O Come All Ye Faithful by Art Garfunkel
of hope and expectation:
in the time of empires,
your word is born to those
who have no place
and sung to those
who watch in the wild;
may his birth unsettle our world
with hidden glory
and untold peace;
God of rough hands
and hardened feet,
giving light to the children of earth:
in agony of birth
and gentleness of newborn skin,
may we discover your ordinary beauty
in the heart of our longing world;
whose word brings light to birth
in the heart of a darkening world
which fears a love it cannot name:
may flesh be blessed and born anew
by a truth that leaves the heavens
and walks the waiting earth;
the Child of promise,
the Icon of the Unseen God,
the Word incarnate.
by Sandra M Castillo
Brief Reflection on Killing the Christmas Carp
by Miroslav Holub
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your saviour is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God 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.
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen God’s glory,
glory like that of a parent’s only child,
full of grace and truth.
The Peace Carol by John Denver & the Muppets
Peace of the running waves to us,
Deep peace of the flowing air to us,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to us,
Deep peace of the shining stars to us,
Deep peace of the shades of night to us,
Moon and light always giving light to us,
Deep peace of Christ, the Son of Peace, to us.
The Lord’s Prayer
O Source of the Radiance,
dancing in and about all-that-is,
Shine forth into the depths of our beings,
and enkindle there the flame of thy essence.
Grant that it may blaze forth
and fill us with its searing creativity,
Until, fully united with thy fiery desire,
light pours out from us, taking form.
May we be revitalised each day
with nourishment for body and spirit,
And be liberated from all that oppresses us,
as we struggle to mend the fabric of our world.
Let us not be enmeshed in the nets of illusion,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For from thee shine forth
the precepts, the sustenance, and the generative fire,
from centring to centring. Ameyn.
I Saw Three Ships by the Barenaked Ladies
May the Maker’s blessing be ours,
encircling us round
May the angels’ blessings be ours
and the joy of the saints
to inspire us
to cherish us.
May the Holy Child’s blessing be ours,
the wine and the water,
the bread and the stories
to feed us
to remind us.
May the Spirit’s blessing be ours,
the wind, the fire,
the still small voice
to comfort us
to disturb us.
And may we all bless each other –
a blessing rooted in our common pilgrimage,
the blessing of friends.
May the blessing of God – the Creator, the Human, and the Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.