We are beginning the Fourth Week of Advent here at this old house. This year, we have a full week as Christmas Day is on a Sunday. Next year, the Fourth Week of Advent will be about 18 hours long because Christmas Eve is on Sunday evening!

Today as I write, the O Antiphons begin as well. Most of us know the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It is based on the verses sung at Vespers around the Magnificat beginning on December 17 through December 23rd. Each day, one attribute of God is sung. Today, we hear  “O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge! You can also use a hymnal if yours has seven stanzas and they are in the correct order for each day. If you want to know more about this ancient practice, here is one site: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/the-o-antiphons-of-advent.cfmImage result for free photo advent wreat four candles

During Advent, this blog has been looking at promises proclaimed by people who trusted that God would re-order the world…someday while starting now. We’ve looked at Mary, at Elizabeth, at Hannah and at Job. Today, we add that unfortunate prophet, Jeremiah. One of the major prophets for Israel, Jeremiah lived at a time of great turmoil: wars, bad leaders in government and in religion. He was put in a well and left for dead. He tried not to speak God’s word because it only got him in trouble yet couldn’t help himself: If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

Yet, he is also the one who could say with confidence after a litany of horrors the Lord had subjected him to: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3)

Mary could proclaim the greatness of the Lord (see the Magnificat found in Luke 1: 46-55) because she knew the Scriptures well. Tradition teaches that she was given in service to the Temple at age 3 by her grateful, formerly barren parents, Anna and Joachim. She grew up hearing Jeremiah and the words of the Psalms, the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, and the Five books of Moses beginning with Genesis. She was raised in worship! When John the Baptist leapt in the womb of Elizabeth (Luke 1: 39-45), Mary’s mouth instantly poured forth what was stored in her heart.

As we come to the last week of Advent, before we transition into the 12 Days of Christmas, we would do well to ask ourselves: what pours out of our mouths from our hearts? Are we so grounded in God’s word and promises that even in odd or hard circumstances praise and absolute confidence in God’s power and grace and love pour forth from us? If not, what do we need to do to make that happen?

I have a couple of suggestions. First of all, commit in this coming year to learn all you can about God’s promises, either on your own, or through a Bible study. We can’t proclaim with certainty what we don’t know.

Secondly, practice in small ways trusting in God’s grace and mercy now even when it seems to be most absent. For example, when you find yourself in a difficult situation or relationship, stop. Ask Jesus to show you how you can be his Incarnation right now in this very situation.

With each tiny step of practice, a confidence will be gained for believing that the promises of God are sure and trustworthy, even when an Angel, a messenger from God, breaks into your life with news that changes the course of your history and therefore, the history of the world.

As we come to the Third Sunday of Advent, we find ourselves here at this old house deep into the preparations and themes of the season. Last week, we compared Hannah’s song of victory to Mary’s. This week, we compare Job’s to Mary’s as found in Job 19, especially verses 25-27. Are you beginning to get a sense of a theme here? God does marvelous things. God does impossible things. God waters barren lands and barren people. The winners end up losing and the losers end up on top. The needy have their needs met, the poor have hope, and injustice is silenced.Image result for free photo Advent wreath three candles

And yet, I read the paper this morning. Maybe you did, too. It sure doesn’t seem like God’s reordering of priorities and societies is going too well. The rich still grind the poor into the dust, justice is miscarried daily, and the poor seem to simply multiply endlessly. How do we reconcile these numerous passages in Scripture with what is happening on the ground? Are we whistling in the dark? Kidding ourselves into believing that everything is “going to be OK”?

To answer that question, we have to look at the wisdom of the Church fathers and mothers who centuries ago put lessons of death and destruction for the lectionary reading right after Christmas. On December 26, we commemorate the stoning of Stephen. On December 28, we think about the murder of all boys under age 2 in Bethlehem by Herod. Merry Christmas, everyone! Why did those ancient theologians have to spoil our fun?

Because, Christmas only makes sense through the lens of the Cross and the Cross only makes sense through the lens of the Resurrection. And life as we know it today, here and now, only makes sense through those filters. No matter what things look like now, no matter how bad life is in the world, in our jobs, in our hearts and homes, God always bats last.

