Christmas Day Family Service 2020
The chosen hymns for this service, Once in Royal David’s city and O Little town of Bethlehem can be found below along with a transcription of the sermon for those who prefer to read.
Good morning and a good Christmas to you.
This is a very different Christmas because we live in very different times.
You needed to book a place to be here.
You are not allowed to sit where you want.
You are not allowed to sing, though you can hum if you want and if you decided to mime the hymns no one could stop you, just letting you know.
Let us pray
On this special day, as people celebrate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ,
we remember and offer our prayers for the people in our world today who need your help.
We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph, bringing new life into the world, becoming parents with all the joys and challenges that brings.
Lord, send them family and friends who can help and support them.
We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph, who have left their homes behind, whether out of choice, or need, or because they have been forced out by natural disaster or human violence.
Lord, send them people who can help them to find a safe space to rest and support them to find a more permanent solution.
We pray for people, like Mary and Joseph who are living out of bags and don’t have all the facilities and amenities they need, or who don’t have access to medical care, or money to buy what they need.
Lord, send them people who can help them to get what they need for today and beyond.
Lord, in a moments silence we offer our prayers for the people and situations close to our hearts.
Thank you for always promising to answer our prayers,
give us patience to wait and help us to be ready to answer when you call us to serve you.
In the name of the Christ child we pray.
One of the things that has been different this year has been children’s addresses. We always suspected that people listened to the children’s addresses but didn’t bother much to listen to the sermons. But now we have proof. When we went online people had a choice to what they watched.
The biggest number of people watching a children’s address over 2,000.
The biggest number of people watching a sermon 327.
But because of COVID we haven’t had a children’s address in the church since March. So today I thought that I would treat you to one. That is my Christmas gift.
The worst Christmas Present
The thing about Christmas is presents.
But sometimes presents are good and sometimes presents are bad.
I wonder if you can think what the worst Christmas present may be.
There was once a king of the jungle and he was a horrible king.
He went about every day believing that just because he was king, he was the best animal in the jungle. That every other animal should bow down to him and tell him how wonderful he was.
He would boss people about and never say thank you.
He would command people to go and get his sweets and he would never share any of them.
Even though he was the king and was the richest animal in the jungle and could do anything, he would never help anyone. If he saw another puppet lying on the ground injured, he would just walk over them.
It was coming up to the kings birthday and he demanded that every animal give him the best present they could afford. Now many animals didn’t have enough for the food that they ate and if they bought him an expensive present then they might be hungry and their children might end up being hungry, but the king didn’t care. All he cared about was himself.
So Sam the Squirrel decided that instead of getting him an expensive present, he would get him the worst present.
Can you guess what it might be?
It was a beautiful golden mirror.
I know it doesn’t sound like a bad present, and at first the king thought it was a wonderful present.
But what he didn’t realise was what the mirror could do.
Because when the King looked at himself in the mirror he saw a proud strong king, but then he saw the people behind him and how they were looking at him when they thought he wasn’t looking.
He saw them look at him as if he was just a selfish king because he never shared.
He saw them look at him as if he was a horrible king because he bossed them about.
He saw that they didn’t care for him or like him because he didn’t care for anyone except himself.
Nobody thought he was special, no one bothered about him, no one respected him, no one cared what would happen to him.
It was the worst gift he could get, because it shattered his illusions about how wonderful he thought he was.
And it was the best gift for him to get, because it made him think about changing. So he would share his sweets, he would help people, he would be a king that ruled wisely.
Today is Christmas.
And we celebrate this day because God gave us the very best gift, the birth of his Son Jesus.
And the reason that is the best gift is because through Jesus we see how God looks at us.
We see that God sees us as a beloved child.
We don’t need to be mean, because God wants to give us what we need.
We don’t need to act horrible because we are angry, because God cares for us.
We don’t; need to be horrible to others because we feel lonely because God is with us.
God sees us as we are, and he sees all the potential in us, and wants to help us be that person we could be...and he will never leave us until we become that person.
He helps us when we make mistakes, he helps us when we don’t know what to do, he even helps us help others.
we have simple prayers today;
prayers for hope and promise,
prayers for those like Mary and Joseph who felt a bit lost and frightened by what they were facing,
who felt a bit hungry, and tired and maybe forgotten.
But in the end you led them to the place of safety they needed to get to.
Whatever we face, may we know you are with us as you were with them.
That if we listen to you, if we follow your path for us, then you will guide us well.
We pray for all of those who are struggling today, and there are many round the world who are giving a hard time,
let them know that your promise is given, your light is born, your word is spoken.
And may we never forget it here, especially with all the distractions of lights and glitter, that your promise is to with all of us.
So in the middle of our town and streets and neighbourhoods, may we keep alive the promise for those who need it most.
You are with us, you are with them.