COCU5A Christmas Day

See also COCU5B and COCU5C

Readings – Christmas Dawn
Isaiah 62: 6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3: 4-7
Luke 2: (1-7), 8-20

Readings – Christmas Day
Isaiah 52: 7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1: 1-4 (5-12)
John 1: 1-14

See also Christmas Dawn B and Christmas Day C

Father Chris’ 2019 Christmas Day sermon, Bearing Justice in her Womb

Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.
But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it,
and yet he must be in it,
His place is with the others for whom
there is no room.
His place is with those who do not belong,
who are rejected by power, because
they are regarded as weak,
those who are discredited,
who are denied status of persons,
who are tortured, bombed and exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room,
Christ is present in this world.
(Source: Thomas Merton)

The spirit of Christmas
I looked for the spirit of Christmas,
thinking there might be a place where I would feel a deep sense
of the holiness of the occasion.
I looked in the shops,
drawn in by bright decorations
but I found that I couldn’t afford this brand of Christmas.
I slipped into a church,
attracted by their cheerful poster,
but a group of people were arguing about where to place the chairs.
The advertisements told me
that Christmas was all about family, but mine always argue at Christmas, and then fall asleep straight after lunch.
I even went overseas to Bethlehem,
but there were soldiers with guns,
and a very long queue waiting
to get through the checkpoint.
So I came home and on the plane,
a mother and her baby sat next to me,
and suddenly the baby looked right at me, and smiled.
And it was Christmas!
I’ll never go to so much trouble again,
spending and cooking and shopping,
or expecting too much from people.
The spirit of Christmas is in simple things.
(Source: Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Centre)

Call to worship
This is a moment
to find within us
the true spirit of Christmas.
This is a moment
to calm and quiet our souls and find true joy.
This is a moment
to insist that, despite everything, God is with us.
This is a moment
to dig deep and find love is born again within us.
This is a moment
when the outer gifts
matter less than the inner one.
So, let us celebrate!
(Source: Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality)

Presence
Presence.
We want to buy the perfect Christmas present.
The best gift, the gift everyone needs, is the gift of presence.
One of the best ways to read scripture is with curiousity and wonder.
I am curious about Joseph, engaged to Mary, who does not speak one word in the story. Yet, his presence is a strong thread holding the tapestry of the story together.
Presence.
I wonder what kind of presence Joseph was to Jesus in his early years.
When Jesus reaches for a metaphor to describe the nature of God’s heart and depth of God’s love, he used “ABBA”, best translated as “Papa.” Was Jesus thinking of the presence of Joseph when he described God with such tenderness and intimacy?
Jesus told a story about a wayward son who longed to return home. This son rehearsed his apology on the road hoping he would be forgiven and welcomed home. His father, who never stopped watching, waiting, hoping for his son to return, saw him at a distance and ran out to greet him. Before his son could utter one word of apology, his father wrapped his arms around him crying, “Welcome home!” Was Jesus thinking about Joseph when he described the presence of Abba’s love in this story as being forgiving, merciful, patient, expansive, healing and affirming?
Presence.
I wonder about the presence of Joseph and the impact his presence had in the life of Jesus.
Presence.
I wonder about my own presence in the world. How would you describe how you are present to others?
The hardest spiritual work in the world is to be a presence of love without the need to judge, fix, control, convert, convince or save.
Presence…that may be the gift you give others this Christmas that cost the most and is the gift of greatest worth. In return, you might receive the unexpected gift of returning home to yourself.
(Rev Steve Koski, from a Facebook post, 6th December 2019)

HYMN: The Crown of Love
A berceuse: French traditional, arr. Malcolm Sargent
11.11.12.13.6
Far from the gaze of powerful ones and great,
in darkest night – and at an hour so late
that only shepherds, minding the flocks within their care,
heard of the new arrival and hastened to see there
the infant born for us.

And in the stable our dreams find their own birth:
of failings pardoned, of future peace on earth.
Here in the hush we worship, in silence kneeling down
before a tiny baby whom with our love we crown –
the child who is our king.

In our dark world, so full of hurt and pain,
come, gentle Lord, reveal yourself again.
Make us the herald angels who faith and hope renew
for lost and lonely people who search for what is true:
The Christ is born today!
(Source: Paul P J Sheppy)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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