St Mary’s Christmas Day Service – Communion Celebration

Outside & In

Order of Service below for
Christmas Day 10am Service
– beginning in St Mary’s Churchyard then in St Mary’s Church

Covid Safety – Most Vital Guidelines
Sadly please do not mix/chat/mingle with any households except your own * Keep at least 2 metres distance from others * Please wear masks * Hand sanitiser on entry to church

* Stewards/welcomers will be kept to a minimum to avoid mixing – please find your seats safely on arrival


A warm welcome to St Mary’s church and churchyard! on this joyful Christmas morning as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, in the midst of our troubled, hurting world.
 Light, love, hope in the darkness.

Our service today is a little different!
We begin outside to enable a more to join to celebrate Christ’s birth together on this special morning, and to sing together! 

After the carol O Come all Ye Faithful, those who have pre-booked seats in church will then move inside for Holy Communion – please stay where you are until you see it is safe to go into church distanced from others.
It is with deep sadness that we have become fully booked inside for safe numbers so all can’t come in today in person as we long for, so sorry. The service continues live on youtube.
If you are leaving after the outside part of the service, please leave when there is safe space to do so.

There will be no collection today (for your safety), but if you would like to donate to the life and work of St Mary’s we would be so grateful and you can do so online here:
or anytime by cash or cheque (Shalford PCC) in the church wall box

Thank you so much for all your patience and care.

May you find the joy and peace of the Christ child
In your celebrations today

Outside in St Mary’s Churchyard  – The Gathering

Welcome & introduction

‘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 Christ, the Lord’. Luke 2:10-11

Opening Carol: 
Once in Royal David’s City

Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall:
with the poor, and mean, and lowly,
lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And through all his wondrous childhood
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above:
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him, but in heaven,
set at God’s right hand on high;
where like stars his children crowned
all in white shall wait around.

Lighting of the Christmas Candle

Opening prayer:

God our Father, today the Saviour is born
and those who live in darkness are seeing a great light.
Help us, who greet the birth of Christ with joy,
live in the light of your Son
and share the good news of your love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
the light who has come into the world.  Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

As we kneel with the shepherds before the newborn Christ-child,
let us open our hearts to God      Silence

Christ came in humility to share our lives: forgive our pride
Lord, have mercy.   Lord, have mercy.

Christ came with good news for all people: forgive our silence:
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Christ came in love to a world of suffering: forgive our self-centredness.
Lord, have mercy.   Lord, have mercy.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw us to himself
and cleanse us from all our sins,
that we may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
and carry his light in the world Amen

The collect
Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.  Amen.


A reading from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:2-7)

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

This is the word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

Carol: It came upon a midnight clear

It came upon the midnight clear, 
that glorious song of old, 
from angels bending near the earth 
to touch their harps of gold: 
“Peace on the earth, good will to men, 
from heaven’s all-gracious King.” 
The world in solemn stillness lay, 
to hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, 
whose forms are bending low, 
who toil along the climbing way 
with painful steps and slow, 
look now! for glad and golden hours 
come swiftly on the wing. 
O rest beside the weary road, 
and hear the angels sing!

For lo the days are hastening on, 
by prophet bards foretold, 
when with the ever-circling years 
comes round the age of gold; 
when peace shall over all the earth 
its ancient splendours fling, 
and the whole world send back the song 
which now the angels sing.

The Gospel Reading
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (Luke 2:8-14)

All   Glory to you, O Lord.

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. 10 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: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13 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!’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.  

Short Christmas address, with carol…

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by:
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting Light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still
the dear Christ enters in.
O holy child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel


Loving God, we bring to the manger this Christmas day
our yearning for justice for those who today go hungry,
our anguish for those who will spend today alone,

our tears for the exhausted, the grieving,
our heartfelt thanks for medical and care workers across the world

our longings for shelter and protection for refugees and victims of war,
our solidarity alongside those in places of darkness, danger, conflict, neglect.
We bring our love
for those we know who are ill,
for those we miss and long to be with today,

for those we love but see no longer.
We bring to the manger
our lives, our hopes, our prayers.

