The Nativity of Our Lord and Christmastide


The season of Christmas begins with evening prayer on Christmas Eve (December 24) with the first celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, and ends with midday prayer on January 5.

The evening services of Christmas Eve mark the beginning of the Church’s celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. The season continues after December 25 over a period traditionally known as the twelve days of Christmas or Christmastide.

This season includes a number of lesser festivals: The festival of St. Stephen, the first martyr, occurs on December 26. St. John, apostle and evangelist, is remembered on December 27. The death of the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2) is observed on December 28 as the Festival of the Holy Innocents. The circumcision and naming of Jesus on the eighth day after His birth (Luke 2:21) is celebrated on January 1.

The liturgical color for Christmas and Christmas tide is white.

The Propers for The Nativity of Our Lord

Christmas Eve

O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that as we joyfully receive Him as our Redeemer, we may with sure confidence behold Him when He comes to be our Judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L05)

Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 110:1-4 (v. 2a)
1 John 4:7-16
Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas Midnight

O God, You make this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that as we have known the mysteries of that Light on earth we may also come to the fullness of His joys in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L06)

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13 (v. 2)
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14, 15-20

Christmas Dawn

Most merciful God, You gave Your eternal Word to become incarnate of the pure Virgin. Grant Your people grace to put away fleshly lusts, that they may be ready for Your visitation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L07)

Micah 5:2-5a
Psalm 80:1-7 (v. 7)
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:1-14, 15-20

Christmas Day

Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L08)

Exodus 40:17-21, 34-38
Psalm 2:1-12 (v. 7)
Titus 3:4-7
John 1:1-14, 15-18

The Propers for the Sundays after Christmas

First Sunday after Christmas

O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L09)

Isaiah 11:1-5 or 2 Samuel 7:1-16
Psalm 89:1-8 (v. 8 )
Galatians 4:1-7
Luke 2:22-32, 33-40

Second Sunday after Christmas

Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L10)

Genesis 46:1-7
Psalm 77:11-20 (v. 13)
1 Peter 4:12-19
Matthew 2:13-2

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