Christmas Eve 2013 – Watchnight

The text below was written for television broadcast on Christmas Eve 2013.   I believe that some editing took place to allow it to fit within the time schedule of the programme, however this is the full text.   It is designed to fit over midnight, with the silence falling just before.

Child of Bethlehem,

we pray

like shepherds waiting on the hill-top

under the velvet sky

alone and sometimes fearful

of the shadows;

we pray

like strangers from foreign lands

leaving the safety and security of home

to search with troubling questions;

we pray

like a huddled host of angels

hidden in the heavens preparing harmonies

that will herald the excitement of Your arrival.

When the cloak of our fears weighs us down

with loneliness and isolation,

with poverty and indignity,

may we nestle in the silence

of this dark hour,

with the warmth of our longing

waiting for the new light of fresh ideas and hope

and the beginning of the peace that ends wars

between nations, in relationships

and within our minds.

Child of Bethlehem

we pray

for You,

to be present in our time, our lives and our hearts,

and in the silence of the midnight hour

our longing calls to You.

Silence

 

Breaking the silence,

Infant King,

with the newborn cries of life.

It is not trumpets that herald Your arrival

but instead the anxious whispers of uncertain parents

and the watchful eyes of nature

that have seen the rise and fall of the sun,

the daily toil of life

and wait expectantly for God’s new realm to take hold.

Within Your tiny frame

the fragile nature of our world is displayed.

In these first few moments

You embody the needs of all humanity

as You cry in hunger,

longing for the tenderness of human love.

Within Your tiny frame

the promises of ancient prophets are embodied/encased

and even in these early encounters with the world

You are breaking the boundaries of long-held practice and belief

and in the stable stateroom

those the world would choose to ignore

are made welcome.

Within Your tiny frame

the wisdom of Eternal Love will take faltering infant steps

to transform the world in which we live

as the healing of relationships, bodies and minds gives glimpses

of the kingdom of heaven.

In this Christmas moment,

Infant King,

we welcome You

as the presence of heaven howls in a manger

and declares that God is in our midst.

Amen.

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