israel is our King.

You spoke once in vision and said to your faithful people: *
“I have set the crown upon a warrior
and have exalted one chosen out of the people.
I have found David my servant; *
with my holy oil have I anointed him.
My hand will hold him fast *
and my arm will make him strong.
No enemy shall deceive him, *
nor any wicked man bring him down.
I will crush his foes before him *
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and love shall be with him, *
and he shall be victorious through my Name.
I shall make his dominion extend *
from the Great Sea to the River.
He will say to me, ‘You are my Father, *
my God, and the rock of my salvation.’
I will make him my firstborn *
and higher than the kings of the earth.
I will keep my love for him for ever, *
and my covenant will stand firm for him.
I will establish his line for ever *
and his throne as the days of heaven.”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE LESSONS
Isaiah 59:15-21 (NRSV)

Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle. According to their deeds, so will he repay; wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. So those in the west shall fear the name of the LORD, and those in the east, his glory; for he will come like a pent-up stream that the wind of the LORD drives on. And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD. And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your children, or out of the mouths of your children’s children, says the LORD, from now on and forever.

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Phillippians 2:5-11 (TEV)

He always had the very nature of God,
but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God.
Instead, of his own free will he gave it all up,
and took the nature of a servant.
He became like man,
and appeared in human likeness.
He was humble and walked the path of obedience to death—
his death on the cross.
For this reason God raised him to the highest place above,
and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
And so, in honor of the name of Jesus,
all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below
will fall on their knees,
and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Canticle: You are God
“Te Deum laudamus”

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

THE PRAYERS

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.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

Collect of the Day: Christmas

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

We raise our hands and hearts to you, O YHWH, and to your Son Jesus Christ, knowing and respecting that other peoples may call you by a different name and discern you in a different light; even as we proclaim your majesty, your sovereignty and your permanent, magisterial blessing, from your holy city Jerusalem to your entire far-flung universe of earthlings, saints and stars:

One true GOD, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

For Peace

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(Please offer your own intercessions and thanksgivings here.)

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.++

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory