The Star

Reading – Isaiah 9: 6-7 – For a child has been born for us

Isaiah 9: 6-7 

6 For a child has been born for us,
   a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
   and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
7 His authority shall grow continually,
   and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
   He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
   from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 


Advent liturgy – Star – remind to look for God’s guiding in our lives


We hang a Star on our Christmas Trees…

May the Star be a reminder to us of the guiding of God, for it led the Wise Men to discover the babe in a manger, it led them to prophet, priest and king, to Messiah, to Emmanuel, to Jesus at the heart of our Christmas story. May the star remind us to look and see the guiding of God in our lives.

We light our fourth candle as a reminder of the Star that led the Wise Men all those years ago to seek the child Jesus.



Advent God, Christmas is upon us, may we, in the busyness of the week not fail to look for the star that guides us, your love, your word, your truth.  Amen

Hymn StF 224 v1 – As with gladness

           As with gladness men of old
           did the guiding star behold,
           as with joy they hailed its light,
           leading onward, beaming bright,
           so, most gracious Lord, may we
           evermore be led to thee.


Hymn 188 – There’s a light upon the mountain

   1      There’s a light upon the mountains, and the day is at the spring,
           when our eyes shall see the beauty and the glory of the King;
           weary was our heart with waiting, and the night-watch seemed so long;
           but his triumph-day is breaking, and we hail it with a song.

   2      There’s a hush of expectation, and a quiet in the air;
           and the breath of God is moving in the fervent breath of prayer:
           for the suffering, dying Jesus is the Christ upon the throne,
           and the travail of our spirit is the travail of his own.

   3      He is breaking down the barriers, he is casting up the way;
           he is calling for his angels to build up the gates of day:
           but his angels here are human, not the shining hosts above;
           for the drum-beats of his army are the heart-beats of our love.

   4      Hark!  We hear a distant music, and it comes with fuller swell;
           ‘tis the triumph-song of Jesus, of our King, Immanuel:
           Zion, go now forth to meet him; and, my soul, be swift to bring
           all your finest and your noblest for the triumph of our King!

Henry Burton (1840–1930)


Reading – Luke 1: 26-38 – the birth of Jesus foretold

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ 35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

The news of the birth of Jesus was of such importance that an angel was sent to tell Mary – how else would she have believed it to be true?  But news soon got round!


Sketch – The Village Gossips


Hymn – 212 – O come, all ye faithful – vs 1-5

   1      O come, all ye faithful,
           joyful and triumphant,
           O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
           come and behold him,
           born the King of angels:
                O come, let us adore him,
                O come, let us adore him,
                O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

   2      True God of true God,
           Light of Light eternal,
           lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
           Son of the Father,
           begotten, not created:

   3      See how the shepherds,
           summoned to his cradle,
           leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
           we too will thither
           bend our joyful footsteps:

   4      Lo, star-led chieftains,
           Magi, Christ adoring,
           offer him incense, gold, and myrrh;
           we to the Christ-child
           bring our hearts’ oblations:

   5      Sing, choirs of angels,
           sing in exultation,
           sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
           ‘Glory to God
           in the highest:’

Latin, 18th century, possibly by John Francis Wade (c. 1711–1786)

Reading – Luke 2: 1-7 – the birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus

2In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


Hymn – 214 – Once in royal David’s city

   1      Once in royal David’s city
           stood a lowly cattle shed,
           where a mother laid her baby
           in a manger for his bed:
           Mary was that mother mild,
           Jesus Christ her little child.

   2      He came down to earth from heaven
           who is God and Lord of all,
           and his shelter was a stable,
           and his cradle was a stall;
           with the needy, poor and lowly
           lived on earth our Saviour holy.

   3      And our eyes at last shall see him,
           through his own redeeming love,
           for that child so dear and gentle
           is our Lord in heaven above;
           and he leads his children on
           to the place where he is gone.

   4      Not in that poor lowly stable,
           with the oxen standing by,
           we shall see him; but in heaven,
           set at God’s right hand on high;
           there his children gather round
           bright like stars, with glory crowned.

Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895)


Reflection – A Shepherds story


Reading – Luke 2: 8-18 – the shepherds

Luke 2: 8-18 

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 
14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.


Hymn – 221 – While shepherds watched


Prayers & Lord’s Prayer

Lord God, you are light in our darkness and the purpose in our wandering.

Today, we have sung our Christmas Carols again, and have been reminded of that story we know so well.

