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Worship Sheet for Christmas Day              The Gift of God … the birth of the Saviour

A happy Christmas to you! Perhaps you’ve opened presents already or are looking forward to that later and maybe seeing family or friends. Things are tough (and perhaps tougher because we had hoped that things would pick up after covid). The Christmas story is still relevant –A story to take to heart. A story to live out and share. At its heart is a about a gift but not in wrapping paper and tinsel but the birth of a Saviour.

Call: The wait is over. Hope has arrived. Peace is with us. Love has come down. Joy is here. Lord, your precious bundle is with us – the gift of your Son our Saviour. In grateful thanks we bring ourselves, we bring you our worship.

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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : Lord, your glory shines in the deepest darkness; You give us life and hope and answer our deepest needs. Wonderful Giver we wonder with shepherds, rejoice with angels. We hear again the old old story made new in us today. With so much around in the world that causes us to worry, to be concerned, even to depress it is marvellous to be reminded of your love and mercy – to be given your Son, to be one of us, to be part of our lives, our world and to transform everything. We are so grateful for the greatest gift of all time. ‘Glory to God in the highest!’ Joy to the world the Lord is come! Receive our thanks not only today and into the new year in word alone, but with the service of our lives too. For the times when we do and say things that hurt others and are against your love: forgive us. May the star that shone above the stable in Bethlehem lead us back to you. May we be your people of peace, proclaiming your kingdom of justice and righteousness with joy, with hope, and with love in our hearts. And may the message of the child in the manger be born in us this day, we pray. Amen

Todays Bible reading - Listen by clicking on the image or using the sound bar below
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Luke 2:1-7 The birth of Jesus
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Thought- Last year Covid cast its shadow over Christmas and while restrictions were temporarily relaxed more were imposed straight afterwards. Covid hasn’t gone away and some of the deep seated consequences are beginning to come to light, but at least it does not dominate our lives as it did. If we ever thought life would be “normal” in 2022 we were wrong – the cost of living, food shortages, energy prices through the roof and little prospect of improvement make it very hard to contemplate Christmas celebrations. But life was far from trouble free back in the 1st century. They were under occupation. Government decrees ordered them to travel to register for taxes – pregnancy and distance didn’t come into it. It was long ago but God gave us the greatest gift of all time – his Son, our Saviour was born among us, one of us. We tell the story again, now in 2022. Angels proclaimed it from the skies; shepherds heard it in awe and wonder on the hillsides and passed on the good news to all who would hear. The wise men came and made their contributions and then went home and spread the news far and wide. And in grand cathedrals, small country churches, in High Streets and in countless school and village halls the story of the birth of God’s Son has been shared over and over by word of mouth and in nativity plays and nowadays online too. And it still makes an impact – for it is a story of God’s love for his people, a people who down through the centuries have been troubled in one way or another, as we are now with covid, rising prices, talks of blackouts, fighting in Europe, poverty and injustice; where there are still far too many people forced to travel far from their own countries. We are fortunate – most of us have a roof over our heads and even if we have some sadness in our lives, we will still be able to share in some joy over the Christmas period; Few of us will go hungry though some even locally can’t presume– but whatever happens we know that God loves us. Jesus is good news! Our  last advent candle is lit – the big one in the middle – a sign that the promise is fulfilled, the Saviour of the world is born. There is a sense in which the light of the glory of God, announced by the angels at Bethlehem still casts light on our dark world even after more than 2000 years. Let’s hang on to that in the midst of all the challenges that face us.


Praise: CH4  313    See in yonder manger low  v1,2 & 5.  
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: On this special day, as people celebrate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ, we remember and offer our prayers for the people in our world today who need your saving grace. We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph bringing new life into the world, becoming parents with all the joys and challenges that brings. Lord, send them family and friends who can help and support them. We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph, who have left their homes behind, whether out of choice, or need, or because they have been forced out by natural disaster or human violence. Lord, send them people who can help them to find a safe space to rest and support them to find a more permanent solution. We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph who are living out of bags and don’t have all the facilities and amenities they need, or who don’t have access to medical care, or money to buy what they need. Lord, send them people who can help them to get what they need for today and beyond. In our prayer walk we remember those who live or work in Melville Gardens and Gibson Place together with all the vaccination staff at the Town Hall. Lord, in a moment’s silence we offer our prayers for the people and situations close to our hearts.
 
SILENCE
 
Thank you for always promising to answer our prayers, give us patience to wait and help us to be ready to answer when you call us to serve you. In the name of the Christ Child, we pray. Amen.

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.