Christmas, Year C

 

Musical Reflection
O Come All Ye Faithful by Art Garfunkel

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Invocation

God of David’s fragile house
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;

God of grace and truth,
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;
through Jesus Christ,
the Child of promise,
the Icon of the Unseen God,
the Word incarnate.
Amen.
First Reading
Christmas, 1970

by Sandra M Castillo

We assemble the silver tree,
our translated lives,
its luminous branches,
numbered to fit into its body.
place its metallic roots
to decorate our first Christmas.
Mother finds herself
opening, closing the Red Cross box
she will carry into 1976
like an unwanted door prize,
a timepiece, a stubborn fact,
an emblem of exile measuring our days,
marked by the moment of our departure,
our lives no longer arranged.
Somewhere,
there is a photograph,
a Polaroid Mother cannot remember was ever taken:
I am sitting under Tia Tere’s Christmas tree,
her first apartment in this, our new world:
my sisters by my side,
I wear a white dress, black boots,
an eight-year-old’s resignation;
Mae and Mitzy, age four,
wear red and white snowflake sweaters and identical smiles,
on this, our first Christmas,
away from ourselves.
The future unreal, unmade,
Mother will cry into the new year
with Lidia and Emerito,
our elderly downstairs neighbors,
who realize what we are too young to understand:
Even a map cannot show you
the way back to a place
that no longer exists.
Second Reading
Brief Reflection on Killing the Christmas Carp
by Miroslav Holub
You take a kitchen-mallet
and a knife
and hit
the right spot, so it doesn’t jerk, for
jerking means only complications and reduces profit.
And the watchers already narrow their eyes, already admire the
            dexterity,
already reach for their purses. And paper is ready
for wrapping it up. And smoke rises from chimneys.
And Christmas peers from windows, creeps along the ground
and splashes in barrels.
Such is the law of happiness.
I am just wondering if the carp is the right creature.
A far better creature surely would be one
which—stretched out—held flat—pinned down—
would turn its blue eye
on the mallet, the knife, the purse, the paper,
the watchers and the chimneys
and Christmas,
And quickly
say something. For instance
These are my happiest days; these are my golden days.
Or
The starry sky above me and the moral law within me,
Or
And yet it moves.
Or at least
Hallelujah!
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Gospel Reading 1
Luke 2:1-20

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.

Gospel Reading 2
John 1:1-14

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.

 

Musical Reflection
The Peace Carol by John Denver & the Muppets

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Gaelic Prayer
adapted

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.
Amen.

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.

Musical Reflection
I Saw Three Ships by the Barenaked Ladies

 


Blessing

May the Maker’s blessing be ours,
encircling us round
above us
within us.

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.

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Sources:

Artwork by James Mollison

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection O Come All Ye Faithful by Art Garfunkel

Poem Christmas 1970 by Sandra M Castillo

Poem Brief Reflection on Killing the Christmas Carp by Miroslav Holub

Musical Reflection The Peace Carol by John Denver & the Muppets

Gaelic Blessing Prayer

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection I Saw Three Ships by The Barenaked Ladies

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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