Sunday 26th Dec

Celebration & Service
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Happy Christmas! 

 

This online reflection is in the place of any physical services. This decision was taken partly because of the developing situation with the new Covid variant and also that a Sunday following Christmas Day is often a rather different day for people. 

 

This guided reflection is simply about providing space for you, whether on your own or with friends and family, to set aside some time to worship God and pray. So, take a moment to pause and be quiet, giving this time to God and asking the Holy Spirit to show you what you need to see.

Scroll down the page to each section in turn. 

Opening Prayer

 

A prayer for you to pray to begin with from the author Robert Louis Stevenson:

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake.

 

Amen.

 

Opening Reading

Take a moment to read of the birth of Jesus:  Luke 2:1-21

The Birth of Jesus

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.[a] 2 These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.[b]

3 Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. 4 So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

5 Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6 and while they were there, 7 she gave birth to her first-born[c] son. She dressed him in baby clothes[d] and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

The Shepherds

8 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9 All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11 This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

13 Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:

14 “Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone
   who pleases God.”

15 After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

17 When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18 Everyone listened and was surprised. 19 But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

20 As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

21 Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands.[e] And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby.

A prayer to pray in response:

Dear God,

The joy of discovery
that moment 
when hope and expectation 
were gloriously met 
by the illumination of one bright star. 
We cannot imagine 
what words were spoken by visitors 
or if first impressions 
left them somewhat confused. 
Messiah, Saviour, a King 
born in the barest of palaces. 
Yet they saw and fell down 
on their knees in adoration. 
Lord, they saw you and knew 
whom they had met.
As we meet around crib 
candle or advent wreath 
draw us into that stable 
in our imagination. 
In the quiet moments of prayer 
this Christmas, that brief oasis 
from the bustle of the world
bring alive to us 
the smell of the hay 
the sound of the animals 
the cry of a baby. 
Draw us close to our Saviour 
Messiah and King as we bring 
not Gold, Myrrh or Frankincense 
but the gift of our lives 
the only offering we can bring.

Amen.

 

Watch the first video:

 

Worship songs to watch and sing along with:

 

Here are some songs for the younger ones!

 

Watch the Second video:

 

Reading

The reading is from Luke 2:22-38

Simeon Praises the Lord

22 The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born.[a]

They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23 just as the Law of the Lord says, “Each first-born[b] baby boy belongs to the Lord.” 24 The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did.

25 At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God’s Spirit came to him 26 and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.

27 When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. 28 Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,

29 “Lord, I am your servant,
   and now I can die in peace,
because you have kept
   your promise to me.
30 With my own eyes I have seen
what you have done
   to save your people,
31 and foreign nations
   will also see this.
32 Your mighty power is a light
   for all nations,
and it will bring honour
   to your people Israel.”

33 Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. 34 Then he blessed them and told Mary, “This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, 35 and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking.”

 

Anna Speaks about the Child Jesus

36 The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. 37 And now she was eighty-four years old.[c] Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.[d]

38 At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.

 

Prayers

 

A prayer of intercession for you to pray or in a group, praying for ourselves and our world:

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms
Protect them in each moment of their daily lives
Protect them in the decisions that they face
Protect their homes and relationships
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this nation with Advent love and hope
Create a desire to listen to the Advent message
Create a willingness to understand and respond
Create a need to reach out to the Christ Child
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our nation with the light of your presence

 

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation
Where there is sickness and disease bring healing
Where there is hunger and despair bring hope
Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle this world with the light of your presence

A declaration to Pray:

 

O Wisdom

Lord and Ruler

Root of Jesse 

Key of David

Rising Sun 

King of the Nations

Emmanuel

Come, Lord Jesus

 
 

Worship Song

A final Prayer

Dear God, 

Release the joy in us that’s been crushed by pride, wrong priorities, or world events. Tear down the strongholds that have held us captive far too long. Extinguish the flames of apprehension that rob us of a calm, quiet spirit. Show us again the beauty of that holy night so many centuries ago.

 

Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” As Your children, we cry out for a fresh filling, and a new awareness of Who You are. We choose by faith to make the “good news of great joy” a reality in our own lives, so others can see us as lighted trees of life, pointing to You this Christmas. We know one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You are Lord. And we also know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with You.

 

You are still our Joy. You are still our Peace. You are no longer a babe in the manger. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. And we still celebrate You as Lord—this Christmas and always.

 

Amen.