Let Us Wait As Children Wait – the Entire Series.

Aboriginal Christmas - unknown artist

Aboriginal Christmas – unknown artist

In case you missed some posts, here is the complete list of the contributions to the series Let Us Wait As Children Wait. Enjoy

Advent, Children, Justice, Wonder and Humility by Steve Wickham

Lessons From a Nomadic Childhood by Lynne Baab

Let Us Wait As Children Wait by Jon Stevens

Too Old And Decrepit To Bless – by Anne Townsend

Waiting on the Trail an Advent Reflection by Jill Aylard Young

Let Us Wait As Children Wait An Advent Reflection by Coe Hutchison

Everything Will Happen, Just Slow Down and Wait an Advent Reflection by Bonnie Harr

Always Winter and Never Christmas An Advent Reflection by Travis Mamone

Simple Faith – An Advent Reflection by Paula Mitchell

Shhhh…Here He Comes an Advent Reflection by Margaret Magi Trotman

Waiting When There is No Hope An Advent Reflection by Christine Sine

Wading Through Hot Chocolate and Cloudy Skies an Advent Reflection by Kim Balke

An Advent Prayer for those Grieving in Connecticut by Bonnie Harr

Why Being a Child is Admitting We Don’t Know it All An Advent Reflection by james Prescott.

Waiting with Ants an Advent Reflection by Jim Fisher

The Slaughter of the Innocents – Advent Reflections on the Massacre in CT

I Can Hardly Wait for Christmas But I’ll Try – An Advent Reflection by John Leech

This Will Be A Sign For You An Advent Reflection by David Perry

Celebrating Advent with A Birth and A Death by Edith Yoder.

Gifts of Light and Love a Christmas Poem by Heather Jephcott

Advent is Over – What Have You Learnt?

And the prayers that have been posted during the Advent season

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Advent – The Creative Breath by John Birch

A Celtic Liturgy for Week 2 of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Advent Liturgy for the Third Week of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Liturgy for the Fourth Week of Advent by John Birch

Prayers for Advent from Light For the Journey

Prayers for the Journey – Advent prayers for the week

Christmas Prayers for 2012

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A Celtic Liturgy for the Fourth Week of Advent by John Birch

Christmas Cross (c) Andy Wade

Christmas Cross (c) Andy Wade

This is the last of the Celtic liturgies for Advent posted by John Birch at faithandworship.com I really appreciate the resources that John posts and heartily recommend them to you.

The theme for this week is birth and rebirth

Responses are in bold print

Symbol: A candle and in front of this a rose flower (or similar) The rose, usually shown in stylized form, has been a common Christian symbol since the 1200s. It may be used to represent the Messianic promise, the nativity of Christ, the virgin Mary (her rose is white for purity), or martyrdom (a red rose). It is used often in Gothic architecture. 

The candle is lit

‘While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.’

(Luke 2:6,7)

Beneath the surface of your story
is an inescapable fact
You entered this world
as vulnerable as any one of us
in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.
Our fears, our insecurities and our sins
all that can separate us from God
exchanged by your Grace for Love.
We cannot comprehend the reasoning
only marvel that Salvation comes to us
through a baby born in a stable,
who reaches out to a world in need.

(A space for music to be played or sung – a Taizé chant would be most appropriate)

‘Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’

(John 3:5-8)

(A moment of silence – During the silence, you may like to read and reflect on the words that have been read, gaze at the lantern – or simply enjoy the peace and calm )

If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
Therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in his word I put my hope

There is a transformation that takes place
within the warmth of your embrace
That certain knowledge that you are
refuge, shelter, fortress and stronghold
against which no army can succeed
That you are Brother, Sister, Mother, Father
the love that knows no bounds
That you are God
And I am lost outside of your arms

Create in me a pure heart, O God
And renew a faithful spirit within me
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
And an willing spirit to sustain me
O Lord, open our lips
And our mouths will forever declare your praise

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come again and with us ever dwell

(Scripture reading – possibly the Gospel reading for the day)

(A space for a hymn or song to be sung/said)

(Intercessions – A circle prayer

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms
Protect them in each moment of their daily lives
Protect them in the decisions that they face
Protect their homes and relationships
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this nation with Advent love and hope
Create a desire to listen to the Advent message
Create a willingness to understand and respond
Create a need to reach out to the Christ Child
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our nation with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation
Where there is sickness and disease bring healing
Where there is hunger and despair bring hope
Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle this world with the light of your presence

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s hand to guard me.

