Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: May the God of holy nights be with you!
P: And also with you!
L: People of God, this is the night God transformed our lives.
P: This is the night we offer our hearts to God.
L: Children of Bethlehem, lift your voices in joy to God.
P: Our voices join with all who celebrate the Birth this night.
Into the silence of chaos
came your songs of creation,
God of never-ending hope:
carols which crafted desert cacti,
hymns which hand-carved the heavens,
psalms which planted grassy fields.
You sang your hopes for us,
your Light shining the way for those
who had been created in your image.
But we listened to the boasting of death
and worshipped our own desires. You sent the prophets in every age
to remind us of your mercy and hope,
but we would not behold your glory.
Finally, into a silent and fearful world,
your sent Jesus to Bethlehem,
born that we might have life with you.
So with shepherds, angels, and parents,
with those who sing carols
and those whose pain only brings silence,
we lift our glad songs to you:
P: Holy, holy, holy are you, God of righteousness.
Creation hears the angelic songs and rejoices.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who is born this night.
Hosanna in the highest!
You could have remained silent in your holiness,
God of hillsides and mangers in barns,
but you sent your Word into our world
to speak of your longing for us.
You could have consumed us with the white heat of your justice,
but you sent a Baby to us,
to show us that your weakness
is strong enough to offer us mercy.
You could have come as an immortal,
but you took on all our human frailties,
even experiencing death for us,
so that by raising Jesus from the grave,
you fill us with resurrection life.
As we celebrate the birth of that Grace which is ours,
as we sing carols of the Babe in the manger,
we also speak of that mystery we call faith:
P: Christ was born, that we might have life with you.
Christ came, that we might find our way back to you.
Christ became one of us, so we might become more like him.
Your Spirit is poured out upon your children
on this most silent of holy nights, and on the gifts of the Table.
We taste the Bread which is broken,
and see your goodness and loving kindness
appearing in our midst, not so we might wrap them in shiny paper,
but so we could share them
with everyone around us.
We drink from the Cup offered for us,
and taste your salvation which has come,
good news which we would take
to the broken and the lost,
the homeless and the hungry,
the friendless and the fearful
so they might know of your love for them
And when there is only silence at the end of time,
when we are gathered with your holy people,
our sisters and brothers from every age and place,
around the Table which is prepared in glory,
we will sing our carols of joy and wonder to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies