MIDNIGHT MASS OF CHRISTMAS Hymns 34, 30, 32, 26
First reading: Isaiah 9:1-7
The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone. You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that was weighing on him, the bar across his shoulders,
the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of Midian.
For all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood, is burnt,
and consumed by fire.
For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity. From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of the Lord of Hosts will do this.
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 95(96):1-3,11-13
Response: Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.
O sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the earth.
O sing to the Lord, bless his name. R.
Proclaim his help day by day,
tell among the nations his glory, and his wonders among all the peoples. R
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad, let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
let the land and all it bears rejoice, all the trees of the wood shout for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he comes, he comes to rule the earth.
With justice he will rule the world, he will judge the peoples with his truth. R
Second reading: Titus 2:11-14
God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.
Gospel Luke 2: 1-14
Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census – the first – took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.
In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing:
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’
Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?
NEWS FROM ST MICHAEL'S
A warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's, as we celebrate this Midnight Mass of Christmas. A special welcome to our celebrant Fr Paul, to whom we are deeply indebted for his unfailing support during this time of interregnum. If you are new to St Michael's and can't at first find your way around the service booklet or hymn book, please don't hesitate to seek help from a neighbour!
Our Carol Service last Sunday saw us welcoming (despite the weather) a number of old friends: former organist Gareth, several former choir members and some familiar faces in the congregation. Thank you to everyone who took part, in whatever capacity: to Fr Paul for leading the service, to Gareth and Catherine for gathering the singers together and rehearsing them, to the readers, to Sue for generously providing the festive refreshments and to Margaret for helping her serve them. Thank you all for giving us that lovely preparation for Christmas, combining quiet reflection and happy conviviality.
Still on a musical note, warmest thanks to Malcolm, who is playing the organ at this Mass and has been indefatigable in his support on Sundays ever since the spring. Tomorrow morning Malcolm will have a well-earned rest, and for our morning Mass we shall have recorded music kindly provided by Martyn; so grateful thanks also to Martyn!
Together is an informative and readable FREE newspaper produced three times a year by The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, to which our parish is affiliated. The latest issue has arrived and is at the back of the church – why not take a copy home, and get a sense of what is going on in Society parishes elsewhere, and what The Society is contributing to the life of the Church of England? It can be all too easy to develop a kind of tunnel vision and lose sight of the bigger picture. Could we pray more for the clergy and people of other parishes, in this country and abroad, and for those who make decisions affecting the wider Church?
From our Tower: It was wonderful to hear St Michael's bells in action just before the Carol Service! A team of heroic ringers got here, despite the perilous weather conditions, and the sound filled us with joyous anticipation. Thank you, everyone.
Kent County Association
St Michael and All Angels
Sunday, 18 December 2022 in 43m (6–1–24 in C)
1344 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
1 Mark Elvers
2 Rona Joiner
3 Jacqueline Barlow
4 Paul Barton
5 Janice Byrne
6 Philip Jarvis
7 Pam Thomas
8 Neil Jones (C)
Rung prior to the Carol Service.
Late extra – Another Thank You, this time to Treasurer Nelly, who in the autumn spent considerable time and effort in dealing with a complicated form about the church heating. The result has been a grant from the Diocese to help with our energy costs! This has just arrived in the bank, and we all have cause to be grateful for Nelly's initiative and diligence.
A very happy and blessed Christmas to all our readers!
May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Mary and Joseph, and the peace of the Christ Child be ours this Christmas and always.