Advent is about the three comings of Christ: as a babe in Bethlehem, into our hearts each day, and as Lord of the Universe at the Second Coming. Like Job, like Hannah, like Mary, we must always have the distant melody of that “Great Day” in our mouths because everything else is cacophony. The reign of God has begun and will come to fruition at some point in history just as Christ was born in Bethlehem at a definable moment in time. And when that day comes, the Truth of the songs of Job, Hannah, and Mary will be true and will be seen to have always been true.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

It is beginning to look a lot like Advent here at this old house. The Advent wreath is out and lit each week. The lights are up and decorations are gradually making their appearance. The empty stable is awaiting the figures that are moving towards it. Batches of peanut brittle are being made and forced amaryllis bulbs are working their way into the light. Advent and Christmas music plays regularly. Yes, it is definitely Advent.

The theme of preparation and “stay awake” runs throughout the daily and Sunday readings for this time of year. We, who sit in darkness spiritually, mentally, physically, are asked to have hope, love, peace and joy with each succeeding week’s candle lighting. Many of us are also trying to prepare and “stay awake” late at night getting through our do-to lists. At times, getting everything done in time seems impossible!Image result for free photo Advent wreath two candles

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” So says the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland.” What impossible things do you believe before breakfast? Or have we all given up on believing in the impossible? The impossible reconciliation, the impossible healing, the impossible resolution. In the readings for Advent, we hear that God is in the business of making the impossible possible. As we work our way through endless lines and lists, we may want to stop and wonder if a messenger from God, an angel in disguise, might be standing next to us, even bringing impossibly good news. In the midst of the commercial holiday season, can we allow ourselves to believe that with God all things are possible?

Another theme we hear about throughout Advent is barrenness, the opposite of what the advertisements are trying to tell us. But Advent tells us this is a barrenness that can be filled in seemingly impossible ways. That is why the message of Christmas speaks of and to both joy and sorrow, loss and fulfillment.

Hannah and Elizabeth were barren and yet were given sons by God in seemingly impossible ways: Hannah bore Samuel, the powerful OT prophet, and Elizabeth bore John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, whose prophesying began in Elizabeth’s womb. In response to John’s leaping in Elizabeth’s womb, Mary sang her song that begins “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Throughout the centuries, the Church sings it, the Magnificat, every evening at Vespers.

Hannah also sings in response to God’s good and impossible provision. Her song is sometimes called the Old Testament’s Magnificat. Compare her song found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 with Mary’s found in Luke 1:46-55. God is in the business of taking barren places and people and filling them in surprising ways.

We are also invited to reflect on where we might be barren. Where has the desert set into our lives, our relationships with others and/or with God? Which line of Hannah’s or Mary’s song of victory speaks most to us. The message of Advent embraces everyone everywhere in all circumstances. That is impossibly good news indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to use this with my name and copyright as well as “Used By Permission” on it. Also, I would love to hear where you used it and any feedback you might have!

A FAMILY CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

By Valerie E. Hess copyright 2009

Prelude

Welcome

Invocation

stand

Opening Carol: O Come, All Ye Faithful (Could use this time to set up the front with three chairs facing the congregation but set side-by-side as if they were a pew, if you prefer not to have the chairs in place before the service starts.)

Prayer

sit

First Lesson—Isaiah 9:2-7

Congregational Song:  On Christmas Night, verses 1 and 3

 

At the front, raised, are three chairs set together like a pew. Three people are ushered down the aisle during the singing of verses “On Christmas Night” (Sussex Carol). The implication is that they are attending the Christmas Eve service and are being shown to their seats. The “usher” could hand them a bulletin and a hymnal as part of their entrance.  At the end of the hymn, one turns to the others and says:

Person 1. Wait a minute. I don’t get all of this light and dark business. If you mean the candlelight contrasting with the dark church or the dark of this night contrasting with the daylight of tomorrow, then I understand. But who were these people sitting in great darkness? And what light shined on them?

Person 2.  It’s just a Christmas tradition, that’s all. What would Christmas Eve be like without candles and the familiar carols and the traditional readings?  It would be like 4th of July without fireworks or Thanksgiving without turkey.

Person 3.  Is that all Christmas is about? Is it really just tinsel and lights? Is it just a holiday we spend one month getting ready for and then it is over in a day? What about the birth of Jesus? What about God sending us a Savior to rescue us from the darkness of our lives?

