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Joy to the world! (26-12-2020)

Carol Joy to the world (Isaac Watts 1674-1748)

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare him room

And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Saviour reigns:

Your sweetest songs employ

while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

repeat the sound joy.


Shepherds, on a dark hillside outside the sleeping town, were the first to hear the joyful news of the birth of Jesus.

A message of peace and joy for all, celebrated by a vast choir of angels and by carols in pubs and churches, homes and streets around the world.

Reading (Luke 2:8-14)

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. But the angel said to them, “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 Saviour 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.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Reflection (by Martha Collison)

Christmas would not be Christmas without food, especially as we share with others. The restrictions of the last months have been hard for all of us. We have missed the chance to gather together and share food.

As we sit and eat, we can also discover that God sits and eats with us. Whether alone or with others, whether in celebration or stillness, in our companionship and our gratitude God’s presence is made known.

It’s the heart of Christmas. Not surprising really that Bethlehem means House of Bread. In Jesus, God meets us where we are, God sits with us, God shares his bread and eats with us.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare him room

God’s love discovered, God’s love received and God’s love shared. That’s the message of Christmas, for shepherds on a quiet hillside, and for us wherever we find ourselves.

Joy to the world! Glory to God! Peace to all!


Boxing Day was traditionally a day when boxes of food and provisions were given to people in need in the community.

How could you continue that tradition today?


God of all the world, may we hear today the good news of your love, whether in a quiet whisper or an exultant song, and may your love bring peace and joy in and through us.


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