The Moravian Liturgy for Christmas

The Christmas Liturgy from the 1995 Moravian Book of Worship is a testament to the hope and salvation that Jesus brings to the world. While worshiping this liturgy is an inspiration, just reading it at home offers a Moravian view of the true meaning of Christmas. We offer it to you here in its entirety.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns;
Let all their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, 
 and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
(Tune: Antioch)

One: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

All: For he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high has broken upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

To guide our feet into the way of peace.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given.

From the collection of Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pa.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Thanks be to God for this gift beyond words!

My eyes have seen your salvation,

Which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.

Dear Christian friends, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Hear the news that John did cry:
“God to us is drawing nigh;
Turn away from fear and sin,
To let the Savior enter in.”
God is drawing nigh!
God is drawing nigh!
(Tune: In Dulci Jubilo. Text ©W. Thomas Stapleton)

Saving God, we confess to you our sinfulness. We are consumed with greed and with self, instead of loving you as we ought. Too often we are indifferent to those for whom this season is not a time of joy. You call us to the simple life, but we engage in extravagence, which directs our hearts away from you and from those in need.

Forgive us, and renew us, gracious Savior. Amen.

With Mary we exalt you, God our Redeemer:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

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!

O sing, choirs of angels, sing in 
 exultation!
O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest!
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!
(Tune: Adeste Fidelis)

Glory be to you, Lord our God; you have chosen us in Jesus Christ, our Lord, before the founding of the world.

You have given us such love, Father, that we should be called the children of God!

You have blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

You have rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of your beloved Son.

You have redeemed us through Jesus Christ, your Incarnate Son.

For the sake of the great love with which you love us, make us alive in Christ, our Lord.

Holy Child of Mary, Savior of the world,

Reveal yourself to us.

By your holy incarnation,
By your human birth,
By your pure and blameless childhood,
By your obedience and diligence,
By your humility, meekness, and patience,
By your extreme poverty,
By your griefs and sorrows,
By your prayers and tears,
By your having been despised and rejected,
By your cross and suffering,
By your death and burial,
By your triumphant resurrection and ascension,

Help us and save us.

For the poor, the abused, and the sick,
For prisoners and the homeless,
For victims of natural disaster and war,
For those who are in danger, misery, 
 or distress,
For those who minister to human need in
 your name,
For all who share your good news,
For your whole church on earth,

We pray for your blessing, strength, and encouragement.

God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

May we all be transformed into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another.

Christ the Lord, the Lord most glorious,
Now is born; O shout aloud!
We by him are made victorious;
Praise the Savior, hail our God!

Praise the Lord, God, our salvation,
Praise him who retrieved our loss;
Sing, with awe and love’s sensation,
Hallelujah! God with us!
(Tune: Christ the Lord)