In the name of Jesus,
our Good Shepherd, Messiah, and King. Amen

Jesus, Saviour, child of Mary, you know us and love us,
you share our lives hear our prayers. Amen

Sharing God’s Peace

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,
and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace.
As we come together sharing in peace this Christmas morning,
we pray for peace in our world and in the lives of so many troubled around us.
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Carol: O Come all ye faithful

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!

God of God, Light of Light
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb
Very God
Begotten, not created

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God
All glory in the highest

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning
Jesus, to Thee be glory given
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

We depart safely for home, or, if seats pre-booked, move safely into church for Christmas Holy Communion

Please sit when you have entered the church

Carol Humming  only – O Little Town of Bethlehem vs 3 (choir sing only)

Word made flesh, life of the world,
in your incarnation you embraced our poverty:
by your Spirit may we share in your riches.  Amen

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Father, we give you thanks and praise
through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word,
through whom you have created all things;
who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.
By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh;
as your Son, born of the Mary,
he lived on earth and went about among us;
he opened wide his arms for us on the cross;
he put an end to death by dying for us;
and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life;
so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

Therefore with all the angels of heaven
we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name
in our joyful hymn of praise as we say

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. 
Life-giving God, as your Word became flesh and lived among us,
come among us now in the fullness of your grace and truth.
Make us holy as you are holy,  that your Word may become flesh anew today,
Send your Holy Spirit upon this bread and wine
and make them be for us the body and blood of Jesus.

Who at supper with his disciples, took bread, gave you thanks
he broke the bread, and gave it to them saying,
‘Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me’.
After supper he took the cup.
again he gave you thanks, and gave it to his disciples saying,
‘Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’. 
Great is the mystery of faith.
Christ has died;  Christ is risen;  Christ will come again.
Accept through him, our great high priest, this our sacrifice of thanks and praise
and as we eat and drink these holy gifts in the presence of your divine majesty,
renew us by your Spirit,
inspire us with your love
and unite us in the body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Blessing and honour and glory and power be yours for ever and ever.  Amen 
The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy 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.

We break this bread, to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread

Giving of Communion

So come, not because you are strong but because you are weak.
Come, because you love the Lord a little and want to love him more.
Come, because Christ loves you and gave his life for you.

The body of Christ broken for you   Amen

All are invited to come up with mask on and receive communion (the bread only), carefully consuming under your mask. Please sanitise your hands on the way & take extra care to remain 2m distance from others. Sadly no words can be spoken when giving or receiving Communion at present, and no words for a blessing either so please only come forward if you wish to receive the bread. All are welcome. 

Carols during Holy Communion played only
Prayer after Communion

God our Father, whose Word has come among us
in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
may the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord.   Amen. 

The Blessing

May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ-child
be yours this Christmas;
and the blessing of God almighty
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you this Christmas day and always.   Amen

Go in peace and joy, to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Carol Humming:  Hark the Herald Angels Sing  (choir only sing)

Please leave promptly without mingling, taking great care to wait until others are distant before going into the aisles, through the porch or out the west door.

Wishing you, amidst all, a
Blessed, peaceful, joyful Christmas
Christ is born among and within us

Go bearing Christ’s light, peace, and hope into your world

If you would like to donate to the life and work of St Mary’s Shalford, please donate online here:
or anytime via the special box built into the wall just inside St Mary’s church door. Thank you so much.

St Mary’s, Shalford – Christmas Services 2020

Usually we would be welcoming you all into the church for a bursting with life Christmas Eve nativity, a peace-filled candle-lit Midnight Mass, and an all age great celebration together on Christmas Day. This year, with everybody’s safety as our top priority, we have tried to offer all of these in slightly different ways:

St Mary’s Shalford Nativity: The Movie
showing on St Mary’s Youtube channel Christmas Eve & thereafter

11pm Christmas Eve candle-lit Midnight Mass

10am Christmas Day Family Communion

Don’t forget St Mary’s remains open everyday for peace and prayer and with Christmas trees until 6th January, and the Knitivity trail too.

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