Worship Materials: Christmastime/Christmas Day

Theme: The Everywhere God

If we allowed ourselves to meet God everywhere, each day would become a Christmas.

Christmas is not so much a season of the year as a season of the human heart.

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Christmas Midsummer

In the mild mid-summer pleasant winds can blow;
Balmy zephyrs soothe us; wafting to and fro;
Christmas has its beauty; Mary’s pain is past;
Lullaby her first born; parents’ joy at last.

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Exquisite Darkness: A Winter Solstice Liturgy

by Ashley Goff and Rob Passow

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the calendar year. This liturgy invites participants into a time of rest and reflection that counters the frenetic pace of the secular Christmas season.

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Worship Materials: An Inclusive Christmas Celebration

On the theme: The Tree, The Carol, the Child

Christmas is a time to move into the world of
images and dreams, a time to allow the ‘make
believe’ happen. Let us be still and reflective.

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When Jesus Stopped Believing in Santa

The day after the first Shabbat in Advent, Mary and Joseph took Jesus, who was eight years old, To the Great Mall of Bethlehem. There, in the middle of the huge indoor shopping complex, Was a stately …

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The Birth of Jesus

While Luke’s narrative, the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus, is lyrical and inspiring, in the Birth of Jesus, Spong persuasively demonstrates it is allegory. Layer by layer, Spong weighs every element of the New Testament stories against Old Testament legends building a convincing case. Spong’s essays step backward and forward through the scriptures demonstrating why each element was chosen by the early CE writers to establish Jesus’ lineage and divinity. It is a fascinating and persuasive journey and a remarkable illustration of Biblical scholarship.

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Worship Materials: Advent

From the Festive Worship Collection

Theme: Dreamtime Reality — Season of Hope
Thoughts for Reflection
To travel hopefully is the mark of a pilgrim. To believe one has arrived is the mark of the insecure.

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O Ultimate Mystery

O Ultimate mystery,
who comes to us in many pictures,
grant that the story of Christmas may
awaken the child within us

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Christmas Celebrations 2014 with songs

I invite you into the way I celebrate Christmas. It may be different to the way you celebrate and think about Christmas, but I ask you to join me as I bring you into what I think can be a joyful way of celebration in the 21st Century. One of the biblical scholars has helped me crystallise what I find difficult about the traditional presentations of Christmas. Greg Jenks, in his book ‘Jesus then and Jesus now’ has asked the question, “Has the Jesus tradition become a giant fairy-tale for children, and little more than an annual exercise of ‘let’s pretend’ for grown-ups?” (Page 123) That is the question which plagues me every Christmas.

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Tiptoe, softly, gently

From the Boundless Life collection

Tiptoe, softly, gently
To the Christmas stall;
Space where hope is singing
Peace on earth for all.

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God is present in each baby

From the Boundless Life collection

God is present in each baby
And throughout all time and space,
In the chaos and the order,
In each tender touch and face.

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Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

So, if your struggling over some of the details of the nativity story, if the experts have left you perplexed, cynical or worried, do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. The story is true, every last word of it is true. For just like Dom so wisely revealed to us, the story of the nativity is a parable and like all parable’s it represents a truth that cannot be fully expressed in words. Like all good parables the truth is not to be found in the details, but rather in the Spirit of God that breathes life into the parable. It’s a parable about so many things, but most of all it is a parable about peace on earth giving glory to God.

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Keep Watch: John the Baptist, Like Christ Has Many Disguises!

Christ came to me in Karen. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Christ comes to us in the most unlikely of places wearing the most unlikely of faces.

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Advent: The Waiting is Over

The season of Advent is upon us. For most people it is simply a flurry of activities to prepare for the Christmas and New Year holidays: a time of decoration, a time of shopping, a time of baking, a time of lights and candles. For some, it is simply the most stressful time of the year. But historically, advent has been a time of inward preparation in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. It recalls the themes of a late-term pregnancy: waiting and suspense, hope and expectation. Advent literally means ‘arrival.’

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Celebrate at Christmas Time

From the Boundless Life collection

Celebrate at Christmas time
Light that only dark can birth,
Light in every baby’s eyes,
Gift of darkened realms of Earth.

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Five tips for a God-centered December

I might be “preaching to the choir,” but these five December tips are worth remembering.

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Are You Sure?

A poem by Madeleine L'Engle

There is also a legend that Mary was not the first young woman to whom the angel came. But she was the first one to say yes.
And how unsurprising it would be for a fourteen-year-old girl to refuse the angel. To be disbelieving. Or to say:

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The Marion Diaries

Reflections by Michael Hollingshead

I could feel the warm afternoon wind blowing a few moments before; right through the window where I was standing, stacking some bowls.

A moment later it blew again, only this time it was cool and refreshing, and even smelled sweet like hyssop, or juniper, or jasmine.

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