Call to worship
‘I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
who is the Messiah, the Lord’. [Luke 2:10b-11]
Lighting the Christ candle
‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness,
on them light has shined’. [Isaiah 9:2]
You may like to light a candle at this time.
God’s truth is revealed in Jesus Christ the light of the world. May the light shine for the hope of the world.
Acknowledgment of country
As we begin, it is appropriate to recognise that this great land has been home to our first nations peoples for many thousands of years. Let us also acknowledge those Aboriginal peoples who are the first inhabitants of the regions in which we dwell, and honour them for their care of the land.
The opening song is, ‘Hark, the herald ages sing’. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Let us pray,
All glory be to you, great God, for the gift of your Son, light in darkness and hope of the world, whom you sent to save us.
Let us praise your name and tell the earth his story, that all may believe, rejoice, and bow down, acknowledging your love for us through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Open our eyes to Christ’s presence in the shadows of this world, so that we, like him, may become beacons to your justice and defenders of all for whom there is no room.
Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. Forgive us, heal us, make us new; so that we will sing your praise this Christmas Day and all the days to come, in the name of Christ. Amen.
From the Bible
The Bible reading for today is from Luke 2:1-20. The words of the reading are below. There is also a video of a dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading underneath.
Luke 2: 1-20 (birth of Jesus)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And 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.
Shepherds in the field
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Dramatic readings from Lumo
Here is the dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading by the Lumo group. If you have trouble connecting you can go directly to YouTube at:
The message is brought to you by Rev. Mark Faulkner from the Saltbush Community. What was it for Mary to sit and ponder all that she was hearing about her child, even before he was born? What is it for us today to draw aside and ponder the meaning of this amazing and terrifying thing that God has done in the birth of Jesus.
How do you draw the words of the birth of Jesus into your faith and life? What is it to dwell and ponder as Mary did around the life of Jesus the Christ? What did you hear in the word today?
Before a time of prayer you may like to spend some time in silence sitting still. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Simply be still and open to God. You may prefer to do this while listening to the ‘Optional reflective music’ below.
Optional reflective music
Father and daughter sing, ‘Mary did you know?’ If you have trouble connecting, go directly to YouTube at:
Prayers for Others
Let us pray to God,
Gracious God, as a star rose, and drew people from great distances to Bethlehem that they might greet the Christ-child; draw us, and all of your people to you – that we might be the people who you call us to be.
As people streamed to Jesus’ Light, and the brightness of his rising; draw our nation, and all in authority, to his brightness.
As angels sang ‘glorias’ to you, and proclaimed peace on earth, and goodwill among all peoples; bring us your peace, and bring an end to and terror and strife.
Loving God, as shepherds were drawn away from their flocks by night; draw those who do not know you yet to the knowledge and love of you.
As Jesus was born in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn; be especially present with those who have nowhere to lay their head, those who are vulnerable, and those who are cold and hungry.
Just as the Holy Family gathered together in Bethlehem, and travelled together to far off lands; bless all families and protect those who travel.
As your son came to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of Life Eternal; give to the departed, eternal rest and let light perpetual shine on them. And grant comfort to those who are struggling, or are heavy of heart this Christmas. May they know your peace.
Let us now pray for the needs of those whom we now name in silence of our hearts.
Lord our God, may the light and hope of this day reassure our hearts that you are among us, that you hear our prayer, and that you will be with us always. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth we pray. Amen.
May this Christmas Day be a day of blessing for you!
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you all, this day and forevermore.
A bluegrass version of ‘O, come all ye faithful’, courtesy of Celtic Worship. If you have problems connecting, go directly to YouTube at:
‘Saviour in manger’, courtesy of Emu Music. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Giant Christmas cracker
Here some people decided that the normal Christmas cracker just wasn’t quite big enough, so they decided to make one that was about 200 times bigger. Check it out.
The sermon is based on content in the Saltbush service for this week, which can be found at: