Christmas 1B — December 31

December 31, 2023
First Sunday after Christmas

Call to Worship (Inspired by Psalm 148)
One: Praise God in the heavens! Praise God among us! Praise the Holy One!
Many: Praise God who vindicates us! Praise God who sustains us!
One: Praise God from the depths! Praise God in all circumstances!
Many: Praise Creator who made us! Praise God who shapes us!
One: Let all praise the name of the Holy One!
Many: The glory of God reigns in heaven and on earth! Praise the Holy One!

Redeeming God, you have met us in valleys, on storming seas, and on mountaintops. We welcome your presence now as we come to worship you. We gather in gratitude and assurance that you are our God, and we proclaim with gladness that we are your people. Some come in need of encouragement or comfort. Others need a healing touch. We hunger and thirst for righteousness as we praise and honor your name. Transform us to be living vessels of your love and living witnesses of your continuing presence in the world. Amen.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life
Sovereign God, you have been our help from age to age. Remind us to turn to you when confronted with difficult choices. Remind us that you strengthen us on the journey. Remind us that our actions and attitudes impact our neighbors and ourselves. Renew our minds and spirits as we strive to follow your way of love and peace in the world. Amen.

Words of Grace
Beloved, you are loved with an everlasting love by the Most High God. Know that each day is a new opportunity for faithful and flourishing life in the name and path of Jesus. Redemption is available, and God’s grace is sufficient for transformation and new life.

Invitation to Generosity
Let us rejoice in the God of salvation through our giving. May we embody the generosity modeled by Jesus Christ, who came to serve, heal, and to restore.

Prayer of Dedication and Thanksgiving
Generous God, we thank you for every good and perfect gift you have given to us and through us. Use our offerings this day for the benefit of creation, the redemption of humanity, and your glory. Amen.

As we depart this place and this year, may we go forward…vindicated, restored, and empowered in order to be the blessing needed in the world. Share the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ in word and deed to the glory of God. Amen.

Vindication: Service Prayers for the First Sunday after Christmas was written by The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology, United Church of Christ.