Prophecy and Hope (adapted from Isaiah 11)

Listen, O people, to the voice of the Lord. The Messiah will come from Israel and he shall be great like King David. He shall come as a branch from the great tree that grows out of the roots of greatness. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear and delight in God….

He shall come with justice and with righteousness and will stand with the meek of the earth. When he comes he will establish his kingdom and it shall be a peaceable one. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them…

People will no longer hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Listen, O people, to the voice of the Lord.

The Annunciation (adapted from Luke 1)

…the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David…And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you…Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive…and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

 

 

 

The Birth

Angel voices in the heavens
Joyfully proclaim thy birth,
Singing of a promised kingdom,
Reign of righteousness and worth–
Songs of prophecy and promise,
Peace, goodwill have come to earth.

The Shepherds (-Anonymous)

This is God’s Christmas greeting.
In the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth,
it was sung by a chorus of angelic voices.
Heard at first only by Judean shepherds outside the town of Bethlehem,
nevertheless, it is a message that the whole world should hear.
On each Christmas Day,
God repeats His greeting.
-Anonymous

The Magi (CCS 445 “Wise Men Came Journeying” {Stanzas 1 and 3} )

Wise men came journeying, once, long ago,
camel hooves swirling the sand dune and snow,
gold in the saddlebag, myrrh in the jar,
incense to honor the Child of the star.

Wise are each one of us looking for change,
stargazer people, respecting the strange,
inner and outer worlds open to light,
centered on seeing the real and the right.

Our Challenge and Hope” ( “Some Children See Him,” found in Hymns for the Family of God 181)

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus’ face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.

O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

Our Challenge and Hope
(by Ann Weems, found in Reaching for Rainbows or Kneeling in Bethlehem)

If there is no cross in the manger,
there is no Christmas.

If the Babe doesn’t become the Adult,
there is no Bethlehem star.

If there is no commitment in us,
there are no wise men searching.

If we offer no cup of cold water,
there is no gold, no frankincense, no myrrh.

If there is no praising God’s name,
there are no angels singing.

If there is no spirit of alleluia,
there are no shepherds watching.

If there is no standing up, no speaking out, no risk,
there is no Herod, no flight into Egypt.

If there is no room in our inn,
then “Merry Christmas” mocks the Christ Child,
and the Holy Family is just a holiday card,
and God will loathe our feasts and festivals.

For if there is no reconciliation,
we cannot call Christ “Prince of Peace”.

If there is no goodwill towards others,
it can all be packed away in boxes for another year.

If there is no forgiveness in us,
there is no cause for celebration.

If we cannot go even now unto Golgotha,
there is no Christmas in us.

If Christmas is not now,
If Christ is not born into the everyday present,
then what is all the noise about?

Our Challenge and Hope
“Christmas Comes Every Time We See God in Other Persons”

by Ann Weems, found in Kneeling in Bethlehem

Christmas comes every time we see God in other persons. The human and the holy meet in Bethlehem or in Times Square, for Christmas comes like a golden storm on its way to Jerusalem determinedly, inevitably. . . .

Even now it comes in the face of hatred and warring—no atrocity too terrible to stop it, no Herod strong enough, no hurt deep enough, no curse shocking enough, no disaster shattering enough. For someone on earth will see the star, someone will hear the angel voices, someone will run to Bethlehem, someone will know peace and goodwill: the Christ will be born!