Let us pray (in silence) [with joy and hope as we await the dawning of God's Word]


Almighty God,
you make us glad with the yearly festival
of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ,
the light of the world;
grant that we,
who have known the revelation of that light on earth,
may see the radiance of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

NZPB p. 555

This collect has a complex history resulting in weaving together threads of Advent, Christmas, and the solstice. The skillful uniting of Advent and Christmas makes it appropriate for the transition between these two seasons.

Cranmer's 1549 Christmas collect was:

GOD, whiche makest us glad with the yerely remembraunce of the birth of thy onely sonne Jesus Christ; graunt that as we joyfully receiue him for our redemer, so we may with sure confidence beholde hym, when he shall come to be our judge, who liveth and reigneth &c.

This was a translation of a Gelasian Advent collect (one can see the Advent theme), later used in the Gregorian sacramentary for the Vigil Mass of Christmas where it is also placed in the Sarum Missal. Cranmer has changed the preamble from "who makes us glad with the annual expectation of our redemption."

It was dropped for the 1552 Prayer Book but restored in 1928 for Christmas Eve.

A second collect, found in CofE's ASB for Christmas "midnight or in the early morning":

Eternal God,
who made this most holy night
to shine with the brightness of your one true light:
bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth,
to see the radiance of your heavenly glory:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This collect originates in the Gelasian Sacramentary for the Vigil Mass of Christmas (5) and the Gregorian Sacramentary for the stational Mass of Midnight at St Mary Major (36) and is used in the Sarum Missal for the Christmas Mass at Cockcrow (iv). It is an early reminder of the Christian rivalry with solstice celebrations.

The NZ collect has seamlessly combined these two early collects.
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