Responding to Covid  and Rain

 Please take common sense COVID precautions such as wearing face coverings indoors, keeping a social distance, washing hands and so on.  If you show symptoms of COVID, you should not attend.
You are encouraged to carry out lateral flow testing prior to the event and for four to five days after the event.
Please use the NHS QR code to help trace and stop the spread of COVID

And the Rain? I Let's move into the dry tonight,  and bring out the tealights for a slightly different but equally beautiful start to Christmas! 
Please try to arrive around 630 so we can get everyone seated and comfortably distanced, ready for a prompt 640 start.  

Running Order

Gathering together

This, tonight, is the meeting place of heaven and earth. For this, tonight, is the Manger where God keeps his long-standing appointment to meet his people.

We listen to the voices of the Ancient Prophets (recorded in Isaiah 9) and join our voices as we sing

SONG:  O Come O Come Emmanuel


O come Desire of nations bind
All peoples in one heart and mind
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace

Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

CCLI Song # 31982
John Mason Neale | Thomas Helmore
© Words: Public Domain Music: Public Domain


Encountering God in Word and Song

Confession, and receiving the gift of a fresh start in God’s strength

Restore us, O Lord, we pray,
bring us back to that place
where we first met,
as shepherds to the stable
hearing angels sing
or wise men looking for signs
of a coming king.
Lord, have mercy
All:     Lord, have mercy

Bring us back to that place
when our love was full of wonder,
and expressed itself in praise
to the one who sets us free.
Christ, have mercy
All:     Christ have mercy

Bring us back to that place
and restore us, O Lord, we pray
Lord, have mercy
All:     Lord have mercy.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw us to himself,
and cleanse us from all our sins
that we may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
All      Amen.

Preparing to meet The Voice who speaks of Light, Peace and Life

            Light looked down
            and saw darkness.
All:     ‘I will go there,’ said Light.

            Peace looked down
            and saw war.
All:     ‘I will go there,’ said Peace.

            Love looked down
            and saw hatred.
All:     ‘I will go there,’ said Love.

            So he, the Lord of Light,
            the Prince of Peace,
            the King of Love,
            came down and crept in beside us.

SONG: It came upon a midnight clear

1 It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
'Through all the earth, goodwill and peace
from heaven's all-gracious king!'
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.

2 With sorrow brought by sin and strife
the world has suffered long
and, since the angels sang, have passed
two thousand years of wrong:
the nations, still at war, hear not
the love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise and cease the strife,
to hear the angels sing!

3 And those whose journey now is hard,
whose hope is burning low,
who tread the rocky path of life
with painful steps and slow:
O listen to the news of love
which makes the heavens ring!
O rest beside the weary road
and hear the angels sing!
hear the angels sing!
Yey! Hear the angels sing!

4 And still the days are hastening on
by prophets seen of old
towards the fulness of the time
when comes the age foretold:
then earth and heaven renewed shall see
the prince of peace, their king;
and all the world repeat the song
which now the angels sing.

hear the angels sing!

Edmund Hamilton Sears | Jubilate Hymns
© Words: Public Domain Music: Public Domain


Reading from one of the Gospels

The reader introduces the reading as follows:
            This night Christ is born:
All:     alleluia.
            This night the Saviour has come:
All:     alleluia.
            This night the angels sing on earth:
All:     alleluia. Glory to God in the highest.

John 1: 1-18 is read from The Voice bible translation

Reflecting together:
what is at the heart of Christmas?

Including this poem:

Child of Bethlehem,
when your fingers
wrap themselves
round one of ours,
and your eyes
focus on our face,
you look for love in us:
love for friends,
for God and strangers,
love for the earth,
love for enemies,
love that says
“yes” to life.
Ruth Burgess published in Winter p.165


We listen to our musicians’ recording of In the Bleak Midwinter, interwoven with poetry
Feel free to sing along, simply listen and reflect, or join in the suggested symbolic action

When those first visitors came to you, Lord,
They brought gifts to lay at your feet.
but it was they who left the richer
or having seen you.

Our gifts are not those of kings
but we offer them now
 with that same awe and expectation
believing they, and we, may be worthy
 to be used for your work in the world.
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen snow on snow
Snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long ago
Our God heav'n cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain
Heav'n and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ
we are not wise as we would like to be,
yet we offer you ourselves,
all that has gone before and all that lies ahead, in your service.
as we lay what we have
and what we are before you,
may our eyes look heavenward,
may our hearts rise in expectation
and may we, together,
be instruments of change and bringers of light in places of need.
in Jesus name we pray.Amen
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air
But His mother only
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss

What can I give Him
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
Yet what can I give Him
Give my heart
CCLI Song # 294736
Christina Georgina Rossetti | Gustav Theodore Holst
© Words: Public Domain Music: Public Domain

“Those first visitors” written by . Tina Kemp of  Spill the Beans, published in Winter p 291

Joining in the Church’s prayer for tonight

All:     Eternal God,
          in the stillness of this night
          you sent your almighty Word
          to pierce the world's darkness
          with the light of salvation:
          give to the earth
          the peace that we long for
          and fill our hearts
          with the joy of heaven
          through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.         Amen


Lighting the last candle on the wreath

We light the final candle on our advent wreath to mark the coming moment when Christmas Eve tips into Christmas Day and the long-promised Emmanuel comes at last. 
All:     Make our hearts ready
To love and welcome you.
Be born again
Not in a manger
But in us.

