25 December 2022

Praying with Lichfield Cathedral and USPG
on Christmas Day, 25 December 2022

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’ (John 1: 5) … the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child by the Victorian sculptor Mary Grant at the West Door of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We have arrived at Christmas Day.

Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

Throughout the four weeks of Advent this, I was reflecting in these ways:

1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;

2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us’ (John 1: 14) … the Christmas-Nativity scene on the triptych in the Lady Chapel of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford/Lichfield Gazette)

John 1: 1-14 (NRSVA):

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

‘In the beginning was the Word’ (John 1: 1) … an old typewriter seen in a restaurant in Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

On this most splendid day, give thanks that God in Jesus has come to us, to be among us, to make his home among us, to abolish the distance between us. Nothing is alien to his mercy, no one is ruled out of his love. ‘God is with us – Emmanuel’.


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 your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

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.

Additional Collect:

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is the USPG Christmas Appeal: Journey to Freedom. The Journey to Freedom campaign supports the anti-human trafficking programme of the Diocese of Durgapur in North India.

This year’s Christmas appeal focuses on those who have experienced the trauma of human trafficking, which is a huge problem in the regions bordering India and Bangladesh. Daily, men, children and women leave their villages, where there are not enough jobs, to cross the border in search of a better life away from rural poverty. Knowing that human traffickers lie in wait along the way, only those truly desperate to leave behind their lives at home would risk such a journey.

The life-changing ‘Anti-Human Trafficking’ programme run by the Diocese of Durgapur in North India organises rescue missions for those who go missing. They also conduct awareness-raising campaigns to spread information about human trafficking and to show local people how to protect themselves and others from getting trapped.

Thanks to your generosity, this programme can continue running. Your donations will help to build a network with local government and law officials, and fund workshops and camps with teaching from human trafficking experts. Please join the Diocese of Durgapur in supporting survivors of human trafficking. Donate to the Journey to Freedom campaign today at www.uspg.org.uk/christmas

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in;
be born in us today.
(Phillips Brooks 1835-1893)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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