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Virtual Worship - Christmas worship

 

Welcome

Welcome to this service for Christmas Time.  We hope that this act of worship will help you to celebrate the good news of Christmas.

Call to worship

I bring you Good News of great joy, for a Saviour has been born to you.  For unto us a child is born, a son is given, Alleluia.

Carol

Prayer

Gift giving God, how mighty you are. 
How wondrous the gift you have given. 
Foretold and promised now born among us
How blessed we are. 
Born to redeem us, to rescue and keep us. 
How blessed we are.
Born to transform and to take us to glory.
How blessed we are.
Born out of love, born to give love 
How blessed we are.
O God incarnate gow blessed we are by your extraordinary being.
God gives to us His son and to those who seek it, forgiveness of their sins
Go and share the gift, show the love and know the peace that God gives 
Amen.

Prayer of confession

Generous, overwhelming God
In the excitement and joy of this day
We take a moment to reflect and ponder on the immensity of the gift you have given.
Forgive us if we have belittled the most precious gift of all
Forgive us if we have cast it aside and put it on the back-burner
Left it packed away since last Christmas with all the tinsel and trappings
Forgive us for not pondering enough the depth of your giving and sacrifice for us.
As you give to us, so we give to you our sorrow and confession for all that has not been worthy of your name.
Amen.

A prayer of assurance of forgiveness

God gives to us His Son,
And to those who seek it, forgiveness of their sins
Go and share the gift, show the love and know the peace that God gives
Amen.

A prayer of adoration on this Christmas Day

All praise to you, O God, for Jesus
Born for us, not in grandeur but in humility
All praise to you, O God, for Jesus
A babe laid in a manger and shrouded with love.
All praise to you, O God, for Jesus
Given in a time of chaos to still the world
All praise to you, O God, for Jesus
Who showed us how to live, how to love and how to be
All praise to you, O God, for Jesus
Who followed where you led, even unto death
All praise to you, O God for Jesus
Born then and now, for them and us, and me,
All praise to you, O God this Christmas Day.
Amen.

Carol

Readings

Isaiah 52:7-15

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
    the salvation of our God.

Luke 2:1-15

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’


Carol

Reflection

Over the years I have attended many nativity plays. Sometimes in years gone by to see my own children, and also as part of my ministry, attending nativities and churches and schools. A challenge for teachers and Junior Church Leaders is to ensure that everyone gets a role no matter how small, and this sometimes call for creativity from the staff in adding in enough parts for everyone.
One of my favourite radio programmes to listen to is From Our Own Corespondent. I have it on my list of podcasts and make sure I listen in each week. The programme provides opportunity from BBC correspondents from around the globe to offer reflections on their part of the world from a slightly different perspective from that which appears on the main news programmes. I remember one time when Kate Adie who introduces the programme, made the comment in the broadcast just before Christmas, that correspondents are a bit like the bit players in the nativity play. Like the one who looks after the wise men's camels or the shepherds assistant. There's is only a small part in the big scheme of things, but what is important is the message they bring. All too often for correspondents this means news of war or conflict, but sometimes they offer a message of peace and when they do, it is most welcome. Like the picture of the messenger given in Isaiah's prophecy,  "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who announce peace who bring good news". Other messengers in the story of the Christmas are the angels who are the messengers of God. Despite their shining appearance, they are themselves only bit players. What is important is the message which they proclaim of the coming of a Saviour. A message of peace as they proclaim the birth of Jesus Christ. This living word of God who has been known to us in Christ far outshines even the brilliance of angels.
Our task as Christians is to be messengers of God's word in Christ. Like the angels, we should tell of God's word and message of peace at Christmas time and like John the Baptist, we should point not to ourselves as messengers but to the one whom we proclaim. This Christmas time may too be messengers announcing the coming of Christ into our world.
Opportunities may feel more restricted in present circumstances, but they are there if we look for them. For example, I have been glad this year to take part in two outdoor events for carol singing - in the park at Calverley, accompanied by the brass band and outside the church at St Andrew's outside the backdrop of festively lit trees. Some of you may have done similarly. Wherever we find ourselves, there is always opportunity to share good news with those around us, or on a conversation on the phone, perhaps, where we can share words of comfort and joy and the message of peace.
May the words that we say and the things that we do this Christmas time, speak God's word of life, of the word made flesh, Jesus Christ who has come into the world.


Prayers of others and ourselves

Homeless God, 
When you came into our world you were homeless. Born in a place where animals slept. Help us to care for those who have no homes; to notice them, respond to them, give them value and dignity.
We pray for those who offer food and shelter at this time, and who constantly seek funding and donations for the work that they do. As we eat our Christmas meals in our homes, help us to remember those who have nothing, and pledge to share from our plenty.
Homeless God,
When you came into our world you were a refugee, carried by your parents to a place of safety. Help us to welcome those who leave their homes to find refuge among us; to learn their names, and help them to share their ways.
We pray for those who offer a welcome, clothes, a place to rest and help people find a permanent home. As we exchange our Christmas gifts, help us to remember those who arrive with nothing, and pledge to open our arms.
Homeless God,
When you came into our world you were a new person in the town where your parents sought to make a new beginning. Help us to welcome new neighbours; to be the kind of neighbour we would like to have; to offer friendship and love.
We pray for those who move to new places hoping for a new start and new chances. As we look forward to the New Year and its promise, help us to remember those who carry heavy loads of bad choices and pledge to share the forgiveness we have received.
Homeless God,
When you came into the world you sought to make your home with us and to call all who accept you into the body of Christ. Help us to be part of that body this Christmas and always, knowing your unchanging love for us and for all people. As we hold on to you, help us to welcome in the name of Jesus all who have yet to know you and pledge to share the good news we have received.
Amen.

We share the Lord's prayer together.

Carol

Blessing

Now, may the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the Shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas time.
The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

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