Person 2. Oh, yeah Jesus. He was a great prophet all right but what does he really have to say to me about life and all the stress of my everyday world?

Person 1. I thought Christmas was about peace and good will and warm feelings. Why complicate it with theological debates about a person who lived a long time ago in another culture.

Person 3. Actually, the readings and carols we sing on this night tell a wonderful story that really happened and that is still impacting our world today. Jesus Christ’s coming was promised by God all the way back to the beginning of time as told in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve had messed up big time and while God upheld the consequences of their mistake, God promised them that he could redeem the mess they had made. God promised to send a Savior “which is Christ the Lord.”

Person 2. Hey, I recognize those words! We hear “a Savior, which is the Christ the Lord” read every year at Christmas in church.

Person 1. But what does that all mean?

Person 3. It means that God loves us and wants us to love him back. It’s like raising our own kids. Sometimes, they have to deal with the consequences of their mistakes especially when we warned them not to do something but they did it anyway, but we never stop loving them and as parents, we are always working to help them bring something good out of the bad that was done.

Person 2. Are you saying God is like a parent?

Person 1. My parents certainly weren’t very helpful. I don’t know if I am interested in a big parent in the sky.

Person 3. We have to be careful not to put on God our human parents’ mistakes. God is perfect and his dealings with us are always for good, even when it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

Person 1. So Christmas is more of a celebration of the beginning of good coming out of a lot of bad?

Person 2. A good kind of family gathering only with God and his son, Jesus?

Person 3. Yes. Christmas is about God coming to earth and saying a cosmic “Yes” to all that is good and true and holy and right and possible in our lives. It is God coming as a gift in the person of Jesus Christ, a form of God we can understand and relate to.

stand

Congregational Hymn: What Child is This? (During the singing and the readings, the three “congregation members” participate as if they were in the congregation, singing along and listening to the readings.)

sit

Second Lesson—Titus 2: 11-14

Person 2. I don’t understand how Jesus can be God. I mean, he was a human being like us who needed to eat and sleep and go to the bathroom. He had feelings, he cried, he partied. That is not my idea of how God is supposed to be.

Person 1. Yeah, isn’t God supposed to be somewhere up there and not down here getting dirty with the rest of us?

Person 3. This is why it is called “Good News.”  Jesus came so that we might know God more intimately. It is a mystery how God could do that but he did. Haven’t you ever heard Jesus’ words, if you have seen me you have seen my father in heaven? If we want to know some of what God is like, we need to look at Jesus and see how he lived his life here on earth. And since he was living as a human being, we can see how he responded to good things and bad things and then try to model our lives after those responses. I know that he had to be God because if you have ever tried to live your life in relation to other people the way Jesus did, you know that you have to be God to do it right.

Person 1. But why isn’t it OK just to think of Jesus as a good person? I mean, a lot of people have great Christmas celebrations without getting all worked up about who Jesus was or wasn’t.

Person 3. Because after the unreality of the “holiday season” is over, we go back into our lives as they really are. We go back into our marriages and families and jobs and friendships, and we need something more than warm feelings to help us live well in the midst of all of those situations.

Person 2. I don’t know. The glow of the holidays carries me along for at least a couple of weeks. Well, usually, that is. I mean last year, things were a little tense in the family at Christmas and that unsettled me for a long time but often, I carry nice memories with me for a long time.

Person 3. But what if your celebration of Christmas was bigger than the external trimmings? What if what you were celebrating was bigger than your Christmas tree and your family tensions and the day after Christmas sale crowds? What if you had something that could carry you through all of your life, a greater Reality that stayed deep inside of you, even in July?

Person 1. That would keep a lot of the headache of Christmas in perspective, for sure. If all this time and money spent on preparation was for more than just one day…

Person 2. Is that even possible?

Person 3. If we can begin to grasp the Christ of Christmas, it is. If we lift our eyes above the overeating and partying and debt load we take on to make us feel good, we can keep something with us all year, regardless of what the actual celebration was like. If we will allow ourselves to embrace the story, we will find a greater purpose for our own lives.

stand

Congregational Hymn—Once in Royal David’s City

Gospel: Luke 2:1-20

sit

Person 1: OK, now we are into the stuff I can relate to. That reading always gives me goose bumps. I look forward to hearing it every year.