Afar or anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding;

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation

(attr. St. Patrick)

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

A Liturgy for Christmas by John Van de Laar

aboriginal_christmas

aboriginal_christmas

This beautiful Christmas liturgy comes from John Van de Laar. It can be downloaded from his website Sacredise.

A Liturgy for Advent and Christmas

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on 

all who live in the land where death casts its shadow…For a child is born to us, a 

son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his 

royal titles: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of 

Peace. (Isaiah 9:2 & 6)

 

God of Surprising Generosity and Unexpected Grace,

We have come to witness a miracle;

to prepare our hearts for a new invasion of Your Light;

We have come once again

to open our souls and our lives

to the divine birth.

And in this sacred moment we ask for Your gentle Presence

to captivate and challenge us.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

We Express Our Praise and Confession

We celebrate You and praise You,

God of new beginnings and surprising opportunities

Because You never cease to make Yourself available to us.

We appreciate You and thank You,

God of unquenchable life and irrepressible grace

Because You continue to offer us the resources of Your Spirit.

We love You and embrace You,

God of unfailing compassion and constant companionship

Because You walk beside us and transform us into agents of love.

 

Forgive us, O Lord,

When we seek to keep You to ourselves  and shut others from Your influence

Forgive us, O Christ,

When we wallow in our own weakness and take advantage of the weakness of others.

Forgive us, O Spirit,

When we deny Your friendship and withhold Your compassion from others.

 

Silent Confession

 

Heal us, restore and empower us, O God, we pray

For the sake of Your kingdom which has broken into our world.

Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer may be said

 

We thank and praise You, O God

for You are not distant and uninvolved in our lives and our world

But, You have come to us, humbly and gently, challengingly and irresistibly.

And whoever receives You, whoever believes in You

becomes a child of God, born of the Spirit.

 

Silent Reflection

 

So, we remember Jesus’ birth and life,

His suffering and victory.

On the night before His crucifixion,

Jesus shared His last meal with His friends;

He took the loaf of bread and blessed it,

then breaking it, He offered it to them saying:

This is my body broken for you. Eat this in memory of me.

After the meal, He took the cup of wine and blessed it,

then He offered it to them saying:

This is my blood shed for you. Drink this in memory of me.

So, we eat and we drink and we remember.

With hope and joy in the new life  which comes in God’s kingdom. Amen.

 

God of Grace,

Come to us again in this meal,

and as we share this bread and wine,

may we share in Christ’s body and blood;

May we offer ourselves to you again,

and may we become one with Christ

and with each other – a single, unified body.

Amen.

 

Communion is received

 

We thank You, Lord God,

For breaking into our world, our lives and our experience.

We thank You, O Christ,

For this meal of remembering,  and the stories of love and grace that it tells.

We thank You, O Spirit,

For Your Presence and Your challenge for us to become agents of God’s compassion.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen

We Offer our Gifts and Ourselves to God

 

In this moment of worship we embrace Your presence again, O God,

And we offer You our love.

In this moment of prayer

We proclaim again Your purpose for the world, O Saviour

And we offer You our resources.

In this moment of giving

We hear Your call again, O Lord

And we offer You ourselves.

Use us – all that we have and all that we are

to touch the world with the Christmas message:

God is love. God is with us. God will never leave us.

 

So, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Love of God  and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all now and forever. Amen.

