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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

The candles of hope, peace, joy and love surround the Christ candle.

Advent is over...Christ is born in Bethlehem and Christians all over the world tonight will celebrate this sacred truth. We had a great church service and a wonderful time of fellowship afterward.
We came home to a nice, relaxing dinner with our good friend and associate pastor, Chris and his girlfriend Hanna. Good food and warm fellowship around a beautiful table.
\Now we're sitting in bed watching the holy mass from St. Peter's in Rome...that's kind of become a late night Christmas eve tradition for us. I feel very blessed tonight. God has been good to us and the fellowship and worship that we enjoyed with our church family set just the right tone for entering into the Christmas story once again.
Here are the words we used as we lit the Christ candle tonight.
The Reading:

Hope, peace, joy, and love. Four candles, four promises continually offered to us by God, and all of them manifest in this one we light tonight: the Christ candle. In Christ we find the hope of transformation, the peace that follows justice, the joy of self-fulfillment in community, and the love that encompasses us in all our diversity, empowering us to make our own unique contribution to this world. In Christ we find light and life, and the courage to be like him, answering his call and following in his footsteps.

The Prayer:

Loving God, tonight we rejoice in your steadfast presence in our lives, and in the coming of Jesus Christ, whose miraculous birth we celebrate this night. We give you thanks that Jesus came as a tiny little baby and grew to embrace and manifest the qualities of hope, peace, joy and love in our world. For the gift of salvation that is ours to embrace, through his birth, death and resurrection, we give you praise. Amen.

The Charge:

May the Lord Jesus come near to you this night. May he be born in our hearts, our minds, and our lives. May the light of His life be kindled in us all, and lead us to the shining truth, of God with us, God for us, God in us.

God bless you on this holy night. May the reality of Christ's birth bring you joy and peace. Amen.