First Sunday after Christmas, 27th December 2020


You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.

All are requested to join in wherever text is GREEN

Child in the manger, infant of Mary;
Outcast and stranger, Lord of all;
Child who inherits all our transgressions,
All our demerits on him fall.

Once the most holy child of salvation
Gently and lowly lived below;
Now as our glorious mighty Redeemer,
See him victorious o’er each foe.

Prophets foretold him, infant of wonder;
Angels behold him on his throne;
Worthy our Saviour of all their praises;
Happy for ever are his own.

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen


From Easter to Pentecost:

Allelulia. Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia


In Lent and other penitential occasions:

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;

His mercy endures for ever.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

 Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

The Collect of the day:

The priest now says the Collect for the day:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 61:10-62:3

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.

The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Response is now said by the congregation

Psalm 147:13-21

Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem; *
praise your God, O Zion;

For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; *
he has blessed your children within you.

He has established peace on your borders; *
he satisfies you with the finest wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth, *
and his word runs very swiftly.

He gives snow like wool; *
he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.

He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; *
who can stand against his cold?

He sends forth his word and melts them; *
he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.

20 He declares his word to Jacob, *
his statutes and his judgments to Israel.

He has not done so to any other nation; *
to them he has not revealed his judgments.

Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

All stand for the Acclamation and Gospel reading.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

A hallowed day has dawned upon us.

Come, ye nations, worship the Lord, for today a great light has shone down upon the earth. 


The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

After the Gospel reading

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

Today is the first Sunday of Christmas, and we have all woken up,  haven’t we, with nothing on our minds other than celebrating the coming of Christ incarnate, thanking God for becoming human and living alongside us, and celebrating the incarnation of God to save us – and the world – through a love beyond exception!

When we celebrate Christmas, it feels good to cosy up to the Incarnation, to think about soft baby cheeks, cute coos and to forget about the complexity of the place where Jesus was born: the smell of manure and feed, the terror and pain of childbirth, the stress and anxiety of travel, the fear and hopelessness of oppression by politics and poverty. Today, especially at the end of a horrendous year for us all, locally, nationally, and globally, we may feel particularly drawn to twinkling pine trees, cheery music, and lovingly-given gifts in the Christmas season, and choose to forget about the harshness of the world in which Jesus lived!

We might also reflect on our own terror, anxiety, sickness, and grief, and think to ourselves… did it even work? Did Christmas come?  Is Jesus really present—did Jesus’ life and mission even make an impact on the world today?  Is Christmas just an excuse for a party—or is it always winter and never Christmas around here?  Is it possible to think about hope, unconditional love and redemption in a time such as this?  Maybe Jesus came, but couldn’t really save us from ourselves, or from each other.

Sometimes, it may seem that if we just do everything right, if we can just be better, then we’ll get ahead, we’ll be happier, more loved, more worthy, and things will get easier. If only we could make the right decisions, choose the best and most efficient path, then our worries would cease, strife would end, and all would be healed and protected!

This is an easy trap to fall into as Christians, as well.  We might think: if we could only follow God’s commandments, we would go to heaven. If we could only follow Jesus’ example, all of our pain would go away. If we could only stop sinning, we would be loved. The Hebrew Bible in particular often reads like an anthology of laws, some of which are laws to distinguish the followers of God – the chosen people – from others.  Many of the first followers of Christ – and Jesus himself – were Jews, who were familiar with these laws and their interpretations. In reality, the many legal requirements were probably more like ideals, not norms, but that context is important as we read Paul’s letter to the Galatians. At that time, Paul had recently converted a number of Gentiles to Christ, in the region of Galatia. Soon after, other missionaries arrived on the scene, and insisted that believers must follow all the parts of the Jewish law in order to be fully right before God. Law and order—a dangerous perspective in any context—was an obscenity to Paul, who thought that the legalism, which centred on the argument about circumcision, was an affront to God, and a rejection of the justification God provided through Jesus Christ. One interpretation is that the law acted as a disciplinarian, to keep God’s children on the right path until the arrival of Christ. At no point, however, was the law meant to put a person into good standing before God.

This is what Paul means when he writes that we are justified by faith, not action. It’s not a matter of following a set of rules, and, if you check them all off, you’re a paragon. The word ‘justified’ is not the same as being loved, being saved, or being smug. To be justified is to be in a right relationship with God, especially in times of crisis. Christ’s coming has not changed our relationship with God, and it hasn’t changed the need for right relationships. Instead, the coming of Christ, our brother, has elevated our relationship with God, confirming us as God’s children through our faith, and not our actions!

