This service is intended to end a day of preparation. After the family has decorated and in need of a “closing moment,” gather around the place where stockings are to be hung. A stocking should hang for each family member, and appropriate small gifts placed inside by other members over the course of Advent preparations. Snacks, sweets, trinkets, notes, artwork, and small toys are appropriate, and are given in the Spirit of St. Nicholas’ giving of gold to the stockings of three sisters, an act saving them from a lifetime of servitude.
The service begins with the Leader of the home speaking, and family responding with the bold words:
Warm, welcoming God: you shape us and name us and fill us with the wonder of Christmastide. Come into our home.
Bright, beckoning God: you guide us and bless us and fill us with longing for Christmastide. Come into our hearts.
Strong, revealing God: you comfort us and fill us with courage to face the long night of Advent. Shine out from our lives.
Hold us in love, Lord God, and guide our eyes to the rising dawn of Christmas Day, that we might greet Jesus with open arms and warm hearts. Amen.
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew 19:13-15
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
A prayer for our stockings
Bless, O Lord, our stockings as they hang ready for the coming of Your Christ. Warm them by the fire as you warm our hearts when we serve your Christ. We thank you for the gifts you have given us, and for the gifts you continue to give us, through each other and through these stockings. Help us to give generously of what you have given to us, that we might be mindful of the needs of others. We pray this with Jesus Christ, the ultimate gift giver, and welcome him into our home as we say AMEN.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. AMEN.
May God the Maker bless us,
That we give what God has made to all of God’s children.
May God the storyteller bless us,
That our laughter and light this Christmastide may continue God’s story.
May God the life-breather bless us,
That this Christmastide we may be a source of life and light and love to all we meet. AMEN.