Affirming the faith of the church

Equal with God: Jesus is Lord
Emptied himself:Jesus is Lord
Came as a slave:Jesus is Lord
Found as a man:Jesus is Lord
Humbly obeyed:Jesus is Lord
Went to his death:Jesus is Lord
Death on a cross:Jesus is Lord

(getting louder)
God raised him up:Jesus is Lord
Gave him the name:Jesus is Lord
Higher than all:Jesus is Lord
Every knee bow:Jesus is Lord
All tongues confess:Jesus is Lord
Words: Michael Perry © Mrs B Perry / Administered by The Jubilate Group, 4 Thorne Park Road, Torquay TQ2 6RX, UK used by permission

Encountering God through Communion

The Great Thanksgiving Prayer

The Lord is here
All:     His Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
All:     We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks
to the Lord our God.
All:     It is right to give thanks and praise.
All glory and honour be yours always …
Therefore with all the angels of heaven we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name and sing our joyful hymn of praise: 
All:     Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

The story of the Last Supper is retold
We share in the Mystery of Faith

Christ has died
All:     Christ has died: 
Christ is risen
All:      Christ is risen:
Christ will come again
All:     Christ will come again.

…we worship you, Father almighty, in songs of everlasting praise:  

SONG: O Come let us adore him

O come, let us adore him (x3)
Christ the Lord!

We’ll give you all the glory (x3)
Christ the Lord!

For You alone are worthy (x3)
Christ the Lord!
after J F Wade, F Oakeley and others

Joining in the Lord’s Prayer

All:     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.

Breaking of the bread

We break the bread of life,
and that life is the light of the world.
All:     God here among us,
light in the midst of us,
bring us to light and life.

            Jesus Christ is here for you.
            Draw near with faith
            let Christ be born in you.

[Communion is shared in silence]

A prayer after communion

Shout for joy the whole earth,
and everything within.
All:     For Light has come into the world.
The mountains sing, the seas resound to the praise of your name.
All:     Salvation once promised
is here on earth.

The angels' song rings in the air,
 a child has been born.
All:     Hallelujah! The Saviour of the world
is here. Amen


SONG: O Come All Ye Faithful

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels
O come let us adore Him (x3)
Christ the Lord

God of God
Light of light
Lo He abhors not the virgin's womb
Very God
Begotten not created

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above
Glory to God
In the highest

Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be glory given
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

O come let us adore Him...

We’ll give him all the Glory…

For he alone is worthy…
CCLI Song # 4758525
C. Frederick Oakeley | John Francis Wade | William Henry Monk
© Words: Public Domain Music: Public Domain

Blessing and sending

A blessing is shared, and we respond:

Happy Christmas!
Go in the peace of Christ.
And celebrate his birth among us.
All:     Glory, thanks and praise to God
With thanks to the musicians of Pathfinder Church Northstowe for recording O Come O Come Emmanuel (words and music, public domain), and In the Bleak Midwinter (words by Christina Georgina Rossetti , words and music public domain), and to Engage Worship for the Carols: It came upon a midnight clear text E H Sears Tune Arthur Sulivan, public domain, this recording © Geraldine Latty and Carey Luce; and O Come All Ye Faithful, text and tune John Francis Wade, trans Frederick Oakeley, public domain, this recording © 2020 Sam, Sara and Theo Hargreaves for engageworship, all brass by Dan Warwick.
Includes material adapted from ‘The Feast is Ready to Begin’ © 2009, Rachel Nichols. ; ’Cloth for the Cradle’ 1997 ©Wild Goose Worship Publications . Winter © 2016 Ruth Burgess Common Worship: Times and Seasons © 2006, Archbishop’s Council; with Eucharistic Prayer A © Archbishops’ Council 2000.  Bible Readings from The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved
The poems shared tonight come from the collection "Winter" edited by Ruth Burgess and published by Wild Goose Publications.
If you would like to share this service with others who could not join us tonight, please use this link
PATHFINDER CHURCH NORTHSTOWE are delighted to be able to join with the wider community at the Winter Festival in NorthstoweFind out about all the festive events happening in Northstowe at

If you have enjoyed this event and would like to made a donation to the ongoing work of Pathfinder Church Northstowe as we seek to help build community here in Northstowe by praying, exploring and sharing, you can give online here.

Still to come this Christmas in Northstowe


25th December (Christmas Morning): 9.30-11.30am Community Breakfast with Carols and more.

Sign up to our weekly ENews to stay up to date: