A Great Thanksgiving for Christmas Eve

We welcome the Christ Child tonight and will do so in our contemporary service at 6:30 p.m. around the table.  Here’s the Great Thanksgiving we will use tonight in our contemporary service. It features original elements, some elements from the Iona Community, and some elements from the traditional United Methodist Church Great Thanksgiving.

If you are in Knoxville and would like to join us at Fountain City United Methodist Church, we would love for you to join us.  We have worship services at 4:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.

This is the table not of the church, but of the Lord. It is made ready for those who love Him and those who want to love Him more.

So come, you who have much faith and you who have little. You who have been here often and you who have not been here long. You who have tried to follow and you who have failed. 

Come because it is the Lord’s table and it is His will that those who want Him should meet Him here.

We come, this evening, hungry and thirsty, desperate to be fed. And we come with joy because we have received the great gift once again – the truth that in all times and in all places and in all situations and all circumstances that God Is With Us.

And we come to this table to praise you and to receive gifts, singing the songs of so many that led us to this night. We sing the song of a prophet who sang of God’s timeless character. We sing the song of a father who sang the praises of an eternal God. We sing the song of a mother who knew how blessed she was to be included in God’s cosmic salvation. Tonight we sing the song of the angels who sing glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill to all men, women and children.

And tonight we rejoice as we celebrate a humble birth that still produces eternal life. And we rejoice that from the very beginning in Genesis through the end promised in Revelation, Your covenant is eternal and life-giving. We rejoice that you never leave us alone and that you have promised to be with always, even to the end of the age. We rejoice that in the midst of pain and hurt in our lives and division and terror around the world that tonight we receive God’s pure light – light that still frees, still liberates and still shines hope in the darkness of our souls.  

The light is the light of all people. We give you thanks for this child who grew up to show us what a life lived in love and total devotion to you looked like. On the night in which he gave himself up for all of us – you and me and the whole world – he showed us the cost of that devotion. He went to an upper room with his friends and around a meal he said this is my body, given for you, do this in remembrance of me. And after supper he took a cup, and said this is my blood of the new covenant poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins, do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

All of our lives are witness to You infusing the ordinary with extraordinary grace and power. So once again would You make these simple gifts of bread and cup be for us the body and blood of Christ so that we might be for this world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood.

Bread and Cup. This table has been set so that you and I would be made full. Hear this: You are welcome here. Please come.

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