A boy has been born for us
a child has been given to us
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace.
Once we walked in darkness
now we have seen a great light
Watch the service on YouTube: https://youtu.be/maPVaM2MSSI
Hymn 310 Hark the herald angels sing
We thank you for this day
for the fun and excitement
for our presents and cards
for special food and parties
for all the people we see and hear from
at this time of year
but most of all we thank you for your present to us:
your Son Jesus
he shows us how much you love us
how special we are to you
he shows us how you want us to live
he learned what it is like to be human
the things that make us happy, sad, angry, worried, unsure
and we know that, though we cannot see him,
he is always with us, through your Spirit
helping us to follow you
ready to forgive us when we do things wrong
when we forget you
As Jesus came so long ago
and was welcomed into the lives of Mary and Joseph
and into their family
help us today to welcome him into our lives
and our families
Reading Luke 2: 1-20
Hymn 314 Child in the manger
Child in the manger
infant of Mary
If you get a religious-themed Christmas card there’s a good chance that the picture will include the stable and the baby in the manger. The stable always looks beautifully clean and tidy. Mary looks the picture of health, with not a hair out of place, her skin is so clear and well-toned, and she always looks so pious and holy – never harassed, tired, about to burst into tears. The new-born child smiles so gracefully. They don’t need to pace the floor with him.
Living as we do in the Twenty First Century we tend to be a bit sniffy about Mary having her baby in a stable, and lying him down in a manger. Think of the dirt, the animal mess, the flies and bugs, the vermin, all those germs that he could pick up, or she could pick up. Actually, I daresay many folk at the time of Jesus’ birth, as many folk around the world today, wouldn’t find having a baby in a stable, and placing him in a manger, as shocking as we do. Some might even wish that they could have such privacy and comfort when giving birth.
What did she think as she sat and looked at her Baby? Did she reflect on the theological significance of the Incarnation? Did she marvel that the one who caused all that exists to come into being, who led the Hebrew tribes from captivity in Egypt, who spoke words of comfort and challenge through the prophets, was currently sucking away before needing changed? Did she wonder what lay ahead for her wee one? Was she like most mums of any age, and worrying about every conceivable thing that could happen to him?
Jesus wasn’t born among the poorest folk, or those living in the most awful conditions, but he could relate to many issues that people then and now face day by day: prejudice, being a refugee, abuse, experiencing worry about money and food, the highs and lows of family, friends and neighbours, living with fears about disease and disability, crime, trouble from the authorities. He knew what it was to be an outcast and stranger.
He was to be king, to be Lord of all, but he wasn’t born in palace like other kings and princes. He didn’t enjoy the luxury and privilege that they had. But though he lacked the wealth and splendour that they had, he maybe had something much more precious than all their gold and jewels: he grew up surrounded by the love of Mary and Joseph, and of course of God. We may or may not have received lots of presents today, but we too share that wonderful gift of being loved, by others and by God. And God wants us to share that love, so that others experience it too. It’s not just about putting on a smiley face and saying nice things. It’s about doing things for others, treating them in ways that enable them to know what God’s love is like.
worthy our Saviour
of all their praises
happy for ever
are his own.
Hymn 313 See in yonder manger low
Prayer for others and Lord’s Prayer
The angel said: Do not be afraid!
Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased!
Your love was so great that you gave us your Son
Your love is so great that every moment of every day
your Spirit is working to bring the peace the angel promised
Make us channels of your peace
We pray for those who are not celebrating today:
because of illness
because of worry and concern for someone close
because of being alone and lonely
because of sad circumstances
because they are hungry, cold or have nothing
because they are afraid for their lives
We pray for all the places that need the peace the angel promised
We pray that the leaders of the world will work for justice and peace
We pray for your worldwide family as they seek to share
your love, your peace, your Good News
and we sum up our prayers in in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us
Hymn 306 O come all ye faithful
May the joy of the angels
the humility of the shepherds
and the peace of the Christ-child
be God’s gift to you and all people
And the blessing…