Here’s a thoughtful opening prayer from John Hammond.
We give you thanks and praise, God our Father,
for you are a God of gentle mystery!
Our [ancestors] praised you for your might and power,
for the strength of your great right hand.
But you revealed yourself in gentleness,
in compassion and in love—
in the forgiving glance,
in the caress of little children,
in the warm affection of the breaking of the bread.
We thank you for calling us together,
in the presence of your Son,
bond of friendship,
bread of peace.
Because he has shown us who you really are,
we are happy to sing to you
this our song of praise…
~ written by John Hammond in Winter’s Coming Home (The Benediction Foundation of the State of Vermont, Inc. 1975) https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Coming-Home-Celebrate-Christmas/dp/B000GU9BTK