The First Sunday of Christmas – Reflection by Canon Leslie


Join us for worship online and read Canon Leslie's blog post for Sunday, 27 December 2020.

Today is both the First Sunday of Christmas and the Feast of John, Apostle and Evangelist. The Gospel reading at today’s service for the Feast of John is taken from the very last verses of John’s Gospel (John 21: 19b-end) that speaks of ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.

The background to today’s service is also shaped by the Gospel for Christmas Day, Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus that gives prominence to the shepherds. The birth of Jesus went neither unnoticed nor uncelebrated, because the shepherds were there to pay homage. In the Christmas tradition, the shepherds have come to represent the ordinary people of first century Palestine, people whose lives the Saviour was born to change. For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for the service on Christmas Day and for the service on the First Sunday of Christmas, I invited you to focus on the image of the shepherds. As we place the shepherds around the manger and around the Christ child in our own homes, we see ourselves standing there among the shepherds, having travelled with them to Bethlehem and with the song of the heavenly host, praising God, ringing in our ears:

Glory to God in the highest heaven

and on earth peace among those whom God favours!

In today’s picture, from their book Christmas crib service, Aled and Sian have brought their sheep with them to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child.

Next week on the Second Sunday of Christmas we are anticipating the Feast of the Epiphany. It is Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus that draws the magi (often translated as the wise men) to worship the Christ child. The image to help us prepare for the Feast of the Epiphany this year is Christmas journey. You can find out more about that theme here We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials. Please send us your ideas and photos of the things you may create; email them to

To find out more about Christmas Crib Service and other adventures with Aled and Sian, please visit the following page of the St. Mary’s Centre website:

We warmly invite you to join us in worship with our Service for Christmas Day:

Aled and Sian send their Christmas greetings to all.

Canon Leslie