December 23, 2022

Liturgy, Reflection, Benediction 2022.12.23


Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will
toward humankind.

In the angel’s gentle greeting,
teach us to hear your love.

In Mary’s glad obedience,
teach us to follow your light.

In your lowly birth and lodging,
teach us to embrace your humility.

In the worship of poor shepherds,
teach us to give our attention.

We light the Advent candles
that all people may know and find
their unity at Bethlehem.

We pray, in the name
of God our Maker,
Jesus, born among us,
and the Holy Spirit, new life within us.

(Catherine Cleary)

Congregational Reading

Let us pray to God as a community.
Our responses will be highlighted in yellow.

It is so easy this time of year
to just go through the motions.
We let the season of Advent become
all about obligation and consumption.

Show us a different way to
celebrate, rooted in your
vision of restoration, provision,
and healing justice.

Some of us struggle this time of year.
Expectations weigh heavy,
old wounds might open, and
grief can be overwhelming.

Comfort those of us who are hurting
this season. Teach how to make
space for suffering alongside our joy.

Give us a holiday season filled with community
and love, so that we can support one another,
wherever we are at and however we may feel.

In the name of
God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
(Gina Bastone Trevino)

Homily and Reflection

Homily Podcast – Unexpected Joy and Peace 12.23.2022


Let us leave with a benediction.

For all the holiday traditions that don’t
work any more
For the loss of direction
For all the moments you laughed
until you cried
For the words you could not say
For all the looks you longed to give
Deep peace of the running wave to you

For the systems stuck, broken,
and doing more harm than good
For the breath and life that came to an
end in your circle this year
For all the hugs you could not give
For every love lost
For every new longing of desire
For songs you ache to sing while lost
in an endless crowd
Deep peace of the flowing air to you

For work that fills the hours of your day
For trips untaken
For shorter days and darker nights
closing in around you
For stunted growth, seeds unplanted,
and even the wild new sprouts
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

For messages unsent
For lives unloved
For dreams unremembered
For futures unimagined
Deep peace of the shining stars to you

For nights without sleep
For tests taken, and failed, and passed,
and forgotten
For disappointments and tears and rants
and jaws clenched
For long evenings spent waiting for
someone to come home
Deep peace of the gentle night to you

For justice denied
For clemency granted
For every one sitting alone in prison
For every one sitting alone surrounded
by family and food
Moon and stars pour their healing light
on you

For every hope that sustains you
For every love you have ever known
For every tiny flicker of joy
For every candle glowing in hope
Deep peace of Christ
the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you

(step off stage for the singing of the “Blessing”,
and then come back on stage)

Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find peace and belonging this Christmas season..

(Eileen Campbell-Reed)

[ Photo by Markus Spiske ]

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