The relationship between God and humanity has a long history, and one which continues still.  Today’s Psalm is a post-exilic song praising God, the Redeemer of Israel, who restored the exiles and rebuilt Jerusalem. That restoration re-establishes the covenantal relationship between God and his people – the return to a right relationship after a tough season of despair and isolation.

Our 1st Reading from Isaiah, also written at the end of the Babylonian Exile, similarly affirms the love of God through hard times. It’s written to people who were despondent, those who were currently living in exile, or who had finally left it. Think about the stress, fear, anxiety, and sickness they must have experienced!  The scripture reminds the people that the God of Israel is still powerful and still loyal. Only one God is the true God, and God alone has created the world and brings redemption.  It might feel like we’ve been in exile this dreadful year as well – isolated in our homes, as injustice, illness and hate surround us, stressed out about money, violence, politics and the pandemic.  We, like the Children of Israel, also need reminding that God created the world, is with us in it, and brings redemption. Christmas is not only a season to celebrate a baby’s birthday but also the same thing we celebrate at Easter: God’s unimaginable, inexplicable love for us, no matter how much we mess up!

The Gospel of John, with its poetic and mysterious language, leaves much room for interpretation, including ones that can resonate with us today. The very first sentence is about the beginning of time. The ‘Word’ used here is from the Greek ‘logos’ and can be translated as ‘a word which embodies an idea.’  ‘Embodiment’ brings to mind incarnation, flesh, and humanness. Therefore, one could (and many do) interpret the use of this word, ‘logos’, or ‘the Word’, to symbolize Jesus – the one who was with God before creation is that same Jesus on Earth. God has been with us since before life began, and Jesus has been alongside God since the beginning, and will certainly not abandon us now! The season of Christmas gives us an opportunity to celebrate the God who has come alongside us at this particular moment in time, as we come together to celebrate Jesus’ birth, and journey to adulthood. Jesus was with the animals in the stable. Jesus was with the women at the tomb. Jesus was at the creation of the universe, and Jesus is here with us today!

Perhaps on this 1st Sunday of Christmas, we need the bright moments of the story, but possibly we relate more to the stress, and oppression that is the true story of the life of Christ. The real miracle today and every day is that Christ is with us in all of it. Through the Incarnation – God somehow made fully divine and fully human – God has said, “I am with you.” Nothing we do, no mistakes we will ever make, or rules we break, can separate us from the love of God. To be in a right relationship is to seek God in all of our lives—no matter just how messy it gets!    Amen.

Please stand for the Nicene Creed.

Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

and became truly human.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

Let us pray for the world and for the Church:

Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us

At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:

Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.

Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.

Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The congregation stands.

We are the Body of Christ.

His Spirit is with us.


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Please greet each other with a sign of peace.

Unto us a boy is born!
King of all creation,
Came he to a world forlorn,
The Lord of every nation.
The Lord of every nation.

Cradled in a stall was he
With sleepy cows and asses;
But the very beasts could see
That he all men surpasses.
That he all men surpasses.

This did Herod sore affray,
And grievously bewilder,
So he gave the word to slay,
And slew the little childer.
And slew the little childer.

Now may Mary’s son, who came
So long ago to love us,
Lead us all with hearts aflame
Unto the joys above us.
Unto the joys above us.

Omega and Alpha he!
Let the organ thunder,
While the choir with peals of glee
Doth rend the air asunder.
Doth rend the air asunder.


Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.

Blessed be God forever.

 Let us pray

We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.  Amen.


The Lord be with you.

and also with you.

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 blessed Virgin, 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.

Proper Preface

Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:

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.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, 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.


And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.


Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught us:

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.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

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.

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;

Happy are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.


After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say


Let us pray.

Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. 

Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.

Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Jesus, good above all other,
Gentle Child of gentle Mother,
In a stable born our Brother,
Give us grace to persevere.

Jesus, cradled in a manger,
For us facing every danger,
Living as a homeless stranger,
Make we thee our King most dear.

Jesus, who our sorrows bearest,
All our thoughts and hopes thou sharest,
Thou to man the truth declarest;
Help us all thy truth to hear.

Lord, in all our doing guide us;
Pride and hate shall ne’er divide us;
We’ll go on with thee beside us,
And with joy we’ll persevere! 

NOTE: The introductory music is 2 Christmas Chorale Preludes by Bach


Here is the music for this week’s hymns, if you would like to practice beforehand.

Performed by Fr. David Price