Twelve Days of NIGHT PRAYER for Christmas: 12/27

When do the Twelve Days of Christmas begin?   They begin Christmas Day itself, leading us to TWELFTH NIGHT, the eve of Epiphany, January 6.  Through these dozen days, Night Prayer will focus each evening on one of the many gifts we've received from God.  Tonight: the gift of angels from heaven...
On the third day of Christmas,
the good Lord gave to me:
    Angels sent from heaven,
    Shepherds keeping watch
    and a Child born in Bethlehem town...
Good God! You really pulled out all the stops:
    filling the skies with choirs of angels
    singing and praising your glory on high!
Your Son was born 
    and heaven exploded in unrestrained joy! 
Your angels came down with a simple message:
    Be not afraid!  Your Savior is born!

But then -  where did they go, Lord?
Why did they leave? 
We miss their beauty in the skies above!
We miss their song hope and joy!
We miss their message: promise and peace!
We miss the comfort their presence brings,
    the comfort of heaven, brought low to earth!
   Nativity by Brian Kershisnik

We need angels!

O God, we need angels
    to hover above us and stand by our side,
    to guard all our ways,
    to guide us along the right path...

We need angels, Lord,
    with courage and strength for when we're afraid,
    with wisdom and counsel for when we're confused,
    with knowledge to teach us what's right from what's wrong...
We need angels, Lord,
    with the gift of right judgment to guide our discernment,
    with wonder and awe to lift up our prayer,
    with the single desire to teach us the truth... 

We need angels, Lord,
    with a spirit of reverence to humble our pride,
    with kindness disposing our hearts to serve others,
    with gentleness shaping our words and our ways...

 We need angels, Lord,
    to lift us in peace when our spirits are low,
    to float us in joy when we're drowning in sorrow,
    to fill us with love when our hearts have been emptied...

We need angels, Lord,
    to sing of your mercy when we've gone astray,
    to sing of your glory when we're mute with fear,
    to teach us their song to give praise to your name!

Open our hearts when angels come near
    in our family and friends, our colleagues and neighbors,
sent by your word to bring us good news:
    Jesus, the Lord, is born in our midst!
You gave us angels from heaven, O God,
    on the night when your Son was born in the flesh:
send angels again and again and again
    we need angels, Lord, and we need them tonight!
Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

Angels from the Realms of Glory by by Henry Smart
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Angels, from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth

Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star

Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to him;
Every knee shall then bow down





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