Christmas Eve has always been the worship service of the year for me. Besides the music there’s the nativity story, and it never fails to touch my heart. If I’m in the mood to celebrate then there’s a chorus of angels; if I’m depressed then there’s poor Mary giving birth in a cowshed; If I’m feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders there’s Joseph – what a failure he must have felt like; If I’m broke there’s the shepherds; If I need hope there’s a wandering star; If I feel happy then there’s joy in the occasion, and if I’m feeling low there’s the unfairness of it all. Wherever I am I find that there’s something in the nativity that mirrors my place, and lets me know that it’s very human to be there. Wherever I am spiritually or emotionally, it’s OK.
Christmas eve is the moment before the event, the hope that things can change, and a reminder that God can overcome anything in ways that never cease to surprise and amaze us.
This year we have six short nativity readings brought by Andrew, Wendy B, Bill, Jaz, Wendy F, and Robert. Then I’m looking forward to Pablo, Sarah, Chris and Rod singing for us. Will is leading worship with a selection of Carols and music. Mary is bringing prayers and the new light; and I’ve written a special communion for the occasion.
Whether you’re filled with the grace and joy of the season, or feeling the weight of it all as a burden, you’re welcome to come and join us. I guarantee that some part of it will touch your heart.
This year is our very first Christmas Eve service! The service is at 7pm at The Somerset Day Centre. There’s parking at the rear, and if you need a lift home (Because the buses stop early) let me know and we’ll find someone going your way.
Have a blessed Christmas.
PS – this is a great article if Christmas is not an easy time for you. http://www.upworthy.com/if-the-holidays-are-hard-for-you-doing-these-4-things-could-really-help?c=tpstream
This is the MCC Christmas message. Enjoy!!
“Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you
news of great joy, a joy to be shared
by all people . . . .
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace
among those with whom God is pleased.”
(The angels at the birth of Christ in Luke’s Gospel.)
As we write to you this Christmas Season, many are afraid and there is little peace on earth among any of God’s children.
The year we will shortly close will have seen almost 300 identifiable terrorist attacks, sometimes by individuals and sometimes by organized groups; sometimes by suicide bombers as young as 10 years old.
Unless you become like a little child
you cannot enter the reign of heaven,
Jesus will tell his followers.
What makes a parent sacrifice a child to such violence? Perhaps a better question is, what makes parents and children alike lose all hope for the future?
Whether we are talking about organized militant groups or young people searching for something to believe in and a cause to identify with, now more than ever, as believers, we need to hold firm to the foundation of our faith — the Prince of Peace who believed that renouncing the ways of violence could and would save the world, and that living a life of selfless service would do all our hearts good.
God is always with us always working for good, for healing, for peace on earth and goodwill among all and a justice that comes only when we are able to value all life equally. Now is the time to stand with the God of justice and peace.
In MCC, we know the fear, the pain, and the destruction that comes to lives told and shown that there is no place, no future for them. And we also know the healing and the hope rejecting those false premises and embracing the truth of God’s universal love brings. Our open tables have crossed many borders and left many others behind. Being radically inclusive has taught us how to celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and how to let go of fear. Maybe we are and can be the hope the world is looking for.
From Paris to Peshawar, New York to Maiduguri, Nigeria; what our world needs now is people who do not waiver in praying for peace, and who are willing to faithfully search for and engage the prophetic spirit of God — a spirit that led Joseph to let go of all he’d ever known for the sake of protecting God’s dream of peace and goodwill, and Magi to offer every good gift they could come up with to keep that dream alive; a spirit that led shepherds to follow a night-time vision in the hope of discovering the dawn of a new day; a spirit that led Jesus to wrestle with every temptation we have as human beings to engage the ways of domination and violence, but in the end choose to lay down his life so that we might take ours up.
This season of light and hope, join us in preaching peace and doing your best to live lives that model that of the Christ whose birth we will celebrate. Join us in doing your best to bring some healing and hope to the world. Talk to your neighbors of differing faith traditions, work together on projects that support the resettlement of refugees, offer safe space to the heavy laden, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned; let the Prince of Peace be born in you.
We have no easy answers for what is happening in places like Syria, Palestine, North Africa, and the United States, to name a few. As followers of Jesus, however, we can hold to the hope that praying for peace to prevail and acting with generosity, compassion, non-violence, and integrity will bring greater goodwill.
May God bless us all,
Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders
Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, Convener; Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann,
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Elder Tony Freeman, Rev. Elder Darlene Garner,
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez, Elder Professor Nancy G. Maxwell,
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León, Rev. Elder Dr. Candace Shultis,
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD