Christmas Day – December 25th 2021

Welcome

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

As we light this Christmas candle,
may its flame be for us a sign of Jesus’ birth.
Loving God, today – on this special day – you remind us
that you can use anyone and everyone for your purposes.
We willingly offer you all that we are and all that we have,
choosing to believe that who we are is enough to be used by you. We do this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Worship

Collect

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.

Amen.

Video: A modern day nativity

Please watch by clicking this link

Word

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 nearby, 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 Savior 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 favor 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: 1-20

This Christmas there is a rather strange sense of deja-vu. If I think back to this time last year there was the hope that life would have returned to normal by now and yet with the rise of omicrom we once again find ourselves in a rapidly changing environment, facing new restrictions, with rumours of potential lockdown’s in the New Year and quickly amended plans. There are the concerns from the hospitality industry as business owners worry about whether they will survive and the constant reminders to be kind and to care for and look after one another_ despite the appearance that certain people may be following different rules to the rest of us. But of course the context this year is different to last, we have the vaccines and boosters, which enable us to live closer to what we knew as normal but I wonder if what we expected, this time last year has come to pass or not and I wonder how we feel about this.

In the midst of all of this, as I read the Christmas Story from Luke once again, I am gently reminded of that promise of hope, which remains as present and as constant today as it was when the angels first announced it to the shepherds all those years ago…

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”” Luke 2:10-12

The message for the shepherds differs from the Angels previous announcements to Zechariah and Mary as recorded by Luke. For in both of these, the Angels message is directed at them. But on this day, the shepherds receive a message of hope, that is not only for them but for all people. This hope, the hope of salvation is to be found in a baby boy who would grow up to be the man, and would one day, carry the weight of the sin of the world on his shoulders so that all the whole of creation could be reconciled to God. The shepherds were given a sign and off they went in search of the baby they had been told about. In our changing contexts, the unchanging nature of the story, reminds us of the unchanging nature of God and the hope is still present and the opportunity to know God is available to all today. But the question I find myself asking is do church communities as a whole reflect this message that the hope of salvation is for all? And I wonder if the answer is ‘could do better’. And so I am grateful that one of the conversations this community of All Saints will be having will be around diversity and inclusion to look at what we can do to improve our welcome to those who are different to us, in whatever way that may be.

However the one thing I am fairly certain about as I look towards the new year is that All Saint’s, as a church family, will be different, not least because Ben and the Graft Team will have formally joined us. In this there is much to hope for, and across all of us, there will be many hopes and dreams for this new venture. As an aside, we will be doing some thinking about what these are as a church congregation and a graft team over the coming weeks, so that we can build up a picture of these, but more on that next Sunday. But as we shape these we need to hold the message of the angels to the shepherds in mind and remember that the message of hope we have is for all people and the graft needs to be as much about those on the edges and within the community of Totley as well as the church community. I wonder what the signs will be?

Witness

Affirmation 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. 

Amen.

Prayers 

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.
Amen.

Confession

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.

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

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

Absolution:
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.
Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Lift up your hearts.


We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.


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 angels and archangels,

and with all the company of heaven,

we proclaim your great and glorious name,
 for ever praising you, and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

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. Amen.

The Lord’s prayer 

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

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. 

Amen.

Breaking 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.

Invitation:
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.
Amen.

Blessing

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. AMEN

Dismissal
Leader: Go in peace. Proclaim the Word made flesh.
All Glory, thanks and praise to God.

 

Community

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.

Reminder

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