Thinking About Christmas – A Christmas Liturgy by Jenny Flannagan

nativity - Andi Harisman Indonesia

nativity - Andi Harisman Indonesia

It is still Advent but most of us are well into thoughts of Christmas so this week I plan to post on Advent in the mornings and Christmas in the afternoon.  This afternoon’s post is a beautiful liturgy by Jenny Flannagan.  She shared it on her blog as That Christmas Storythis morning (with a downloadable version) before heading off to stay with her husband’s family in Ireland.

The last time they did that she came back wondering where on earth Jesus had been in any of the celebrations…which inspired her to write this liturgy for them to share in each year, with whoever they were with at Christmas.

What I love is the way that she breaks it down into responsive readings for different times of the Christmas celebration starting with Christmas Eve and ending the evening of Christmas Day.

Christmas Liturgy

i) Last thing on Christmas Eve: The anticipation.  By candlelight.

Reader 1: We read the angel’s words to Mary:

“Greetings, you who are highly favoured.  The Lord is with you.

Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  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 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.

The Holy Spirit will come upon 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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

Reader 2

On the eve of this glorious celebration, we pause together.  

We steady our busy minds.

We still and quiet our souls within us.

We wait.

(pause)

Reader 3:

We are silenced by the angel’s words, and can only listen with holy awe and strange wonder. 

We wait with her for the fulfilment of your extraordinary promises.

We carry inside us the promise of your presence.

We wait through the dark night for the promise of dawn.

(pause)

Reader 4:

This Christmas eve, we are incredulous again that the God of the universe should make himself so small and so vulnerable, and be born into our world.

We wait with expectation for the new ways in which you will break into the darkness, into the humdrum of our lives.

We are humbled again by your desire to be born in us.

May you be born is us again this Christmas.  

(pause)

All: We wait for your light to dawn again in our world.

ii) First thing on Christmas morning: Celebration

Reader 1: 

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Reader 2: We join with the angels, whose joy could no longer be contained in heaven, and say:

All: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women on whom his favor rests

Reader 3: May our joy overflow like theirs today, and may it send us out to others.

Reader 4: We remember that the angels were sent to the unlikely – to a teenage girl, to a carpenter, to a group of shepherds.  Give us eyes to see the unlikely around us today, and may our joy overflow out to include them.

Reader 1: We remember today the people who are easily forgotten.  Those in our community who are alone.  Those who have no means of celebrating.  Those suffering physically, emotionally or mentally.  Those who are grieving. Those who are cold and hungry.  May they hear good news today.

Reader 2: May we know again today that Jesus’ birth is good news that changes everything.

All: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women on whom his favor rests

iii) said at the table before lunch: Journey’s end and beginning

Reader 1: Today is a day that symbolises old journeys ending and new journeys beginning.  For Mary it was end of her pregnancy, and for both her and Joseph, the end of the long and slow journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  For the Wise Men it was an even longer journey, across many lands, following a star.  For the shepherds it was perhaps just a journey across the fields and the town.  The baby they found marked the end of their journeys, but it also marked the start of a new and a wonderful journey.

Reader 2: As we stop to share this meal together, we think of those who are journeying today – fleeing war and famine and other injustices.  We think of those who have no time today to stop and to celebrate.

(pause)

Reader 1: We thank you Father for our different journeys which have brought us here today, and the promise that the baby born today will change everything.  Thank you Father that you are Immanuel, God with us, and we do not journey from here alone.

Amen

iv) tea time: the recognition

Reader 1: In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;

release me in peace as you promised.

With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;

it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:

A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,

and of glory for your people Israel.

Reader 2: God give us the faith and the patience of Simeon, who waited his whole life in prayerful expectancy that you would keep your word.

(pause)

Reader 3: God, give us the imagination of Simeon, who could recognise in a newborn baby the hope of the whole world.

(pause)

Reader 4: God, give us the humility of Simeon who lived to seek and to find Jesus

(pause)

Reader 1: May we, too, live to see you today Jesus, and may we recognise you even in the most unexpected places.

v) last thing: the darkness; by candle light

Reader 1: 

A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.

