Christmas always seems to be accompanied by jolly songs, ringing tills, and the expectation that you will have a good time. But that’s not how it feels for many people. Maybe your year has been hard – for whatever reason (bereavement, illness, estrangement, worry, isolation. COVID) and Christmas seems to highlight the difficulties. Or maybe in an over busy life, you just want space to reflect, recall and regroup.

Whatever the reason, whatever the need, you are welcome here. I hope that you will find the space and hope which the Christmas story offers.

This is a self led service and you can take as long or as short as you need – it should take between 20-25 minutes. You may want to have a candle available.

We come into the presence of a loving God who knows our needs, hears our cries and heals our wounds.

Come, God-with-us:
Who braves our rejection and hurt, who holds us in acceptance and love.

Come God-for-us:
Who whispers in our ears that each of us are beloved children.

Come God-under-us:
Who cradles us in arms that never grow weary; Whose lap has room for all.

Come, God-over-us:
Who watches in the long silence of the night, That we might rest in peace.

Come, God-beside-us:
Who steadies us when we falter, who lifts us up when we fall.

Come, God-behind-us:
Who picks up all the faded dreams We drop along the way, and patchworks them into hope.

CAROL Lo He Comes
BIBLE READING Isaiah 9:2-7

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.


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[a] 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.

CAROL O Little Town Of Bethlehem

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.


You came as a baby, Lord,
As a helpless little child
Who relied on a human family To care for him.
You cried because you were hungry, Because you were homeless, Because you were a stranger,
Far away from home.
You still cry with hunger, Lord,
In the voices of many that are starving;
Your tears still flow:
For the homeless,
The lonely,
The forgotten.
You still rely on human families to care for you.
And so this Christmas, Lord, we pray:
Help us to be the kind of people
Who look for you in the world,
And joyfully discover you as we care for one another. Amen.

CAROL It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
BIBLE READING: Luke 2:8-20

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 Savior 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 favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

CAROL O Holy Night


Lord, come to your people In your mercy, set us free.
Unlooked for, Christ comes.
Loving God, we pray for our community.
In the midst of our everyday lives,
Surprise us with glimpses
of your glorious, Humble love
At the heart of existence.

Lord, come to your people
In your mercy, set us free.
Searched for, Christ comes.
Loving God, we pray for the leaders of the world.
Guide them with your light,
To seek wisdom, justice and peace.
Lord, come to your people
In your mercy, set us free.
Longed for, Christ comes.
Loving God, we pray for those whose lives are hard and painful,
Or whose existence is sorrowful,
bitter or empty.
In their need,
May they know your healing touch,
Reaching out to comfort, strengthen and restore.
Lord, come to your people
In your mercy, set us free.
Loving God, come to us now,
As you have come to your people in every age,
As we gather our thoughts in the words that the adult Christ taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name;
They Kingdom come; thy will be done;
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

You may want to light your candle as we sing our last carol as a reminder that in the darkness, in the messiness, in the coldness of life, the Christmas story of God in Christ, breaking into the world, offers hope that light will come with the morning.

CAROL Silent Night, Holy Night!

In the beginning
When all was very dark, you said: Let there be light.
And there was light
And life throughout the universe.
And when the human race
Was exhausted , tired and weary,
In the darkness of anxiety,
Confusion and sin,
Into that darkness you came
As light in Jesus Christ.
God became a human being among us all.
Once again it is dark.
Not just dark at midnight
But dark in ourselves:
Dark with doubt,
Dark with fear and uncertainty,
Dark with confusing
And conflicting voices in our ears.
Come, Light of Life,
Lighten the darkness in our lives
With your mighty word of love.
Lighten our hearts with the joy
Of your promised coming.
Lighten our world with the hope
That faith in you brings.

We travel towards Christmas Day
In the peace of Jesus Christ.
May his peace,
That lightens the soul with faith,
Lifts the spirit with hope,
And leavens the world with love,
Be ours tonight and always. Amen.

This service was taken from various sources.

Carols are sung by Saint Martins in the Fields singers