|Liturgy by TLW|
THE CHRIST MASS
by The Rev Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Below is a complete liturgy, including a greeting and introduction to the service. Music for the Words of Institution chant may be found by clicking the link provided in the service. What will appear is a large version of the chant. In order to print the chant, right click on the chant and choose "Save Target As" to save it into your computer for later insertion into a word processing document of your choice. Chanted prayers below should follow typical chant formulas for collects such as those suggested in the Minister's Edition of the Lutheran Book of Worship, pp. 18-20.
A very merry Christmas to all who worship the Christ Child on this holy day. Our service this morning is the "Christ Mass," from which we get the word Christmas. It is simply the service of Holy Communion with special emphasis on the Incarnation of Christ: in the manger, in the Word, and in the Bread and Wine.
Traditionally, giving praise has meant singing. Therefore, many parts of our Christmas liturgy this morning will be chanted by the Presiding Minister. The chant for the Words of Institution is from Martin Luther's German Mass of 1526. The Lord's Prayer chant by Giovanni Guidetti dates from 1582.
A. Today the Christ is born! Alleluia!
C. Today salvation has appeared! Alleluia!
A. Today on earth choirs of angels are singing!
C. Today in heaven archangels are rejoicing!
A. Today the just exult and say,
C. Glory to God in the highest! Alleluia!
(Ancient Magnificat antiphon, Hodie Christus natus est)
Hymn of Praise "Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn"
Salutation and Prayer of the Day (chanted)
Hymn of the Day (during the hymn the offering is taken)
A. Almighty God,
C. We are mindful of the supreme gift that you gave us in a manger at Bethlehem. Humbly we offer our gifts of service and possessions in joyful thanksgiving for the love you have shown us. We bring as well the concerns of our hearts for ourselves and for others. Hear our prayers and accept these gifts for the sake of your Son who was born this day, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Great Thanksgiving (with proper preface for Christmas - LBW setting 3, ELW setting 5)
Words of Institution [Click here for chant] (Or see ELW Min. Ed. setting 5, p.382)
Our Father (chanted by all, LBW setting 3, ELW setting 5)
Distribution (with quiet carols, esp. "Away in a Manger")
A. Let us pray. Almighty and Redeeming God, today you have made us one with you by lovingly sending your Son to take on our frail flesh. We thank you for this Word made flesh, revealed to us in the manger and in the bread and wine. Grant that we may find in his birth the new birth that he brings in us, to live out your gospel of love in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Benediction - short usual form or the Solemn form as follows:
Solemn Blessings of Christmas (may also be used on Christmas Eve)
P. May the God of the angels, who heralded Christ's birth, bring joy to your hearts this day and always.
P. May the God of love, who gave his only Son to be born for you, fill your life with love and peace.
P. May Emmanuel, God with us, be with you in all your doings and all your celebrations, until he brings you into his eternal kingdom.
P. (chanted) And may almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.
C. (sung on one tone) Amen
Optional Eucharistic Prayer for Christmas Morning:
This Eucharistic Prayer presumes that the Hymn of Praise "Glory to God" and the Sanctus have not been used or have been substituted with carols. In the above liturgy, sing the opening dialog of the Great Thanksgiving, but eliminate the Proper Preface and Sanctus, continuing as follows (spoken):
P. Lord God, Heavenly King, we give you thanks and praise upon this holy night when, in your goodness, you showed your supreme love for us by sending forth your only begotten Son, our Savior, to be born of a pure virgin, to save us all from sin.
Before you formed the heavens and the earth, he was your Word. In him you made all things. In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
Yet he did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself to take the form of a servant, being born in our own likeness, even as a baby, lying in a manger.
For all these things, we give you thanks and herald his coming with the song of the angels:
C. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to all people.
P. Eternal God, your Son, Jesus Christ, came to us in your name and showed us your steadfast love for us. All that he did was by your will. All that he did was in your name. When we saw him, we saw the Father, for he was the image of the invisible God.
C. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
P. For love of you, O Lord, and for love of us, he offered himself up to death on a cross, that we might be saved from sin and death. Yet you did not let the powers of darkness prevail over him, but raised him from the dead to sit at your right hand in glory. And now you have given to us who believe in him the promise of resurrection and eternal life.
C. Hosanna in the highest.
P. On the night before he died, our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.
After supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
On this holy day/night, O Lord:
C. We remember his humble birth in a manger. We proclaim his death and resurrection. We await his coming in glory.
P. Send now your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine. As Christ is Emmanuel, God with us, so fill our communion with his eternal presence, that we might know the joy and peace of his coming, have our faith renewed, and be strengthened in our hope for his return.
C. O Word made flesh, be born in us again.
P. Accept our prayers and praises, O Father, through your Son, our Savior, who was born this day/night, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, we give all honor and glory from generation to generation.
P. As our Savior has taught us, we are bold to say:
C. Our Father...
At the Breaking of Bread:
P. This is the Word made flesh, the very body and blood of him who was born for us.
C. Come to us now, O Lord, in the breaking of bread. As once you were born in a manger in Bethlehem, come to us again in the manger of our hands and hearts. Amen