You are revealed in the angel’s greeting.
You are made known in the acceptance of Mary.
You are felt in the care of Joseph.
You are received in the following of the shepherds.
You are given in the gifts of the magi.
You, Lord God, are a blessing today.


O God, it is nearly Christmas, and there are many ways to celebrate.
Some of us are excited, some of us are tired, some of us are worried this year, some of us are busy getting ready, while some of us are uncertain about our plans and who we are going to share Christmas with.

We pray for those for whom this Christmas may be difficult.  We remember all those who have died this year, and give thanks for all those who have been born.

May we rejoice in the blessing of the birth of Jesus, and celebrate this special season with those we love. 

Bring us back to the meaning of Christmas, of loving and giving, of receiving and blessing.
With penitent hearts, we stand before you, seeking your gift of blessing and forgiveness. 

In all your business, among the preparations, the carols and crackers, 
may we hear your gentle words, offering us the gift of forgiveness, and inexhaustible love. 

The Lord’s Prayer



Do you have any Christmas traditions in your family?  Or do you know of any traditions that other people enjoy?

Christmas is very much a time of traditions, but ironically, it all started with an event very much out of the usual events.  Our Village Gossips have suggested how the local village might have reacted to the news of Mary’s pregnancy.  I have often wondered what happened after Jesus was born.  After a dramatic visitation by angels and the Shepherds running down to Bethlehem to find a new born baby, surely they wouldn’t have just gone back to the fields?  The sketch tells us that the shepherds ran off to tell everyone about the birth of Jesus, and I am sure that would have been the case.  They would have been bursting to tell everyone they met.  But I guess that many people would have been sceptical, especially as it was a motley bunch of shepherds that were bringing this news, and so few believed them.  And the birth of the Son of God, announced by angels, would soon have become yesterday’s news.

But Mary and Joseph didn’t forget, and the Shepherds didn’t forget, and the Wise Men didn’t forget.  But I don’t suppose any of them had any real understanding about the significance of the events that they had been a part of.

Like the shepherds and the Wise Men, we need to participate in the nativity, but we also need to move on and ask ourselves what does it all mean?  How can we keep retelling this well-known Christmas story in ways which are relevant to today?  What does it mean for us, that the Son of God was born on earth and walked among us and shared our lives with us?

We have heard Luke’s account of the visit of the shepherds to the manger, where they told Mary and Joseph about the message from the angels.  The next verse goes on to say “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”.

I wonder what you have planned in the days between now and Christmas Day?  Will it be full of visitors and interruptions, like the stable?  Will you do something unexpected, or will you do the things you always do every year, or will you try something new which might become a new tradition?  

Will you be able to find any moments for peace?  Will you be able to sit quietly and ponder the words of the shepherds?

This year, once again, we find ourselves in a dark place this Christmas.  Not only are the days shorter, but the troubles of the world seem to have been magnified this year – covid, climate change, refugees.  But we are not children of the dark, but children of the light.

John’s gospel reminds us, “What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Christmas means that the light has come into the world, no matter how dark the world might feel.  The birth of Jesus means that there is hope for a world where the light will always overcome the darkness.  May we all ponder the Christmas message of light and hope, and then shine with the light of Christ this Christmas, and find a way to bring that light to everyone we meet.



Hymn – 202 – Hark! The herald-angels sing

   1      Hark!  The herald-angels sing
           glory to the new-born King,
           peace on earth, and mercy mild,
           God and sinners reconciled.
           Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
           join the triumph of the skies;
           with the angelic host proclaim:
           ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem.’
                Hark!  The herald-angels sing
                glory to the new-born King.

   2      Christ, by highest heaven adored,
           Christ, the everlasting Lord,
           late in time behold him come,
           offspring of a virgin’s womb.
           Veiled in flesh the Godhead see!
           Hail, the incarnate Deity!
           Pleased as man with men to dwell,
           Jesus, our Immanuel:

   3      Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
           Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
           Light and life to all he brings,
           risen with healing in his wings.
           Mild he lays his glory by,
           born that man no more may die,
           born to raise the sons of earth,
           born to give them second birth:

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)



God, who blessed the earth with life and love,
thank you that you greet us in the person of Jesus,
and pour your blessings on us by the power of your Holy Spirit.
Empowered by the same Spirit,
send us out to be signs of greeting and blessing
to a world so in need of your peace,
and people in need of your love.
Help us serve and bless in your name,
and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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