Christmas Day 2020


Lighting of the Advent Wreath

Jesus of Nazareth,
small child of Bethlehem,
you were not born in a stable
but you were laid in a manger,
a manger filled with warm hay,
probably in the living room of
Joseph’s kinsfolk in Bethlehem.
We have all woken in homes today –
some busy, some quiet,
some owned, some temporary.
Help us see that our homes
are the places where you come to live
in all your glory.
And gather us here, your people
held in the quiet of your birth among us.
Ordinary, and extraordinary,
all at once.
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2020. 
Reproduced with permission.



Leader: Father,
Your Son came as a child and a servant
But we have wanted to tell others what to do
Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.

Your Son was content with so little
But we have been concerned to get more and
Christ, have mercy.
All: Christ, have mercy.

Your Son was willing to suffer for us
But we would rather a peaceful life
Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.


May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Jesus.


The birth of Jesus

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[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their 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. While they were there, 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 guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, 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. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

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

14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’

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

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2

2020 has been described as ‘a year like no other’. It has been a year where the systemic inequalities throughout this country and world have been highlighted in a stark and forceful way. We have seen this through the Black Lives Matter movement who continue to raise awareness of our unconscious biases and challenge us to seek equity for all and also, through the pandemic with it’s effects on numerous industries, the economy and directly impacting families and children. And as I reflect, I embarrassingly conclude that I find myself in a too comfortable place, which in itself is uncomfortable, but I realise that despite this I can still choose how I interact with the world around me and beyond. As, in fact do we all.

As I read Luke’s account of the Christmas story this year I am struck by the simplicity of Luke’s words, it is only the first seven verses of the passage that we heard, that describes Jesus’ birth and the majority of it, describes the ordinary events that place Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, thus fulfilling Micah’s prophecy although Luke doesn’t mention this. Jesus’ birth, God’s arrival in human form has just two verses.

While they were there, 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 guest room available for them. (Luke 2v6-7)

The announcement of Jesus Birth’ and its significance is given to the Shepherd’s on the hillside outside the town. It is those on the edge of the society who receive the Angels message, that in the town of David, Bethlehem, The saviour, the Messiah, the Lord has been born. And they will know it is him because he is wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. This message says the angel is Good news for all people. Once the Angels have gone the shepherds make the decision to go find the baby and so with knowledge of the signs they are looking for they head off and find the child.
Brendan Byrne, a commentator on Luke’s gospel describes these events in this way:
“Jesus birth takes place on the margins, beginning a pattern to be realised over and over in his life and his ministry. The visitor from God, who could not find hospitality in his own city, will nonetheless institute in the world the hospitality of God. The poor, marginalised shepherds of Bethlehem will be the first to experience it.”

Our reading this morning, firstly reminds us that God works in and through the ordinary. Just as he did so then, he also does today. The circumstances that we find ourselves in are not beyond him. God is still at work in his world and he continues to call and involve each of us in his mission.

Secondly our reading reminds us that Jesus’ birth is good news for especially for those on the margins. I do wonder what that practically means and how that looks for our families, our neighbours, our communities, our country, and our planet. But taking an example from the shepherds who went to see what was going on, I suspect that getting involved in the messiness of it all is a good place to start and that in this we too will find Jesus, the Saviour and hope of the world.


Statement of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

All   We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on 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.



Jesus, whose mother was Mary:

we pray for all families, families making difficult decisions, families who have lost loved ones, families who have little or no money and are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for those who long to see family but cannot and for those who have no family.

Lord, be with them all, we pray

Lord Jesus,

hear our prayer.

Jesus, cradled in a manger:

we pray for those who have no home and those whose homes have been destroyed. We pray for those who’ve had to leave their homes and those who long to be home but can’t go back.

Lord, may they find their home in you and with your people,

Lord Jesus,

hear our prayer.

Jesus, sharing the stable with the animals:

we pray for the world that you have made, for all trees and plant and all birds and animals.

Remind us that we are responsible for looking after your world and help us to change our behaviours.

Lord Jesus,

hear our prayer.

Jesus, worshipped by shepherds and kings:

we pray for all nations and people around the world. We pray for the governments and leaders of those places. Grant them wisdom and compassion for the people they lead.

Lord Jesus,

hear our prayer.

Jesus, our Emmanuel God with us:

we pray for those we know that are hurting, Lord be close to them and help us to know how we can support them.

Lord Jesus,

hear our prayer.

Jesus we thank you that you hear all our prayers.


Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
All   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All   It is right to give thanks and praise.

All glory and honour be yours always and everywhere,
mighty creator, ever-living God.
We give you thanks and praise for your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who for love of our fallen race humbled himself,
and [on this day] was born of the Virgin Mary
by the power of your Spirit,
and lived as one of us.

In this mystery of the Word made flesh
you have caused his light to shine in our hearts,
to give knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
In him we see our God made visible
and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see.

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:

All 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.

Father, on the night before he died,
Jesus shared a meal with his friends.
He took the bread, and thanked you.
He broke it, and gave it to them, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this to remember me.

After the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine.
He thanked you, and gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
the new promise of God’s unfailing love.
Do this to remember me.

Jesus Christ has died.
All Jesus Christ has died.
Jesus Christ is risen.
All Jesus Christ is risen.
Jesus Christ will come again.
All Jesus Christ will come again.

Father, as we bring this bread and wine,
and remember his death and resurrection,
send your Holy Spirit,
that we who share these gifts
may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us
that we may love one another,
work for the healing of the earth,
and share the good news of Jesus,
as we wait for his coming in glory.

For honour and praise belong to you, Father,
with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit:
one God, for ever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

All 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.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

We break the bread of life,
and that life is the light of the world.

All God here among us,
light in the midst of us,
bring us to light and life.

Giving of Communion

God’s holy gifts
for God’s holy people.

All Jesus Christ is holy,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer after Communion

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.


The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Blessing and Dismissal

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 yours this Christmas
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with you all
and those whom you love,
now and always.


Leader: Go in peace. Proclaim the Word made flesh.

All: Glory, thanks and praise to God.


If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to

There are also the sermons available from the Bishop’s senior staff here: