Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Reflection

Last night, as we gathered at the church to celebrate the birth of our Lord, my thoughts traveled back to my growing up years.  For me, although the presents and the dinner were always present and enjoyable, Christmas was always about that gathering for worship.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church -- spending a good part of my childhood and early teen years at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  Over the years I served Christmas Eve as an acolyte, a lay reader, and as a choir member.  When I was very young, we went to the Christmas morning service, been by the time I was in 6th grade or so, we went to the Midnight Mass (the service started at 11 and culminated in the Eucharist around Midnight).  After worship, we would go home, have some hot chocolate, and open one present each.  Then, we'd go to bed, wake up early the next morning, and then be sleepy about 6 p.m.

Even years later, long after I had moved away from Klamath Falls and had left the Episcopal Church, that service was always special.  There are a variety of reasons for this -- the music, the liturgy, the focus on the birth of Christ (yes, I know he wasn't born on December 25th).  It was also about seeing old friends (in later years, who had returned to town).

As an adult, especially since we're separated from family, it is Christmas Eve that truly makes Christmas meaningful.

Therefore, with that as the focus of attention, I offer a Christmas prayer of Blessing:

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On this Christmas Morn:
May the message of the Angel stir our hearts.
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Lk 2:10-12, KJV).
May the good tidings that God has been revealed to us in a babe born in Bethlehem,
open our hearts to the presence of God in one another.
May we remember in our hearts our neighbor, living both near and far.
Wishing them peace and good will.
May our hope be that the lamb and the lion lie down in peace.
May we lift up those whose spirits ache this day, that they might be mended.
Yes, may the Christ, revealed in Bethlehem's manger,
reside in our hearts and minds this day, and always.

Amen

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