Got the dates and times in your diary yet?
Carols for Christmas in the parish church this Tuesday evening at 7.30pm.
Do please come along yourself and bring the family and friends.
You might also use the opportunity to invite Christians of other traditions, and non-Christians too, to come and join us for song and readings, focusing us afresh on the good news of Christmas. All are welcome.
And stay afterwards for a glass of wine and a mince pie. We might be a bit squashed in the Benedict and McEvilly Rooms, but, again, all are welcome.
The use of a decorated tree as part of Christmas is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays which depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light of candles which symbolized Christ, the light of the world.
According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the solemnity of the Epiphany. The lights of the tree are lit after the prayer of blessing.
The following prayer of blessing may be used by any member of the family. Before saying the prayer of blessing you might like to read some appropriate verses from Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke.
Lord our God, we praise you
for the light of creation:
the sun, the moon,
and for the stars of the night.
We praise you for the light of Israel:
the Law, the prophets,
and the wisdom of the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us,
the Prince of Peace, who fills us
with the wonder of your love.
let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy
that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge
and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Detail of Christmas Tree. Parvis, Notre Dame, Paris. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.
Please pray for Nicolas who was confirmed at Mass last night, and for other children of the parish who will be coming to Mass this evening for the prayers of the parish as they prepare for Confirmation next Thursday.