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Worship Sheet for Christmas Day/Sunday 26 December In those days… the birth of the Saviour

A very happy Christmas to you! Light in the darkness. Hope in what has been a pretty awful year. The Christmas story is still relevant – a wonder to children hearing it for the first time and to those with hearts open to experience its truth afresh.  A story to take to heart. A story to live out and share.

Call: Our waiting is over. Hope has arrived. Peace is with us. Love has come down. Joy is here. Lord, we, your people waited and waited, and you did not disappoint. In grateful thanks we bring ourselves, we bring you our worship.

Candle   We light our final advent candle -  Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Jesus is the light of the world. A light that no darkness can ever put out. 
We sing: Advent candles tell their story, on this Christmas Day. Those who waited for God’s glory: they prepared the way. Christ is with us: loving, giving, in us living, here today!  

Watch the Mini service video by clicking on the Ministers image
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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : You turn night to light; your glory shines in the deepest darkness; God, 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 once more. It warms our hearts and reminds us of mercy, fashioned in flesh and bone and with the angels and faithful folk down through the generations we cry: ‘Glory to God in the highest!’O, God, whose light flickers in the darkness and cannot be put out, whose love warms even the coldest of hearts, we sometimes lose our way as we journey on your path. For the times in our lives when we fail to reflect your glory by our words and by our actions: forgive us.
For the times we diminish the light of others, pushing ourselves forward instead of encouraging them to shine: forgive us. For the times when we withhold your love from those who make us uncomfortable, those, not like us, those whose approach to life fails to meet our own self-imposed standards: 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


Praise: CH312    Away in a manger 
Read or Print Hymn CH4 312 by clicking this link
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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- Once again Covid casts its shadow over Christmas – this time the omicron variant and the risk has been raised to category 4 and at the time of recording we wait, possibly tomorrow, news of further restrictions. That is the context of our Christmas. But life was far from trouble free back in the 1st century. They were under occupation. Government decrees ordered them, not to stay at home, but to travel to register for taxes – safety and convenience didn’t come into it. Well, the birth of Jesus happened in days long, long ago but that event has been told and retold over and over again – and we tell it and hear it afresh here, now in 2021. Angels proclaimed it from the skies; shepherds heard it in awe and wonder on the hillsides and retold it 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, the climate crisis, fighting, 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 – and whatever happens we know that God loves us. Jesus is good news! We 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.  
Read or Print Hymn CH4 313 by clicking this link
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: God who spoke the world into being, Jesus, Word of life, Spirit, who lives within us: we thank you for the power of word and story: your story, our stories, intertwined. Today when we tell the story of stars and angels, shepherds and a stable, of powerful empire and your kingdom breaking through in the birth of a child, we thank you for hope, passed as a torch, down through countless generations. Light of the world, we pray for all who walk in the darkness of uncertainty and despair – who wonder where the next meal will come from, where they will find shelter, where they will feel safe from harm; who struggle to survive and wonder whether to keep on trying. We pray for all who live in a land of deep darkness, places where corruption and greed strangle truth and stifle justice, places where the vulnerable and those who speak up are crushed under the heel of the powerful. In this season of celebration, we pray for those who walk the dark valley of grief, those who are ill and those who care for them, those who feel invisible and alone. May the story of the child in the manger kindle a flame of hope and comfort, may it be a sign of liberation, may it lead to that deep joy which goes beyond the tinsel and the glitter and acts as an anchor through all that life brings. We give you thanks for the wondrous story of your coming to our level to walk with us in the darkness, to be our light on the way, to show us who you are and what love looks like. And we pray for those we love the most, whether we are able to be with them today or not, join us together in your love and grace and, instead of a prayer walk street, we pray for the joy of Christ to be know all across Montrose. In the name of the Christ Child, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us always, we pray. Amen.

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.