ST. MAXENTIUS WORSHIP AT HOME – Sunday 18th December Advent 4

Good morning and I hope this finds you well, today in church we are having our Carol Service at 9.30 followed by mulled wine and mince pies. Christmas really has come around very quickly and attached to this email are the team services throughout the festive period.

The children will be doing their nativity on Wednesday during the children’s service and they are all dressing up as one of the characters or even 10 of the characters!

Our gospel today looks at the Angel’s visit to Joseph, Peter has done the reflection and the intercessions are by myself.

Jan B.


Our Lord says “surely I come quickly” Even so’ Come, Lord Jesus – Revelation 22.20

Almighty God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


 Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly; love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon

and peace, now and forever. Amen.


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.


God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son:

grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour, so we may be ready to greet him

when he comes again as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


ISAIAH 7. 10-16

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord

MATTHEW 1: 18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ 

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ


As we read Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus almost all the emphasis is on Joseph, there is the fact that he had not had intercourse with Mary, there is the appearance of the angel to him, but the heart of this is that the child must take a certain name Jesus – “God saves”.

Matthew then points us to a passage from Isaiah 7, where we find another name given, though not one that Jesus used himself – Emmanuel – “God with us”. Both these names are full of meaning and importance.

It took the early church several centuries to develop its theology of Incarnation, of Trinity, and to sift what it believed from the various other views, some of which made Jesus a great human being but not God, or even a human who was adopted by God, others which said Jesus was fully God, but not really human, almost a God in disguise. For Jewish people how could their core faith in one God accept that Jesus was truly God?

Here in this narrative from Matthew we see the beginnings of Trinitarian understanding, with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God; we see a simple expression of the Incarnation – God with us; we see a narrative way to say this child is both God and human.

In today’s world these two names – Jesus and Emmanuel – are very relevant. The world of Jesus was the world of Herod, and life was not secure. There are modern Herods and our lives feel more vulnerable now than they have for many years. Incarnation says God is with us in this real world, not in some fantasy place. Emmanuel! And when we see damage and destruction, the impact of individual sin, systemic failings and injustices, war, national greed and selfishness, how much do we need to know that God is the Rescuer / Saviour. As St John puts it – God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John’s gospel is almost certainly written a bit later and here we see John deepening the theological insights.

Our danger is that we have heard the stories, especially a composite story of Matthew and Luke, such that we lose the depth; let us allow Matthew to tell his story, and hear the words of the angel, and reflect on the words of the prophet and know that this is God’s plan and God’s purpose.

Rev Peter



Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father, who created all things;

For by his will they were created and have their being.

We believe in God the Son who was slain;

For his blood, he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit;

The spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Even so come Lord Jesus! Amen.


Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.

Lord ever with us, help your church to proclaim your presence and your saving power. May we seek to do your will and help to bring in your kingdom. As we give thanks for Joseph, we give thanks for all men and women of vision and all who have dedicated their lives to your service. We ask your blessing on all ministry and lay ministry teams in our mission community. Guide all who serve you quietly in their lives. We remember especially all who struggle to serve you while surrounded by difficult circumstances and opposition.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We remember in your presence all who are oppressed by tyranny or evil. We pray for those who have been driven out of their homes and separated from loved ones. We ask your blessing on all who suffer from poverty or hunger and all who ae caught up in war or live in fear of terrorism.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for our homes and our loved ones, we pray for all families getting ready for Christmas and especially for those who are struggling emotionally and financially. We pray for homes where there is little love and those that are lonely. May we remember the struggle the Holy Family had in even finding a place of shelter.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord you are with when it is dark. We ask your blessing upon all who are ill, in pain or in fear. We pray for those ill at home or in hospital. We remember those who feel life has little meaning and have lost their way.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We give thanks that in you life is eternal and we ask your blessing on our loved ones departed and from our book of remembrance. Jack Yates, Elizabeth Wells, Henry Bissett and Jessie Abraham.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.


May God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy, and keep us safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit be with us and those who we love for ever more. Amen.


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