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Christmas Day 2022

Updated: Jan 19

May your Christmas be just as exciting and as relaxing as you need. And may you find and share hope, peace, joy and love in the coming year.


Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 2:1-12 (NIV)
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 Saviour 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 favour 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.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Our advent series has seen us reflect on themes of Promise, Praise, Presents and Pause, and now we have reached the Party. Every birth is a celebration for those who have waited for and love the child, but this birth is a celebration for everyone, good news of great joy for all the people, as the angel declared. We have already heard how the invitation was extended to the shepherds and the magi, the poor and the stranger, and it is extended to us too, whoever we are and however we have responded before now. Now if this is a party then we should be having some fun, and so I have some party games based around our advent themes.

 

Pass the parcel - unwrapping God's promises. Each layer has a chocolate coin and a verse from scripture with a promise from God. It is good for us to remember these promises and to 'unwrap' what they mean in our own lives.

 

Charades - acting out God's praise. We'll take it in turns to act out a Christmas carol for the congregation to guess. Words are great but it is also good for us to use our whole bodies and indeed our whole lives to praise God.

 

Scavenger hunt - finding God's presents. There will be four presents hidden around the church. Each will represent a gift from God - hope, peace, joy and love.

 

Musical statues - dwelling in God's pause. Dancing while the music plays then standing statue still when it stops, with the last person to move winning a chocolate angel. Pause is as important as action in allowing us to reflect on and respond to the Christmas story.

 

It may seem frivolous to be here playing party games when there is such struggle and sorrow in the world. Perhaps serious times call for a more serious message. But such frivolity can be a direct response rather than a distraction. Hope and peace and joy and love are radical and vital responses to a bruised and broken world, and we should be creating all the space for them that we can. Jesus came into a world with as much struggle and sorrow as our own, to transform that world and ours with a message of hope and peace and joy and love. May we do likewise, and may we do it in ways that lift our spirits and the spirits of those around us.


Nativity created by the Messy Church community at this year's Messy Church Does Christmas





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