Carol God rest you merry (Traditional)
… Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!
Christmas is good news. After a tough year, Christmas brings comfort and joy to you and to a world that is weary and hurting.
The message of the baby born in Bethlehem is that God is in the mix. God does not stand far off, watching from a distance. God comes to us, walks with us and stays with us.
Reading (Luke 2:1-7)
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 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.
Reflection (by Archbishop Justin Welby)
A light amidst the difficulties of this year has been the way people have cared for each other with generosity and courage. Cynicism about community has often been overwhelmed by love for neighbour.
It has been stressful and anxious, but we have not shut ourselves off from each other. There have been countless wonderful acts of kindness and care, often sacrificial ones.
We’ve seen these acts of goodness in health and in care, we’ve seen them in the community and in our neighbourhoods. Most often they have come not from power or position but from love and vulnerability.
That’s exactly the sort of love that we celebrate at Christmas. Love that gets its hands dirty. Love that is open and generous. Love that, without great ceremony, makes a difference.
May we find that love, God’s love in Jesus Christ, this Christmas. May we share that love, God’s love in us, this Christmas. And as we receive, and as we give, may we know that comfort and the joy that is God’s gift to us.
Is there a gift, not one bought from a shop or prettily wrapped, that you might need to give another person today?
How might such a gift bring comfort and joy to someone this Christmas?
God of comfort and joy, may we know your presence with us today and bring your gentle, joyful love to others, this Christmas and always.