Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion

Reflecting on the Gift of Hope
Hush – Lucinda Hynett

Sssh.
Can you hear it?
An expectant silence,
a hushed anticipation,
as if the very galaxy
is holding its breath.
There are some truths
even the stars know,
like darkness,
like loneliness
and how the night
can be a living thing.
And how once, long ago,
the night waited in wonder
along with the darkness
and the loneliness,
for the sound of a baby’s cry,
for the miraculous
to come down
to the earth mundane.

This is the time again,
when the world in silence waits.

Scripture Isaiah 9:2-7
2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Response:
One: This is new hope for our world.
All: Let us live into this hope.

Reflecting on the Gift of Peace
The Moment of Magic – Victoria E. Safford

Now is the moment of magic,
when the whole, round earth turns again
toward the sun, and here’s a blessing:
the days will be longer and brighter now,
even before the winter settles in to chill us.
Now is the moment of magic,
when people beaten down and broken,
with nothing left but misery and candles and their own clear voices,
kindle tiny lights and whisper secret music,
and here’s a blessing:
the dark universe is suddenly illuminated by the lights of the menorah,
suddenly ablaze with the lights of the kinara,
and the whole world is glad and loud with winter singing.
Now is the moment of magic,
when an eastern star beckons the ignorant toward an unknown goal,
and here’s a blessing:
they find nothing in the end but an ordinary baby,
born at midnight, born in poverty, and the baby’s cry, like bells ringing,
makes people wonder as they wander through their lives,
what human love might really look like,
sound like, feel like.
Now is the moment of magic,
and here’s a blessing:
we already possess all the gifts we need;
we’ve already received our presents:
ears to hear music, eyes to behold lights,
hands to build true peace on earth
and to hold each other tight in love.
Scripture Psalm 27 – James Taylor

In the darkness of the night I lie awake
And tremble
But with the dawn fears fade away
When I can see with my own eyes
That there is nothing to be afraid of
Why should I fear?
If I could see with God’s eyes
I would know I have nothing to fear…

I have only one goal in life
I want to be a part of your family, God,
I want to look along the festive table
And touch the bonds of kinship
With my cousins, my ancestors, my descendants
Within that family I can feel safe…

When I was small, you took me into your home,
You took me for your very own…

Response:
One: This is new peace for our world.
All: Let us live into this peace.

Reflecting on the Gift of Joy – Ann Weems

Into this silent night
as we make our weary way
we know not where,
just when the night becomes its darkest
and we cannot see our path,
just then
is when the angels rush in,
their hands full of stars

Scripture Luke 2:8-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

Response:
One: This is new joy for our world.
All: Let us live into this joy.

Reflecting on the Gift of Love
The Iona Community

When the world was dark and the city was quiet, you came. You crept in beside us.

And no one knew.
Only the few who dared to believe
that God might do something different.

Will you do the same this Christmas, Lord?

Will you come into the darkness of tonight’s world;
not the friendly darkness as when sleep rescues us from tiredness, but the fearful darkness,
in which people have stopped believing
that war will end
or that food will come
(or that vaccines will come…and that the people will take them)
or that a government will change
or that the Church cares?

Will you come into that darkness and do something
different to save your people from death and despair?

Will you come into the quietness of this town,
not the friendly quietness
as when lovers hold hands,
but the fearful silence when
the phone has not rung
the letter has not come,
the friendly voice no longer speaks,
the doctor’s face says it all?

Will you come into that darkness,
and do something different,
not to distract, but to embrace your people?

And will you come into the dark corners
and the quiet places of our lives?

We ask this not because we are guilt-ridden
or want to be,
but because the fullness our lives long for
depends upon us being as open and vulnerable to you as you were to us, when you came,
wearing no more than diapers,
and trusting human hands to hold their maker.
Will you come into our lives, if we open them to you
and do something different?

When the world was dark and the city was quiet
you came. You crept in beside us.

Do the same this Christmas, Lord.
Do the same this Christmas. Amen

Response:
One: This is new love for our world.
All: Let us live into this love.

Reflecting on the Gift of Jesus Circles of grace
Keri Wehlander.

Holy One:
We live at mystery’s edge,
Watching for a startling luminescence
Or a word to guide us.
In fragile occurrences
You present yourself
And we must pause to meet you.

Daily, there are glimmers,
Reflections of a seamless mercy
Revealed in common intricacies.

These circles of grace
Spill out around us
And announce that we are a part of you.

Response:
One: This is new life for our world.
All: For we are a part of the light of Jesus – now and forever.

Sharing the Sacrament of Holy Communion

One: God spoke in the beginning;
out of darkness came night and day,
out of emptiness came creation,
out of loneliness came humankind.
And God said, “This is very good.”

God spoke when the world was troubled;
giving voice to prophets from the earliest days,
moving through Mary as she gave birth to her child,
crying as a vulnerable baby lying in a manger.
Still God said, “This is very good.”

God speaks today;
breathing energy into our weary lives,
challenging our celebrations and sharing our pain,
dancing with songs of justice and peace.
Now we know that, “This is very good.”

God speaks in this moment;
when the world is still, moving and breathing upon ordinary things of this world,
and making them extraordinary.
Move upon us and what we do, so that in our ears,
we hear God’s holy annunciation, “This is very good.”

One Comment

  1. Jennifer Carter singing O Holy Night was just beautiful. I appreciated the Wexford Carol as well. There was a lot of nostalgia in the Mannheim Steamroller video with Silent Night. Where, oh where, Rev. Chris do you find these wonderful videos?

    Janice

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