Person 3: But how does it impact your life? What does that story mean to you in March?

Person 1: Uh…

Person 2:  Oh, come on, let’s be realistic. A lot of us are here just for tonight because it’s traditional! We want to hear the story and sing the songs again. It makes us feel good. I always cry when we turn out all the lights, light all the candles and sing “Silent Night.” But then, it’s over until next year. How can some sheep story from 2000 years ago do anything for me today?

Person 3: This isn’t a sheep story but it is about the Good Shepherd of our souls. If all we carry away from tonight is a few tears and a wistfulness over the beauty of the night and couldn’t-life-always-be-like-this, then we have lost the power that is available to us by embracing the Babe in the manager who grows up to be the Christ on the cross, the Resurrected Lord, and the final Judge of all the ages. The full story allows for very little sentimentality.

Person 2: That little sheep story we just heard leads to all of that? Wow! I had no idea.

Person 3: The Christmas story is only the beginning of the most wonderful story every told, a story that is still being told.

Person 1: How is it still being told?

Person 3: In the life of every person who embraces this child of Bethlehem and invites him to grow up in their heart. Jesus will then continue to write a story of grace and goodness to all the world and he will do it through your personality, your passions and interests, your abilities and gifts. And believe me, it is a powerful story to see it unfolding in each of our lives today. It is an endless story with a variety of chapters that will take us all of eternity to listen to.

Person 2: You really get all of that out of this night?

Person 1: There really can be more to this than the let down I often feel on December 26th?

Person 3: Absolutely but you have to embrace the Person of the story and let him embrace you. Merry Christmas! 

 

During singing of the following hymn, actors exit. Chairs may remain or be removed.

stand

Congregational Song: From Heav’n Above to Earth I Come, verses 1-3, 12

Homily: optional

Continue with the rest of the service.

I invite you to use any of these, especially for the Year B readings. I only ask that you give me credit, including copyright and the words “Used By Permission.” I would love to know if you used any of these and what feedback you might have for them.

 

ADVENT VIGNETTES

Written for Advent 2002 (Year B Lectionary readings) by Valerie E. Hess ©2002

Based on the Hymn :  Watchman, Tell Us of the Night by John Bowring (1825)

 

Watchman, tell us of the night, What its signs of promise are.

Trav’ler o’er yon mountain’s height, See that glory-beaming star.

Watchman, doth its beauteous ray Aught of joy or hope foretell?

Trav’er, yes; it brings the day, Promised day of Israel.

Watchman, tell us of the night; Higher yet that star ascends.

Trav’ler, blessedness and light, Peace and truth, its course portends.

Watchman, will its beams alone Gild the spot that gave them birth?

Trav’ler, ages are its own; See, it bursts o’er all the earth.

Watchman, tell us of the night, For the morning seems to dawn.

Trav’ler, darkness takes its flight; Doubt and terror are withdrawn.

Watchman, let thy wand’rings cease; Hie thee to thy quiet home.

Trav’ler, lo, the Prince of Peace, Lo, the Son of God, is come!

 

 

 

Advent Week One

Watchman is standing up front, looking into the sky.

Traveler:  Ho, watchman, do you see anything yet?

Watchman:  No, Traveler, there are signs everywhere but nothing concrete.

Traveler:  Why do you keep watching, then?

Watchman:  Because none of us know when He will come.

Traveler:  But He has come already.

Watchman:  Once in the flesh, now in our hearts, still to make an appearing.

Traveler:  Should I be watching too?  But I’m so busy taking care of my lists!

Watchman:  Will you be ready for Him at the end of the lists?  Will the lists ultimately make you ready for him?

Traveler:  I don’t know; I hope so.  What could I do to make sure I don’t miss Him?

Watchman:  Slow down, listen, and live.

 

 

 

 

Advent Week Two

Watchman enters, calling over and over “Prepare the way of the Lord!  Prepare the way of the Lord!”  When he/she sees the traveler, points to him/her and says, “Cry!”

Traveler:  Watchman, what shall I cry?

Watchman:   Traveler, cry, “ All are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.  The grass withers and the flowers fade because the breath of the Lord blows on them.  Surely people are like grass.  The grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of our God stands forever.”

Traveler:  That is not a very cheerful, festive thought.

Watchman:  Under all the tinsel and lights, the world is not a festive, cheerful place.

