27 December All is calm, all is bright

27 December All is calm, all is bright

All is calm, all is bright

Carol – Silent night
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born!

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,

John Freeman Young (1887) based on Joseph Mohr (1818)

Introduction
Sometimes there’s a Christmas moment of calm: before guests arrive, or perhaps after they’ve left!

When the angels departed, the shepherds had their moment of calm, to pause and think, before going to Bethlehem to see the baby. In the busyness of Christmas, it’s good to stop and reflect, and maybe notice something you’ve not seen before.

Reading – Luke 2.15-20
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.

Reflection
by Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani
It would be naive to think the stable scene was calm and serene. In reality it was a dirty, smelly barn where a woman had gone through the pains of labour alone and far from home.

It will have been noisy, chaotic, messy. Mary and Joseph are likely to have felt frightened and insecure. And yet, into this confusion came baby Jesus bringing the gift of God’s peace.

The incarnation is a constant reminder that Jesus, who is Emmanuel (“God is with us”), offers inner serenity and calm even in the most traumatic of our human experiences. To know that we are loved and accepted unconditionally – that we don’t always have to be in control – is God’s gift to each of us.

problems won’t be solved nor our lives made perfect. But God’s peace will carry us gently through the turbulence, if we just pause to recognise and feel it.

Guli Francis-Dehqani is the Bishop of Loughborough and Vice-Chair of the Board of Church Army.

Give
During the pandemic, many charities have seen their income fall at the same time as demands for their help have risen.

Can you take time today to research a charity, local or global, and sign up to support it?”

Pray
God of peace, in moments of calm and silence, you help us to pause and to see afresh. Give us grace to notice both the signs of your presence and the needs of others today. Amen.

Celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas with us, joining this service in partnership with Church Army.

“God is ever present, silently and patiently waiting, longing for us to respond once more to the gentle call of the Christ child.”

Family activity
What brings joy today?
Wider family who love us, grandparents, etc
Look at your Christmas cards. Find the ones that came from grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents. Thank God that they love and care for you and your family.
Who needs comfort today?
Families who cannot be together
Find a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces need to join together to complete it. Some families cannot be together this Christmas. As you put your puzzle together, ask God to be with families who have been separated during the holidays.