Christmas Eve Liturgy

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xmas eve liturgy

Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels: in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and with the Magi adore the Child lying in his Mother’s arms.

Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child; and let us make this chapel, dedicated to his pure and lowly Mother, glad with our carols of praise:

But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build.

And let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all who know not the loving kindness of God.

Lastly let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom we for evermore are one.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Almighty God bless us with his grace: Christ give us the joys of everlasting life: and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all.

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Another look at the Manger…

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manger
What is of importance is the description which follows: “She swaddled him in strips of cloth and laid him down in a manger, since there was no place for them in the lodgings.” Luke will keep coming back to this description, for the angels will tell the shepherds: “This will be your sign: You will find a baby swaddled in strips of cloth and lying in a manger” (2:12). The shepherds will know that they have come to their goal when they have found “Mary and Joseph, with the baby lying in the manger” (2:16). Speculations as to why there was no room in the lodgings erroneously distract from Luke’s purpose, as do homilies about the supposed heartlessness of the unmentioned innkeeper or the hardship for the impoverished parents—equally unmentioned. Luke is interested in the symbolism of the manger, and the lack of room in the lodgings may be no more than a vague surmise in order to explain the mention of a manger. This manger is not a sign of poverty but is probably meant to evoke God’s complaint against Israel in Isaiah 1:3: “The ox knows its owner and the donkey knows the manger of its lord; but Israel has not known me, and my people have not understood me.” Luke is proclaiming that the Isaian dictum has been repealed. Now, when the good news of the birth of their Lord is proclaimed to the shepherds, they go to find the baby in the manger and begin to praise God. In other words, God’s people have begun to know the manger of their Lord.
– Raymond E. Brown, Christ in the Gospels of the Liturgical Year (pp. 116-117)

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Christmas Eve Post

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Christmas Eve PostChristmas Eve. The day before Christmas. Seven days before the final day of the year that was. Eight before the cycle begins anew. Can’t wait. Can’t wait for all of this to be over. Day after day after day after day, putting on my grave shroud, following the Master into the big, scary Unknown that is my mortal existence. No complaints. No remorse. No regrets.

Truth be told, Christmas and winter are held in my heart as the darkest, most Gothic season of the year. No, not Halloween silly. Halloween is happy fun time. Amateur night for the Normals. No, Christmas and winter are when I feel the most alive, where I see with vivid realness the beauty of death, the true gift it is been given us from up on high. The quiet dark as the snow falls silently to the earth. The chill that grabs your bones. As my breath escapes in faint wisps of vapor, I am reminded of my mortality. And I praise the Lord Jesus for this season of death. For without death, there is no rebirth. His Spirit is what makes me alive. The closer I get to Him, the more I see the beauty in the dark and and still death that surrounds us.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

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