St Mary’s Chrstmas Day service to follow at Home

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Rev Canon Alison Peden, for this service wich

we hope you will follow if you are unable to come to St Mary’s on christmas Day

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CHRISTMAS DAY  2020

                A boy has been born for us;
                 a child has been given us.
                 Once we were no people;
                 now we are God’s people.
                 Once we walked in darkness;
                 now we have seen a great light.

Gloria   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,          with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:  O God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem: grant that the radiance of that true light, which enlightens our minds by faith, may shine brightly through our words and deeds; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Gospel:  John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Reflection:  “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” (Carl Sandberg)   

Isaiah did not hold back when he described the darkness that Israel was undergoing:  ‘When the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.” (Is.28.18) Time after time, they were let down by corrupt leaders, attacked and conquered, exiled.

The old order was decaying;  it seemed almost like the final days of the world, when nothing that was precious seemed likely to survive, and no-one had the energy or vision to tackle injustice and despair. It was ‘a land of deep darkness’.

Then:   ‘a child has been born for us, a son given to us’.  Any child
re-sets the whole situation, bringing thorough and deep disruption to people’s lives.  A child also points to the future, to an unknown world but nevertheless a world that is continuing to exist.

John’s gospel reminds us that the world is God’s, not ours: ‘without him not one thing came into being’.  God could have wiped out the world that strayed so far from what he intended.  But he gave us a child instead, Jesus, God with us and living among us.

Jesus, the Christ-child, proclaims that God wants the world to go on. Not in the old ways, but in the new path of love and hope and faith, with God unfailingly beside us in all our uncertainty, blessing us with a deep joy that we can follow a child into God’s future.

Blessed be the Newborn who today made humanity young again.
                                                       (St Ephraim the Syrian)

Prayers:   O God, help us to hear the song of the angels this Christmas, ringing out with the promise of peace and goodwill to all the world.  Visit troubled nations with your peace, and save those who are in danger of violence and harm. We especially pray for peace for the people of Bethlehem and the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Loving God, as the shepherds of Bethlehem bowed in reverence before the Holy Family we pray that you would bless all families  throughout the world, and comfort those who cannot be with their loved ones this year.

Merciful God, the Wise Men brought gifts of power and healing to the Christ Child:  hear our prayers for those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.  Uphold those who care for others and guide those who are seeking solutions to the problems of our broken world.

Father, grant to those who have departed this life eternal rest, and to those who mourn at this time, bring your consolation. We especially pray for those for whom this is the first Christmas parted from a loved one.

Holy God, inspire us with all your Church to worship your Son Emmanuel, God with us,. Hear our prayers and use them, and us, to bring peace, joy, love and hope into the lives of those for whom we have prayed.  Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:

All glory and honour be yours, mighty Creator, ever-living God.
We give you thanks and praise for your Son, our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, who for love of our human race humbled himself,
was born this night of Mary by the power of your Spirit,
and lived as one of us. In this mystery of the Word made flesh
you have made his light to shine in our hearts, that we may know your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. In him our God is made visible
and we are drawn into the mystery of divine love.  Therefore, with all the angels of heaven, we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name and sing our joyful hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. 
In Jesus the Messiah you have come to us that we might for ever live with you. Obedient to your calling, Christ accepted death on the cross. When you exalted him on the third day, and bestowed on him
the name above all names, he opened the gate of glory
that we might be your children, and share in his kingdom of Peace.

Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring
to complete the work for which he came into the world,
at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks.
He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying:
“Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.”  After supper,
he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my  Blood of the new covenant;
it is poured out for you, and for all,  that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed
passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension;
and we look  for the coming of his Kingdom.
Made one with him, we offer you  these gifts
and with them ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice.

Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us
that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.

Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body
to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation,
we enter into our heritage in the company of
the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and prophets,
and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed
.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you,
Lord of all ages, world without end.   Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing Prayer:
Father of all, the child born for us is the Saviour of the world.  May he who made us your children welcome us into your kingdom, where he is alive and reigns with you now and for ever.

The choir of King’s College Cambridge sing Hark the herald-angels sing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSotvFWKvhc:

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”