‘From the ordinary to the special’ – 24th December 4.00pm – Christingle

Our Christingle service is online only this year. To watch it on Youtube, please click here:


If you have made your own Christingle at home, don't forget to have it ready!  You'll need something to light the candle with at the appropriate time.  If you are a child, make sure there is a grown-up with you to help you to do this safely.

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

The Bible 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 Bible quotation is from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Address

By Catherine B, a Reader at St. Mary's

Last Friday my Christmas tree went up. We added coloured lights and baubles, and hung other ornaments on the branches. I’d like to show you a couple of them. They are both made from recycled materials. The people who made these took things that weren’t very special and turned them into Christmas decorations.

My friend made this angel from sheet music paper. I’m not sure what the music was from, and I’ve not tried playing it. But it makes a very attractive angel. It reminds me of the angels in the Christmas story that we heard today. They told the good news about the birth of baby Jesus to the shepherds. And then they began to sing songs of praise to God.

This second ornament was made by someone in Bethlehem. It used to be a tear gas canister. The town of Bethlehem today is not always a very peaceful place and sometimes the soldiers fire tear gas to make crowds of people go away. But some people in Bethlehem collected the spent tear gas canisters and then turned them into something more beautiful. They’ve decorated them with coloured ribbon to look like little presents that you can hang on your Christmas tree. They’d like us to remember that Christ came to bring peace and joy, and to pray for peace in the land where he was born.

Ordinary or used things turned into something special for Christmas.

Mary turned something ordinary and used into something special for Christmas too. She and Joseph weren’t at home when it was time to give birth to her baby. She hadn’t got a cot or a Moses basket. They hadn’t even got a proper room because everywhere was full. But there was a manger in the stable where they settled down for the night. It was filled with soft hay. After Mary gave birth to Jesus, she turned the manger into a cot for her very special baby.

I’m sad that for a second year we can’t all be in church for this service and enjoy the light from all the Christingles together. But I wonder if you were able to make your own Christingle at home? It’s not too late to have a go – you can make one any time between Advent Sunday and Candlemas – so you’ve got until 2nd February!

Christingles are another lovely decoration made from ordinary objects – an orange, a candle, a piece of red ribbon or tape and 4 cocktail sticks with sweets and fruit on them. If you’ve not made one before, there’s a video on our website showing you what to do.

Your Christingle is full of meaning too:
The orange represents the world we live on.
The candle represents Jesus, who came into the world as a little baby.
The cocktail sticks full of fruit and sweets represent all the good things that are in the world for us to look after and share.
The red ribbon or tape represents all the suffering of the world, and especially the suffering that Jesus went through on Good Friday.
But when we light the candle, we remember that Jesus came into the world to overcome suffering and to be the light of the world, shining brightly for everyone. We remember that Jesus brings hope into lives that are often very difficult.

So like the angels and shepherds, let us give thanks and praise to God.

Happy Christmas to you all!

The Prayers

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
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.