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Christmas services at the Parish Church of St Stephen & St Agnes
Parish Christmas Lunch. 8 December 2019 12.15pm NB Sung Eucharist at later time of 11am today
Nativity Service. 9 December 2019, 6 p.m with Trinity St Stephen's First School.
Carol concert. 15 December 2019, 3 p.m. Quire Voices.
Carol concert. 19 December 2019, 8 p.m. Voci singers.
Crib service. 24 December 2019, 3 p.m.
Midnight Mass, 24 December 2019, 11.30 p.m.
All Age Eucharist, 25 December 2019, 10 a.m.
Said Eucharist for St Stephen's Day, 26 December 2019, 10 a.m. followed by festive treats
Sunday 29 December, 10 a.m. Combined service at Windsor Parish Church of St John the Baptist, High Street, Windsor.
Sunday 10 a.m. Sung Eucharist. Common Worship (1 hour).
Sunday 10 a.m. All Age Eucharist. First Sunday of the month (1 hour).
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. Eucharist. (No Tuesday service on 24th or 31st December 2019)
Room in the inn?
In a traditional Nativity Play there is always a part for the innkeeper. The gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus was born in the busyness of Bethlehem at census time and laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. We are not told why there was no room in the inn. Was it fully booked or were Mary and Joseph not wanted there? There would have been many extra visitors in town because of the census and they would all have needed somewhere to sleep. Mary and Joseph arrived after an 80 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They would have been travelling for many days, stopping along the route at wayside inns. They would have looked tired, dishevelled and desperate. And Mary was heavily pregnant. Think for a moment of the faces of the refugees we have seen so often on our TV screens this year.
What would you have done if you had been the innkeeper? Would you have found room in the inn for Mary and Joseph and risked the imminent birth of a baby and all the mess and fuss that that would cause? Or would you have said there was no room inside and pointed instead to an outbuilding?
The innkeeper didn’t know that it was God’s son he was making room for when he suggested the stable round the back of his inn.
When we are busy and when the concerns of our daily life press in around us, perhaps it can seem hard to make room for Christ. It is not that you deliberately close the door to him; it is just that he doesn’t fit into to your overcrowded life. There simply isn’t space for him.
If you are in that place where you feel there isn’t room for Jesus, perhaps ask yourself how you might be able to find room. There will be room. There is room in all of our hearts to consider again the Christmas story and to wonder what the events of that first Christmas might mean for us. And even in the busiest of lives there is room to celebrate the birth of Jesus, at some time, somewhere, in the yearly remembrance of his birth. Why not find room this Christmas? It’s a good place to start. But remember that Christ is not just for Christmas. In finding room, you may well discover that your life is transformed as you go forward through Christmas into the New Year and beyond.
May the joy and peace of knowing Christ be with you this Christmastide and always.
The Reverend Canon Sally Lodge
Come join us!
You are welcome to join us at St Stephen and St Agnes, regardless of race or gender or sexuality. We are part of the Church of England and our worship style is modern catholic: this means the service uses contemporary English, but still has ritual and incense (‘smells and bells’). Services finish with Fairtrade tea and coffee, or a glass of sherry if that is what you prefer. There is a Fairtrade stall selling a variety of goods from Traidcraft (chocolate, biscuits, tea, coffee, rice, Christmas cards later in the year, etc.)
There are areas in the church that make it easy for parents with prams or people in wheelchairs to join the worship. Our congregation age ranges from babies to 98-year-olds. On the first Sunday of the month, we have a family service with home-baked cakes. Study and discussion groups are available throughout the year with special courses run during Advent and Lent.
We are committed to safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults. The parochial church council has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website. Our Parish Safeguarding Representative is Laura Betteridge and she may be contacted at church or by email.