Christmas Service

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Service written out

Hymn – He Came

Welcome

Hymn – O Come, All Ye Faithful

Lighting Advent Candle

Prayer

Let us pray;
Lord Jesus, Light of light,
you have come among us.
Help us who live by your light
to shine as lights in your world.
Glory to God in the highest.
Amen.

Reading

Luke 2: 1-5
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria) And everyone went to his own town to register.

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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Joseph
My name is Joseph. I am just an ordinary man. You would never notice me in a crowd. I don’t feel as if I am special at all.

It was at night that an angel came to me and told me not to be afraid and not to be ashamed that my wife Mary was going to have a baby and that I should name him Jesus.

He won’t be my child but God has allowed me to be a father. Not just any father, but the stepfather of His son. I knew that I had to obey God and stand by Mary, whatever people were saying behind my back.

I feel unworthy for the task that God has given me but I also feel His love, His love for me, and although I don’t understand, I will stay close by Mary.

I am just an ordinary man but I think that God can do great things through me.

Hymn – O Little Town of Bethlehem

Collect

Let us pray in the peace of this Christmas celebration that our joy in the birth of Christ will last for ever.
Lord Jesus Christ
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth;
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.
Amen.

Penitence

As we kneel with the shepherds before the new-born Christ child,
we open our hearts in penitence and faith.
You Lord were born for our salvation.
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy.

You came as Saviour to bring wholeness and peace.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

You came to bring light into the darkness of our lives.
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy.

Absolution

May Almighty God who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,
bring us his pardon and peace, now and forever.
Amen

Hymn – In the Bleak Midwinter

Reading

Luke 2: 8-16
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

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

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”

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

Shepherd
I’m just an ordinary shepherd, not great with words but I have to tell you what has happened to me. I spend a lot of my time on the hillside watching over my sheep, but what I have just seen and heard was wondrous. An angel just appeared before me, all white and shining. It was dark and still but as I looked up at the sky suddenly it was filled, and I really mean filled with angels praising God.

I was terrified but the angel told me not to be afraid because he was bringing good news.

Good news! It was the best news that I had ever heard – that my Saviour had been born. The Angel told me where to find him and I ran, really ran as fast as I could to a stable where a tiny baby was lying.

I got down on my knees and worshipped him and praised him just as the angels had. And a joy that I had never felt before filled me ’till I thought I would burst. I don’t think I will ever be the same again and now I just want to go out and tell everybody about my wonderful Saviour who was born for me, – the most wonderful gift I have ever received.

Affirmation

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and earth is named.
We believe in God the Son, who lives in our
hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.
We believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Prayers

As we celebrate Christmas when the Word of God became flesh, we pray for the Church, the body of Christ here on earth. 

We pray especially for Revd Liz and her family, giving thanks for their wonderful ministry in the Byland Churches. Be with them & support them as they settle into their new parish and new home.

We pray for all with responsibility in the Church. We pray especially for Archdeacon Sam, that her grace & wisdom will help to guide us through the vacancy.

We pray for Stephen & Hugh, for our churchwardens, for our lay leaders & for everyone who makes up the body of Christ in these parishes.

Give us strength to do your work well, guide us as we navigate the uncertain waters of the vacancy and may the spirit of Christmas show itself in us, as we serve and love and care for others in your name.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we celebrate your birth among us. You lived in the real world and knew its hardship and its need. You showed love for the lonely, the outcast, those who were ill or unloved. We bring our prayers to you for people in need today, knowing that you love them now as you did then.

We pray for the homeless and for refugees

You were born in a stable because there was no room in the inn and you were taken to Egypt as a refugee when Herod threatened your life. Bless those who work to help homeless people and refugees; and give to all of us the determination to help where we can.

We pray for people who are lonely. This year especially, so many have been separated from loved ones for the greater good, it has been hard.

You know what it is like to be lonely and you welcomed the friendship of the disciples.  May your presence be known by those who are alone this Christmas & may they feel your loving arms around them.

We pray for Peace.

You came as Prince of Peace and brought a message of peace for all people.  Help us to be peacemakers in our homes, at work, wherever we meet people, so that your Spirit can work though us in our community and so spread into the wider world.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for friends and family who are suffering in body, mind or spirit; for those who are finding it hard to cope; for those we cannot see this Christmas time because of the Covid restrictions; for all who need your help at this time.

We lift them to you in our hearts, in the confidence that you love them and know their every need and that your healing power is still at work today. 

We are thankful and pray for all those who are working over Christmas in so many different roles and in the service of others.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We pray for those who have died and for those whose hearts are saddened by the death of someone close to them. Christmas is a time when we especially remember those loved ones who have gone before us to find eternal rest in you.

Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench, a light which shines eternally to bring hope to us all. Turn our darkness into light we pray, that in your light, we too may see the light of your salvation.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Thank you Lord, for sending us the gift of your Son, so that we may know your love, hope, peace & joy this Christmas time.

We thank you for the star that guided the first worshippers to you as a baby. May we, who worship you now, here in our villages, know the presence of Jesus in our lives this Christmas day and every day.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.
Amen

Reading

Luke 1: 26-31; 2: 6-7
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

While they were at Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary
My name is Mary. At first I didn’t understand what I was seeing but then the light became clearer and I saw the angel standing in front of me.

What he told me was so astounding – I was going to have a baby, but instead of feeling afraid I just felt such peace and joy and love for God. I don’t know why but I knew that I had to do what God told me. I was overwhelmed by his immeasurable love and his power.

I am so grateful that God gave me Joseph to share my life, a man with a heart so full of compassion, a patient and just man.

And as I hold my beautiful baby in my arms, I don’t know that I could ever feel more happy or more joyful. I will always treasure this wonderful gift from God.

Figures in Crib

Hymn – Away in a Manger

Blessing

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 ours this Christmas.
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Be upon us and remain with us always.
Amen.

Sending Out

We go into the world to walk in God’s light,
to rejoice in God’s love, and to reflect God’s glory.
Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Hymn – Joy to the World

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

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