Reader 2: At the close of this Christmas Day we remember the grief that accompanied that first Christmas.  How the birth of Jesus’ caused such fear in Herod’s heart that he commanded the slaughter of all baby boys under the age of two.  These words of Jeremiah’s prophecy were fulfilled as mothers across the region wept for their loss.

Reader 3: We remember that this Christmas will have only brought more grief and suffering to many around the world.  We know that the darkness remains.

Reader 4: We weep with those who weep tonight.  We mourn the injustices of our world.  We mourn the violence, the oppression, the abuse.  We grieve the inequality that means one nation will starve and another will throw excess away.  We grieve selfishness and greed. We grieve premature death.

Reader 1: In faith we cling to the words of John, who described that first Christmas:

“What came into existence was Life,

and the Life was Light to live by.

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;

the darkness couldn’t put it out.”

ALL: “The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;

the darkness couldn’t put it out.”

 

 

Morning Prayers for the Christmas Season

With Christmas just a few days away I thought that some of you might be interested in morning and evening prayers for the Christmas season.  I thought that I would post these in separate posts so here are the morning prayers

God of joy and celebration

God of love and mercy

God of peace and righteousness

We sing aloud and dance with the angels.

The ruler of all worlds, the shepherd of creation

Jesus Christ has entered our world

Our Saviour Christ has come into the world,

Not in power, not in might, but in the tenderness of love,

He comes as the promise of life hidden in a mother’s womb.

In this season of God with us we celebrate with the angels

We are graced by the wonder of God’s presence

We are filled with the tenderness of Christ’s love,

(Pause to light Advent and Christ candles)

Love and faithfulness meet together,

Righteousness and peace kiss each other,

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth

Shout aloud Hallelujah! God’s faithfulness comes down from heaven

God has kept his promise, the Saviour has been born and a new world begun .

In this season of God with us we rejoice for God’s salvation has come

The redeemer of all creation has come to earth

And we catch glimpses of God’s Messiah healed world

Shout aloud Hallelujah! God’s faithfulness comes down from heaven

God has kept his promise, the Saviour has been born and a new world begun .

This is the time we believe once more that perfect love casts out fear

That generosity transforms scarcity into abundance

That righteousness overcomes oppression with justice

Shout aloud Hallelujah! God’s faithfulness comes down from heaven

God has kept his promise, the Saviour has been born and a new world begun .

We are graced by Christ’s presence and filled with his love

May we become bearers of God’s light,

And go out to transform our troubled world.

Shout aloud Hallelujah! God’s faithfulness comes down from heaven

God has kept his promise, the Saviour has been born and a new world begun .

Scriptures of the day from the daily lectionary

The whole earth shouts with joy to God

The world declares God’s praise.

Praise to the compassionate and gracious One,

Who sent the son to dwell among us.

Praise to the incarnate One, Jesus Christ our Redeemer

Who fulfills God’s covenant of love and compassion to all humankind

Praise to the indwelling one, the Holy Spirit the giver of life

Who proclaims God’s mercy and justice throughout the earth

Praise to the three in One

Praise to the One in Three

Praise to God on high

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jesus you come

In the voice of the poor

In the hurting of the sick

In the anguish of the oppressed

Open our eyes that we may see you

Jesus you come

In the weakness of the vulnerable

In the questions of the doubting

In the fears of the dying

Open our ears that we might hear you

Jesus you come

In the celebration of the saints

In the generosity of the faithful

In the compassion of the caring

Open our hearts that we might embrace you

Almighty God whose great love and compassion came into our world in the person of your incarnate son, Jesus Christ, plant in every heart your concern and care for all humankind.  May the light of Christ ignite our hearts and shine out brightly from our lives, proclaiming your salvation to all the earth.

May the light of God shine on us,

May the love of Christ shine in us,

May the life of the Spirit shine through us.

This day and evermore

Amen