Length: 5 minutes
Christmas Reflections 2021
In this online Christmas reflection, we are going to interweave music, readings and reflections as we celebrate the coming of Christ this Christmas time.
Opening music: O come O come Immanuel (sung by Enya)
Length: 3.5 minutes
Music: When a child is born (sung by Sinead O’Connor and Danny O’Reilly)
Reading 1: How the Light Comes
The following track is a reading of the poem "How the Light Comes", by Jan Richardson, accompanied by the music "First Light" by Lisa Lynne. You can read the words of the poem below:
How the Light Comes
I cannot tell you how the light comes.
What I know is that it is more ancient than imagining.
That it travels across an astounding expanse to reach us.
That it loves searching out what is hidden,
what is lost, what is forgotten or in peril or in pain.
That it has a fondness for the body,
for finding its way toward flesh,
for tracing the edges of form,
for shining forth through the eye, the hand, the heart.
I cannot tell you how the light comes, but that it does.
That it will.
That it works its way into the deepest dark that enfolds you,
though it may seem long ages in coming or arrive in a shape you did not foresee.
And so may we this day turn ourselves toward it.
May we lift our faces to let it find us.
May we bend our bodies to follow the arc it makes.
May we open and open more and open still
to the blessed light that comes.
Music: O little town of Bethlehem (sung by Sarah McLachlan)
Reading 2: Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be with me as you have said.”
Length: 5 minutes
Music: O holy night (sung by Tracy Chapman)
Reading 3: Luke 2:1-7
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. … 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Length: 4 minutes
Music: Silent night (sung by Annie Lennox)
Reading 4: Luke 2:25-32
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
Music: What child is this (sung by Alanis Morisette)
Questions for reflection:
How can we make room to hear the voice that calls us beloved so that this seeps into our beings in a transformative way?
How can we make room for this Christ-life to flourish and take form in us?
How can we be the expression of hope and light in this dark night, allowing it to become the holy night of Immanuel’s coming into THIS place and THIS time?
Ending music: Joy to the world
(African acapella version, sung by Jehovah Shalom Acapella)