Prayer: Almighty God, the wind has brought a lullaby….. the echo of the Angel’s song to our hearts this day. We hear the hushed cry of the Infant Child, Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The stable is dark and cold yet there shines forth the light of Heaven. God sleeps in his mother’s case and the worlds meet… the new and the old. We come with weary steps and knell to see the maker of the skies, made flesh, before our very eyes…. To love and die, to rise and heal. Emmanuel. Amen
(Prayer adapted from “Prayers of a Pilgrim Nearing Home” by Sister Mary Cartwright)
Read St Luke 2: 1- 20
The Christmas Story. In many churches, there is a ceramic or wooden nativity set called the crèche set. These are figures of Joseph, Mary, Angels, and the Shepherds. During Christmas Eve worship, the Christ Child is added to the nativity scene. It was St Francis of Assisi that created the original nativity scene called the crèche. He did it so that everyone in the community would see and hear the story of the Birth of the Christ Child. And we have carried on this tradition. But why is our Church crèche set small and indoors? The one St Francis created was large and outdoors so that the community could see and hear the story of Christmas.
One of our good friends belonged to a Church where they put up the crèche on the roof of the Church. This was no small Church and involved many hands and many ladders and a lot of balance. They surrounded the crèche with Christmas lights. Why did this Church do this every year? Not because it looked beautiful (which it did!) but because it said in a very simple way, “This is the story of God coming to earth as an infant in love and awe”.
This Christmas Eve as you hear the story of the birth of the Infant Christ, how will you share this story with your community? Will you keep the story within your heart and all alone or will you burst forth with great joy like the Shepherds as they journeyed to see the Infant Christ. The Shepherds came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen the Infant Christ, the Shepherds made known abroad the saying which was told to them concerning the Christ Child. And all who heard the Shepherds story were filled with wonder. Christ has come, Christ is coming, Christ will come again.
Prayer: Great God, such love and wonder is filled through this night. Help us to hear anew the story of the Birth of the Infant Christ. May we be filled with the same love and awe as the shepherds and pilgrims unknown were on that first Christmas. We bow down to adore the Holy Child, and we bring our lives before Him to worship and adore Him now and forever more. Amen.