Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Praying at Christmas with USPG
and Lichfield Cathedral
(1): 25 December 2018

The Crib in the Baptistry in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Christmas has arrived and today is Christmas Day [25 December 2018]. Last night, I celebrated the Christmas Eucharist at 8 p.m. in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry, and at 10 p.m. Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and I am presiding at the Christmas Eucharist this morning at 9.30 in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, and at 11 a.m. in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

Throughout the season of Advent this year, I spent a short time of prayer and reflection each morning, using the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 being used in Lichfield Cathedral. I am continuing this practice for the next few days.

USPG, founded in 1701, is an Anglican mission agency supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice.

Under the title Pray with the World Church, the current USPG prayer diary (7 October 2018 to 16 February 2019), offers prayers and reflections from the Anglican Communion.

The USPG Prayer Diary began this week with a reflection on Anglican Heritage by Bishop Dato’ Dr Charles Samuel, Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of West Malaysia.

The USPG Prayer Diary:

Tuesday 25 December 2018, Christmas Day:


On this day, give thanks for the precious gift of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. May all people know healing through his love.

The Nativity scene on the triptych in the Lady Chapel in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Lichfield Cathedral Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar:

Lichfield Cathedral’s Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar for 2018 suggests you light your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray. It suggests setting aside five to 15 minutes each day.

Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar. Each week there is a suggestion to ‘eat simply’ – try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough. There is a suggestion to donate to a charity working with the homeless. There is encouragement to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

The calendar is for not only for those who use the Cathedral website and for the Cathedral community. It is also for anyone who wants to share in the daily devotional exercise. The calendar suggests lighting your Advent candle each day as you read the Bible and pray.

Today’s suggested reading is the prologue to Saint John’s Gospel, John 1: 1-18.

The reflection for today suggests:

Celebrate! Enjoy the feasting and joy of this day. Pray for a new understanding of God’s love as it reaches us in the person of Jesus Christ.

The readings in the Revised Common Lectionary as adapted for use in the Church of Ireland being used in Askeaton and Rathkeale this morning are:

Isaiah 52: 7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1: 1-4; John 1: 1-18.

The Collect (morning):

Almighty God
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born 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 Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

God our Father,
whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
May the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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