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         St Clement Church Community Christmas 1 Service

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate this said service of Christmas 1 together in our own homes.  I hope you enjoyed your Christmas Day!

May Christ’s love sustain you always.

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray;

God in Trinity, eternal unity of perfect love: gather the nations to be one family, and draw us into your holy life through the birth of Emmanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Hear the words of the angel to Joseph: ‘You shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.’ Therefore let us seek forgiveness from God through Jesus the Saviour of the world:

 

Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, forgive our unwelcoming hearts…

Lord, have mercy.

 

Jesus, Son of God, Servant of humanity, forgive our self-centred lives…

Christ, have mercy.

 

Jesus, Prince of Peace, Hope of the nations, forgive our bitter conflicts…

Lord, have mercy.

May our Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for today

Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ: grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so may we share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Readings:

1 Samuel 2. 18-20, 26

Colossians 3. 12-17

 

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Luke 2. 41-end

 

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

Now every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’

But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.

His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.

Reflection

Christmas is traditionally a time to gather with families. Parents and children, in-laws and outlaws; we gather with the ones we love, and exchange hugs, gifts and joy.

And there’s no doubt about it, during these troubled pandemic times our Christmas festivities are saddened by the fact that we’re not able to celebrate in the way that we did in the past.  Because next to the birth of our Saviour, the greatest thing that happens at Christmas, is sharing our time with family and friends.

Such earlier gatherings in our family were often quite chaotic, trying to keep an eye on all the excited children running around on a sugar high.  I can remember one such time at my daughter Susan’s house, when it appeared that one of the children had gone missing.  A frantic search ensured, why, I don’t know, but said small child was found asleep behind the sofa…..

I was reminded of that event by our Gospel reading, because Mary and Joseph must have experienced triple-fold the sheer panic that happened at Susan’s, the thought of a lost child.

On the first Christmas, when the census had been completed in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph packed up their infant son and returned the 80 miles or so to Nazareth.

Day by day, the child grew. He probably attended school. He went with Joseph to the synagogue on the Sabbath. When he was old enough, he learned the carpentry trade from his father.

And on festival days, as required by Jewish tradition, Joseph and Jesus would travel to Jerusalem to worship God, but being a devout family, Mary would go as well, they’d travel and worship as a family.

So this is where we find them in this morning’s gospel lesson. Two days ago, Jesus was born in the manger, and today he is 12 years old and has gone with his family to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.

There was food, celebration and reunion. And after a couple of days of partying, the group of people with which they had travelled turned back toward Nazareth.

On the way home, Mary began looking for Jesus. “Joseph, is Jesus with you?” “No, I thought he was with you!” They frantically searched the crowd but Jesus was nowhere to be found.

The next morning, they retraced their steps, looking throughout Jerusalem for their adolescent son. Finally, they found him in the temple with the rabbis and teachers.

Legend tells us that Jesus was there, a 12-year-old boy, teaching the scholars. But Luke doesn’t say he was teaching; Luke says Jesus was “listening to the teachers, and asking them questions.” This is how Jews traditionally pass on their faith, by encouraging their children ask questions.

A Jewish friend told me that when he was a child, every day when he came home from school, his father would say “Did you ask any good questions today, David?” We usually said to our children; “What did you learn in school today?” But Jewish parents say “What questions did you ask?” So Jesus was asking the rabbis questions, something his parents taught him to do.

We often think Jesus turned out the way he did because he was the Son of God; that he divinely learned how to read and write, how to say “please” and “thank you.”

We tend to think Jesus grew up in a vacuum, without the benefit of a mum and a dad who taught and trained him, and maybe even grounded him a time or two. Our Roman Catholic friends think we Church of England folk don’t give enough honour to Mary, and that’s probably true. Joseph as well. They taught Jesus lessons, they were role models for him, and trained him in the way he should go. Of course they did; they were his parents.

But for Mary and Joseph, like us, the time passed way too quickly. One day, Jesus was a child in a manger…another day, he was a 12-year-old asking questions in the temple. One day, Mary watched him playing with his friends…another day she watched him die on the cross.

This week, we celebrate Christmas and the birth of a Saviour…in just ten weeks we will enter the Season of Lent and consider the death of a Saviour.

The phrase; “fast forward” comes to mind, time passes, just like that.

So what lesson do we need to glean from this gospel text that stands before us today? Do we need to stop trying to fast forward our lives and learn that we should enjoy each day of our life to the fullest, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds?

Or maybe we need to be reminded of the tremendous responsibility we have in raising children. Everything we do, and everything we say…little ears and eyes are listening, watching and emulating us.

Like it or not, we are role models for children.

And just because we may not have children living under our roof, it doesn’t mean we’re off the hook.  As the church, the Family of God, we’re accountable for all the children we know. 

After all, God not only placed these children in the homes they’re found in, but God also placed them among us. 

In a very Christian sense, we can say it may take a community to raise a child; but it takes the Church, the Family of God, to raise a faithful adult. 

And as the Church family, we’re all about encouraging growth and asking questions; we’re all about the development of independent thinking and faithful actions.

In the boy Jesus we see faithful growth in wisdom, stature, and divine and human favour, largely due to his family upbringing, and we want the same for the children we know, don’t we? 

We certainly want to see them grow in wisdom!

So, may we, like Mary and Joseph, model the faith for children by our lives and worship, and above, be examples of the love of God which holds everything together. Amen.

 

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Our Intercessions this week are taken from the book: Times and Seasons

Let us pray to our incarnate Lord, who has brought us out of darkness and into his own marvellous light.

Christ born for us, Son of God given for us: help us to know you, to worship and to serve you…

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

Wonderful counsellor, you order all things with your wisdom: help the Church to reveal the mystery of your love and fill her with the Spirit of truth…

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness…

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Everlasting Father: you call us to live together in unity: protect by your mercy all your children, bless our families and renew our communities…

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Prince of peace, you bring reconciliation through the cross: by your healing power give to all who suffer your gift of wholeness and peace…

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, full of the Spirit, hear our prayer, receive our praises, and fill our lives.  Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus 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.

 

 

The Peace

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and his name shall be called the Prince of Peace. May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.

 

 

Blessing

May Christ the Son of God, born of Mary, fill us with his grace to trust his promises and obey his will;  and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 22nd December 2021 4:46 PM