Reflection for the second Sunday of Christmas

Reading: John 1: 1, 10-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me’.”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.


The days between Christmas and the New Year are usually a time for rest and relaxation, and for spending time with family and loved ones. However, many families have not been able to meet up because of the travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some family members have been unable to travel home this year and the usual social gatherings have been cancelled, including public worship in our churches.

We face into this New Year with mixed feelings. We are hopeful that the long-awaited vaccines will be successful in overcoming coronavirus and restoring a sense of normality and order to our lives, but we are also very conscious of our vulnerability to infection in the meantime. There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but we have a way to go before we get there.

If we have learned anything from the experience of the pandemic, it is the importance of our relationships within our families and circle of friends. While technology has helped to keep us in touch with one another during times of separation, we long for opportunities to meet up in person.

Today’s gospel reading from St. John reminds us of the importance of our relationship with God. We are reminded that it is through Christ that we have been enabled to become God’s children:

“…to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”

We are part of God’s family, but like all relationships, we need to spend time together to strengthen the bond between us. Much of the past year has been challenging because we were unable to meet together as a community to worship God. Difficult as that may have been, it does not mean that God has been absent from us. Indeed, he is present with us at all times.

In this Christmas season, we reflect on the wonder of the incarnation, God entering our world and our human experience through his Son. Our reading today from St. John provides us with an insight into the close relationship between God the Father and his Son:

“It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”

Christ has revealed to us the nature of God, a God who cares deeply about his creation, who knows us and understands us, and has promised to be with us always. As we face into this New Year, let us take encouragement from those words of John. Let us journey forward in hope with our faith and confidence firmly placed in our loving God.

Let us affirm that faith as we pray in the collect for this week, which follows.

Collect for the second Sunday of Christmas

Almighty God,
in the birth of your Son
you have poured on us the new light of your incarnate Word,
and shown us the fullness of your love:
Help us to walk in this light and dwell in his love
that we may know the fullness of his joy;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayers of intercession

God our Father,
We give you thanks that you have made yourself known to us
through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In him you have revealed your love for all people.
At the start of this New Year, we pray for your church
that it may faithfully proclaim the message of your love in word and deed.
Bless this diocese, its people, and Pat our bishop.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of nations and governments across the world.
Guide them in your ways of justice and peace.
We pray for the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden
and the incoming administration. We pray for the European Union and its member states, for our government, our President and Taoiseach.
We pray for wisdom and right judgement in managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We give thanks for the development of vaccines and pray for their safe and effective delivery across the world.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for our health service and all frontline health workers as the number of COVID-19 cases rises. Protect them in their work and grant them the strength and resources they need to cope with the demands placed on them.
We pray for all who are ill, in hospitals, nursing homes or at home.
Grant them your healing and peace.
Be with all who are worried or anxious for their loved ones.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for our families, friends and loved ones.
We remember all for whom this New Year brings worry and uncertainty.
We pray for all who are worried or anxious for their future,
those with health worries, those who are burdened with debt,
those facing unemployment and those at risk of losing their home.
Help them to find the support they need and to know that you are with them always.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Trusting in your unfailing love, we gather our prayers together in the words you taught us to pray:

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, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

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