Traveler:  What should I do in the midst of Hollywood’s view of life versus my life as it actually is?

Watchman:  Live well, by God’s standards; make every effort to be honest, courageous, kind, and peaceful to all.  Don’t believe the prophets of consumerism.

Traveler:  I will add that to my to-do list and try to remember God in the midst of all my preparations.

Watchman:  Slow down, listen, and live.

 

 

Advent Week Three

Watchman enters carrying a fire extinguisher.

Traveler:  What are you looking for, Watchman?

Watchman:  The fire of the Lord to descend on this place, Traveler.

Traveler:  That would be so scary.  I’m not sure I’d want that.

Watchman:  Then what are you looking for?

Traveler:  A nice middle road.  I want Jesus and I want the good life as advertised all around me.

Watchman:  You can’t have it.

Traveler:  Why not?

Watchman:  The abundant life of Jesus comes to all people in all circumstances.  It is not dependent on what is under the Christmas tree but rather what is in your deepest thoughts and desires.

Traveler:  How can I change my thoughts and desires?

Watchman:  Be joyful always, hold on to the good, avoid evil in all its subtle and beautiful forms, trust God to be faithful in His promises to you.  Slow down, listen, and live.

 

 

 

Advent Week Four

The Watchman enters, looking all around.

Traveler:  Ho, watchman!  What do you see?

Watchman:  He is coming, Traveler!  He is coming!

Traveler:  People have been waiting for centuries.  How can you say he is coming now?  All I know is that December 25th is almost here and I’ve got all of these people showing up for dinner.  Why should I worry about someone promised so long ago coming again?

Watchman:  Mary was going about her everyday busy-ness when God came to her.  But in her everyday busy-ness, she was always watching and waiting so she didn’t miss the quiet voice speaking to her.  Traveler, have you in your false busy-ness missed the small voice of Jesus coming to you?

Traveler:  I don’t know.  How can I be sure not to miss God’s coming in small, quiet ways?

Watchman:  Say these words daily, “I am the Lord’s servant.”  Slow down, listen, and live.

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE

Written for Christmas Eve 2002 as a continuation of the “Watchman/Traveler” dialogues from Advent

by Valerie E. Hess ©2002

 

Opening hymns/liturgy as you choose.

 

 

Watchman/Traveler Dialogue:

Reading:  Isaiah 9:2-7

Hymn:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

 

Watchman is in same place up front as for the Advent vignettes.  Traveler enters from back carrying a bucket and mop, a long list of paper that drags on the floor, and pushing a vacuum cleaner.  The traveler is stumbling and obviously harried.  Dialogue takes place in center aisle, near the front.

 

Watchman:  Whence comes this rush of noise from afar?

Traveler:  O, Watchman, how can you be so calm?  It is here and there is so much left undone!  How can I finish up all of the work that needs to be done before tomorrow morning?

Watchman:  Traveler, shouldn’t you be more concerned about Who is here?

Traveler:  What do you mean?  Isn’t all of this cleaning and other chores on my list meant to get me ready for Christmas?

Watchman:  Only if they ready your heart to prepare for the coming of the Savior.

Traveler:  Oh, yes, that is all very well and good but his coming happened a long time ago and now, what is important is the traditions we carry on to remember that sweet story.

Watchman:  But much of the truth of that story was not sweet.  It did not look like a Christmas card.  It was embarrassing to find Mary, a very young single girl, pregnant and not even by her fiancé.  Jesus was born in a barn.  He had to flee for his very life as a toddler.  It was too dangerous to settle in his ancestor’s hometown when they could finally come back from Egypt.  What makes you think that your celebration of his birth has to be sweet with warm feelings?

Traveler:  But that is what I see all around me!  That is what the holiday specials on TV and the advertisements  show me.  Everything is perfect and I want my life perfect, too.

Watchman:  If your life was perfect, you wouldn’t need the Savior.  And if you don’t need a Savior, why go through all the hassle to celebrate his birth?

Traveler:  Oh, Watchman, what can I do to truly celebrate this Savior?

Watchman:  Ask yourself what needs cleaning in your life, in your heart and soul.  Ask where you have left uncleaned closets from the past, closets full of hatred and resentment and fear.  Work on preparing your inner being to receive God anew.  And rejoice always!  Good news has come down to us from above.

