Are you focusing on love this week? Are you in the middle-muddle of multiple services? Have you already recorded your services for Sunday and Christmas Eve. No matter where you are in your preparations on lack thereof, there are gifted writers in RevGalBlogPals community and they are generous in sharing their words. If you are stuck for words this week, or if you are looking for some words for your personal devotions, we know you will find meaning and inspiration. Feel free to use as-is, adapt, or use for inspiration. If you use them in printed materials, please note the author and revgalblogpals.org. If you use them in online worship and it is possible to give credit in video descriptions, that is sufficient (no need for verbal attribution). Thanks!

From Sarah Erickson

Prayer for Illumination:

As we prepare to hear the Word proclaimed today, let it be with us as with Mary – may we hear and, according to your Word, respond with conviction and commitment as faithful disciples. And may all that we do be done in Love. Amen.

Prayer of the Day:

Gracious God, we lift our voices in songs of hope, hope in your steadfast love, hope in the promise of a vaccine to dampen the threat of this pandemic. Grant us the deep peace that comes from knowing that you are our rock and our salvation, from knowing that nothing in life or in death can separate us from you. For today, may we find joy in the simple things, the promise of the Christ child and the joy of children of all ages as Christmas approaches. For today and all days, may be love one another as you have loved us, and do what we can to bridge the gap between earth and heaven. In the name of the One who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we pray. Amen.

From Sarah Agnew

Story Eucharist for Advent and Christmas

Those who gather at this table have chosen to follow a story
the story of God, who loves
who, from an eternal well of love,
created all that lives – created humans for love,
and invited us into a relationship for life: full, rich, life.

The story is a story of human turning away, and returning,
of prophets calling, men and women singing,
God forgiving and restoring, again and again.

The story of this table, this meal,
is the story of Jesus, who we follow;
who was born under a special star,
inhabited by the Sacred Spirit.

Jesus looked at women and welcomed, men, and healed,
children, and delighted.
The story of Jesus is a story of love,
of peace and justice and courage.

On the night when he was betrayed –
for not all understood, or accepted –
he took the bread they were to eat, gave thanks and broke it.
He looked at his friends and said, this is my body, breaking for you
Eat, and whenever you eat, remember me.

At the end of the meal he took a cup and gave thanks.
He said, this cup is a new covenant made through the spilling of my blood.
drink, and whenever you drink, remember me.

We pray that the Spirit, ever present, will bless this bread and this wine,
will bless us, making these gifts the body of Christ in us.
break bread & distribution

The story is told again and again with this reenacting at tables all over the world.
In this season, we await the story of Jesus come among us,
Immanuel, God with us,
as it is told anew, unfolds anew, in our midst, in our lives, in our world,
bringing hope, joy, peace, and love
May we know again hope, joy, peace, and love.

May the story we have enacted here infuse our living with love long beyond this moment;
May the Christ we have remembered be our Wisdom, our hope,
may the Creator scatter seeds and birth ever new, joy-filled, life,
and may the Spirit breathe in us and through us, peace, deep peace.
Amen

Beautiful Promise – An Advent / Christmas carol

Hold on now,
good earth, all creation;
hold on now,
it won’t be long.
God has heard
and will not abandon:
gather ‘round,
for hope is coming.
Ah! Ah!
Beautiful is the promise
Ah! Ah!
Beautiful is the peace.

Wake up now,
you people, get ready!
Wake up now,
the prophets have seen!
Listen to the Spirit,
she’s stirring,
calling out,
‘Make haste, and follow!’
Ah! Ah!
Challenging is the promise.
Ah! Ah!
Challenging is the peace.

Christ will come,
be born here among us,
when we tell
the story again.
Angels came in dreams
to whisper,
angels sang in
dazzling chorus:
Ah! Ah!
Beautiful is the promise!
Ah! Ah!
Beautiful is the peace.

words: Sarah Agnew (c) 2019
music: ‘Bring the torch, Jeanette, Isabella’ – Traditional French Carol

The Shepherd’s Story
Luke 2:1-20

In that region,
shepherds lived,
watching over flocks
in fields.

On that night,
in those fields,
an angel standing
startled shepherds.

The angel spoke,
to calm their fear
with good news
of great joy for all.

A baby born
in David’s town,
your long awaited hope
he is: Messiah! See!

Go find the child,
wrapped up tight,
lying in a manger.

A multitude – a
sudden multitude
of singing, praising,
angels – Glory be
to Holy One, and peace
be known on earth.

A silence – a sudden,
still and shocking
silence fell
among the shepherds.

Then urgency, we
must go – now –
to Bethlehem, to find
this hope, this child.

On that night
Shepherds left
their fields, their
flocks, and flew
Into town in a flurry

Then fell to silence,
Once again,
at the foot
of a newborn’s bed.

Mary heard,
Joseph heard,
everyone awake
heard the shepherd’s tale.

Angels and singing,
shock and running,
silence and awe and wonder.

Mary took the shepherd’s
story like treasure
to enfold
in her heart.

Back to the flocked
fields the shepherds
floated home:

such excitement
they’d known in that
region, on that startling,
hope-filled night.

Born of Love

Galatians 4:4-7

You are a child of God,
you who have the Spirit
beating the rhythm of life
from your heart through
your veins to the earth
from your feet to your
neighbour in your embrace,
you are a child of God, born
of love as all that lives
is born of love and grace.

Last Christmas

For Christmas 2019 and 2020 (and the rest)

Last Christmas gave us
a fright, lines of dazzling light,
searing wounds visible
from highest skies.

This Christmas, we can not light
even small flames in wreaths
on unscorched tables, before still
smouldering lives.

Last Christmas gave us
the world’s worst nightmare
shut down, too many
taken down by one small virus.

This Christmas we cannot fly
as far away or as close
as we would be, but have
learned again how love transcends.

Last Christmas gave us
first Christmas with, and the last;
first Christmas without, and
the last –

This Christmas our hearts
have healed a little, broken
more; and even grown open to new
lights that shine.

For last Christmas, past
Christmas, for this Christmas
and Christmas yet to come, for
Christmas, for Christ born again
and always, always, we say
Amen.

Jennifer Henry of Kairos Canada, loved the music of Mary, Did You Know, but didn’t like the lyrics, so in 2017 wrote new ones, transforming the song into something authentic for her and many other women.

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