Minister: May it be well with you.
All: And also with you.
Minister: Life is a gift and we are to celebrate it.
All: May we rejoice in the beauty of this special time.
Minister: We celebrate tonight God-with-us
beyond our words, beyond our images,
for we know God is beyond those things.
But tonight we find joy in the image of God
coming to us in the form of the Christ child.
We sense God’s presence in creation
and in the immensity of our universe,
in the incredible display of life on this planet,
and in our consciousness
of something far greater than ourselves.
As Christians we rejoice in the birth of Jesus.
In him we see the fullness of possibility
to make God visible in our lives.
Like all of us he grew in wisdom as he aged.
He questioned. He searched for meaning.
He shaped his convictions.
He experienced love and came to know
love’s connectedness with God.
He stood firmly in his own religious tradition
and preached good news to all people dreaming
of a better humanity.
We rejoice that he taught us not to imagine
a manipulative, intervening God,
but one who is as close as breath
and as soft as a whisper,
yet as powerful in the focus of our lives,
as were the mighty warriors the Old Testament
but drawing us toward the good.
We rejoice that Jesus led people to discover
the sacred in the ordinary,
in the lowly, in everyday life,
in human yearnings to be better people,
and in being neighbor to one another.
Bread and wine,
the fruit of vine and earth.
He gave us these to keep us connected to the story:
We remember the night before he died,
according to our tradition,
when he shared a meal with his friends.
Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it.
He poured out the wine.
He gave thanks for all the blessings in his life
honoring the God so faithfully present
in his life and ours.
“Do this remembering me.”
We break bread as Jesus did remembering
the call to love generously and faithfully,
whatever the cost.
We pour out wine remembering
our responsibility to be bearers
of forgiveness, tolerance, and understanding.
May these ordinary things be blessed.
For they represent both the ordinary and the extraordinary
as Jesus calls us to follow him.
(The communion servers will come to the altar to receive the blessed bread and wine and then take their places at the front and back of the two aisles. Please go to the servers nearest where you are sitting, going where possible from the inside aisles and returning by the aisles next to the windows. Servers will also go to the balcony if needed. You are invited to take the wafer and dip it into the wine, a method known as intinction.)
All: To this commitment we give our “Amen”
and offer it as our Christmas gift
to our family and friends and neighbors,
as a sacrament to his life and death and resurrection,
in those days, and in our hearts even today.
Minister: And we join in the prayer Jesus taught us:
All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
We give thanks for God being with us
in the love of family and friends,
in whatever has been,
in the circumstances of life now,
and in whatever the future holds for us.
And when we go out, may we share
generously of this wonderful gift we have received.
(With contributions from Rex Hunt)