‘Christingle Service’ – Thursday 24th December 2020 – Christmas Eve

Our Christingle service is available online from 4.00pm Christmas Eve

To watch the service, please click here:


To download a copy of the order of service, please click here:

Christingle 2020 - PDF

Christingle2020 - Word

The Reading

Luke 2:1-20

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.

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.

The Talk
by Catherine, a Reader at St. Mary's

I expect many of you will know today’s Bible story very well. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, but have to shelter in the stable because everywhere else is full. Mary is heavily pregnant and while they are there, it’s time for her baby to be born. So she gives birth in the stable, wraps him up in swaddling clothes, and then places baby Jesus in a manger.

Meanwhile there are a group of shepherds outside in the fields, keeping an eye on the sheep. And they have a strange experience. An angel appears to tell them about the new baby.

Who were these shepherds? We don’t know exactly. They would have been on the edges of society, because shepherding was a difficult, dirty and dangerous job. Other people might have kept away from them, because they would have been dirty and smelly.

Pictures on Christmas cards often show them as mature men with beards. But it’s possible that they might actually be quite a bit younger - teenagers even, paid a minimum wage to stay awake whilst the regular adult shepherds get some sleep.

Teenagers are often natural night-owls who like to stay awake at night and lie in late the next morning. So watching the flocks whilst the adults sleep might seem like a good plan.

But teenagers are still young, still really children themselves. And, with plenty of wild animals about to threaten them and their sheep, these young shepherds might find their job quite scary. But they do it anyway, because their families are poor and need every penny they can earn.

So they must have been very scared to see an angel suddenly appear in all the glory of the Lord. They might know how to deal with a wolf or wildcat. But this is a new and strange experience. They would have been terrified.

But the first thing the angel says is “Fear not! I have good news for you! The Messiah has been born. You will find him in Bethlehem, the city of David. Come and see for yourselves!” And suddenly a whole band of angels appear, singing praises to God.

The angels leave and the shepherds become bold. Young people are naturally curious and if these shepherds were teenagers, this experience would definitely have sparked their interest. “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see!” So they go. They see Mary and Joseph in the stable and the child in the manger. They tell everyone there why they’ve come, and everyone is amazed. And then, having seen for themselves, the shepherds return to their job, praising God as they go.

At our Christingle service we remember the work of the Children’s Society. The Children’s Society works with vulnerable children and young people, including those living in poverty on the edges of society, like the shepherds of our Bible story. The society helps these young people when they’re scared and enables them to thrive. They can then enjoy their curiosity to the full.

So as you enjoy your Christingle and your Christmas, you might like to say a prayer for the Children’s Society and all the children and young people they help. You might even like to give them a donation. If so, you can find details of how to do this in your order of service.

The Prayers
Prepared by the Children's Society

Lord Jesus,
you were born into an ordinary family:
We pray for families everywhere,
especially for families in difficulty or in poverty,
and for families and relationships that are breaking down.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus,
your bed was in a manger,
because there was no room at the inn.
We pray for all those who have no home:
those who sleep on the streets,
and all who have lost everything
through violence or disaster.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus,
the animals shared their stable with you;
We pray for the earth, and for all living things,
that we might learn to live in peace and harmony with the natural world,
and treat all of creation with honour and respect.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus,
you were worshipped and adored by shepherds and kings:
We pray for the people and nations of the world,
and especially for peace and understanding
between different faiths.
You came as the light for the whole world,
so in you may we find that we have more in common
than that which divides us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, God with us,
we pray for people we know who are in need.
We pray especially for children who are in difficulty,
and for the work of The Children’s Society
in standing up for justice
and bringing light and hope into darkness.
Help us to show to one another
the same faithfulness and love
that you revealed at Bethlehem.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus,
you came to be with us on earth
so that we might be with you in heaven:
Keep safely all those who have died.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.


Prayers (c) The Children's Society 2020