Posted a few weeks late, here’s my Christmas Sermon.
The Birth Announcement
And suddenly, out of nowhere, the Magi see a star in the sky.
Magi – magicians, astrologers, wise-learned men and women, non-Jews from east of Palestine (maybe Arabia, Persia, Babylon?) – these are the people (it doesnt say anything about three of them and they are surely not kings) who first notice an important baby being born from far off.
These people who study and wait, wait and listen, sit and wait and watch for signs in the skies above, these people who were from another culture, country, religion, are not unlike those already found in the baby Jesus genealogy.
Those least likely to get included in a story like this are the main movers and shakers of Jesus birth announcement. Continue reading Christmas Sermon: We Have Observed His Star (Matthew 2)
Every Christmas Eve we have a very nice, contemplative candlelight service. This gathering goes for about 45-60 minutes, includes scripture reading, poetry, prayers and music. Oh and plenty of candles. The second one also has three readers. You are free to download the resources here and use them however you wish.
The first service was conducted by three readers and three musicians. I enjoyed the quiet evening of singing together and considering the power and Spirit of Christ’s birth. I think others enjoyed it as well.
First Service: Here is the outline.
Second Service: Here is that outline.
In writing the service I pulled together a number of resources:
Going through Christmas this year I began to wonder if Christmas has lost it’s power as a symbol and sign in our culture today. Symbols can lose power over time and when this happens there needs to be a reformation of those symbols and signs, or a letting go of them. This is in part why early Quakers did not celebrate Christmas and other holidays, they felt that for whatever reasons it was celebrated, the signs and symbols utilized in that celebration did not connect to the actual reality of Christmas: the incarnation of God.
The history of Christmas has gone through many ebbs and flows. There are times when it has held more meaning and times when it was less important culturally and religiously. Its not just now, its always been like this and for the first 300 years of the early Church they didnt even celebrate it or call it Christmas. Continue reading Has Christmas Lost its Power?
Peace on Earth Vol. II is a collection of Christmas music put together for the express purpose of raising money for The Children of Uganda Fund. There is a whole laundry list of issues facing Ugandan children, especially those in the north, among the most prominent issues are Malaria and AIDS; AIDS is the cause of more than one million orphans in Uganda. This fund helps do a number of things such as help to prevent mother-to-child transmission of AIDS, supply clean water to those who need, and provide education to disadvantaged children (you can find out more here). Continue reading Christmas Album Raises Money For Children