Bible Readings: Psalm 130, Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 9; 2,6 and 7, Titus 2:11-14
About the images:
Upper Left: This is my photo onto which I placed text. Please feel free to use it. The photo was taken in Aswan, Upper Egypt and is of an ancient desert light house used to guide travelling caravans in from the desert safely towards the town. Please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: My photo, my taper, my hands. Please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities. :-)
Lower Left: God is born into the discord of the world. This is my image. Please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images for a mere US10 cents an image however this particular one is free on the site this week. Subscribe while this special price is being offered. Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.
Listening Song: Held
By Natalie Grant on her album Awaken or on WOW 2007 (pictured at left).
Listening Song: Silent Night
Play a version of Silent Night (any nice contemplative version works well) over a news broadcast from this week (thanks for this idea, Robyn Hodge).
Bible Reading: Isaiah
Read the Isaiah reading over the track Adeimus from the album Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary (pictured at right). Have the church in semi darkness and also bring in the elements for the service - candle, Bible, bread, wine, and appropriate coloured lengths of material - whilst the music is playing. The piece goes for four minutes so I finished with some images and the words of Robbie Hamilton's The Waiting. These words can be found at Robbie's Mucky Paws site (see my links column at upper left) archived under December 2007. There is some other really good stuff there as well.
For Kids: The First Christmas
By Jan Pienkowski, Puffin, 2006, ISBN 100141382746 (pictured at right).
For Kids: Jesus' Christmas Party
by Nicholas Allan, Red Fox, 1991, ISBN 9780099725916 (pictured at right). This little book, which costs almost nothing, is one of the nicest around - it is a delight! Whether you think there was an inn keeper or not, for the sake of this little story, you kind of want there to be one :)
Book: The Nativity Story
By Stephanie Voiland (Ed.), Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois, 2006, ISBN 9781414314631 Pictured at left) . This is abook of stills from the film with New Living Translation scripture - beautiful!
Film Clip: Birth Giver
From the excellent Work of the People site - see my link column at left
Prayer: When the World Was Dark
Found in Cloth For the Cradle by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 92 (pictured at right)
Prayer of Confession: We Suspect Angels
Found in Cloth from the Cradle (as above), page 51
Drama: Angel Space
Found in Lightning Sketches by Paul Burbridge and Murray Wells, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981, ISBN 0340267100, page 28 (pictured at left) .
Meditation: A Story of Light and Darkness
Found in Cloth for the Cradle (as above) page 32
Meditation: Hidden Journeys of the Nativity
By Linda Wright in Hay and Stardust by Ruth Burgess, Wild Goose Publications, 2005 ISBN 0905010001, page 88ff .
Poem: Simeon's Farewell
Found in Outback Christmas by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0859105628, page 32
Candle Lighting and Offering at 12 midnight:
Works as follows:
Our offering tonight is for......fill in the blanks but not your own church - someone else instead. Please come forward and place your offering in the bowl provided and take a taper. If you have not brought anything with you, don't worry, just come and take a taper. Form a large circle around the church instead of returning to your seat. (This can be done with just about any number of people). Jesus said "I am the light of the world". (Light the Christ candle, light your taper off the Christ candle and light the tapers of the people on each side of you. Encourage them to light the taper of the person next to them and so on). As Jesus' light spreads amongst us, we pray that God's love will be in everyone's hearts tonight and always.
By Terry Falla in Be Our Freedom, Lord, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1981, ISBN 0859101754.