 

Hymn/Carol:  “From Heav’n Above to Earth I Come

Reading:  Luke 2: 1-7.

 

Watchman is still up front but in a different place.  Traveler enters from side, wrapped in Christmas lights with Christmas decorations hanging from his/her hair and clothing.  A tray of cookies is in his/her hand.  Still harried but less so than in first vignette.

Traveler:  You were right, Watchman.  I let go of the unnecessary preparations I was doing and am now concentrating on the fun ones.  Let’s see, I just need to finish stringing the lights outside the house, put up the Christmas tree and decorate it, finish decorating the rest of the house, finish the baking, and oh, yes, in the spirit of giving, decorate my elderly neighbor’s house and take cookies to the homeless shelter.  That should be fun.

Watchman:  But how are you decorating your soul, Traveler?

Traveler:  Decorating my soul?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  What do you mean?

Watchman:  You are doing all of these preparations not only for yourself but also for those who will come to visit you.  Jesus wants to come visit you.  He is knocking at your door.  Is your soul decorated for him to enter?

Traveler:  It has been so long since I have thought about the state of my soul that it must look like my garage does right now.  I would be embarrassed to have Jesus see it in that state.  What can I do, Watchman?

Watchman:  First of all, know that Christ comes to those who can’t help themselves.  He won’t bother those who don’t need a Savior.  There is no need to feel embarrassed.  Invite him in; he is the best at straightening out messes.  Shhh!  I hear his quiet footsteps approaching now.

 

Hymn/Carol:  O Little Town of Bethlehem

Reading:  Luke 2: 8-14.

 

Watchman is standing up front.  Traveler staggers in behind wrapped boxes piled so high, he/she can’t see the Watchman.

Traveler:  Oh, Watchman, where are you?  I can’t find you behind all of these gifts.  I spent more money than I had to make others happy.  I think I’m getting the idea of what Christmas is about and so I went all out this year gifting everyone.

Watchman:  What gift do you want for yourself, Traveler?

Traveler:  Didn’t you hear me?  Maybe these boxes are making it hard for you to hear.  (Almost shouting)  I said that these gifts were for others.  Isn’t that what this is all about?  Stuff for others?  Why would I think about a gift for myself?

Watchman:  (comes down to traveler and knocks boxes out of his/her hands)   When these are all broken, discarded, and forgotten, what will be left?  Where are the lasting gifts of God in these boxes?  What gift do you want for yourself, a gift that a thief can’t steal, and rust or moth can’t destroy?  A gift for your soul?

Traveler:  In my desire to spend so much money on everyone else, I haven’t even thought about lasting gifts for me.  What kinds of things should I ask God for, Watchman?

Watchman:  Courage, faith, obedience, prayer, honesty, patience, the ability to love everyone—even your enemies.

Traveler:  Well, those sound nice but some of them I don’t want.  I’m not sure I want to be courageous because that means God might send me into a tough situation.  And I’m not asking for patience because that gift is always given in times of hard waiting.  And loving my enemies!  Well, I can think of some people I don’t ever want to encounter again let alone try to love.  I’m not so sure I want those gifts.

Watchman:  Those are the gifts of God.  Maybe you don’t want God?

Traveler:  You know this doesn’t seem like a very festive, cheerful conversation to be having on Christmas Eve.  I’d rather think about Santa Claus and holiday lights and tomorrow’s Christmas dinner.

Watchman:  God’s gifts don’t exclude those other things but they do transform them into things we can be thankful for instead of grasping for.  Let us give thanks to God for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.

 

Hymn/Carol:  Angels, We Have Heard on High

Reading:  Luke 2: 15-20.

Watchman is standing by a Nativity scene.  Traveler enters quietly with no props and goes reverently to manger.  Kneels. 

 

Traveler:  Watchman, I have let go of all of my preparation expectations.  Don’t get me wrong.  My house is decorated, the food will be great tomorrow, and the gifts are ready to be unwrapped.  But I have let go of needing to feel Christmas through those things.  I have come to see that if all of the external preparations for celebrating Christmas leave me breathless and empty inside, then Christmas has not been celebrated.

Watchman:  Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

 

Hymn:  Joy to the World

Reading:  John 1:1-14

 

Continue with rest of service as so desired.

 

 

 

 

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