Monday, December 26, 2011


This is a message from my friends Phil and Cris in Germany.  I miss them so much, but G-d is definitely using them in big ways.  Check them out, and consider this as an opportunity for some LAST LAST minute Christmas shopping (I prefer to do any shopping I can after the holiday, because everything goes on sale! ~ Especially the Christmas cards).

If you only have time for one video, skip this one, and click immediately on the title of this post.  (It gets a bit sales-pitchy at the end, but you would need to understand the German people and the state of their church to get why it's still authentic.  Trust me, this isn't so much about the money as it is about the message.)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent: Christmas Eve

First Coming, by Madeleine L’Engle from A Cry Like a Bell
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

As always, click the title of this post for a (almost always) relevant video to tie everything together.

(As adapted from the Book of Common Prayer):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

The Confession:
Let us confess our sins against G-d and our neighbor:
Most merciful G-d, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; and we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in you will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen. 
Almighty G-d, have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our L-rd Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Candle Lighting: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (verses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8...depending on your hymnal)

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of G-d appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orders all things far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel 

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind 
In one the hearts of all mankind; 
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, 
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.  Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angles and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name: 

Holy, holy, holy Lord, 
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes 
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. 

Let us pray. 

Holy and gracious Father: in your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

The Blessing of the Elements
On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: this is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

The Mystery of Faith
Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

The L-rd's Prayer
And now as our Savior
Christ has taught us we now pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, 
Hallowed be 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, the power, 
and the glory, forever. 

The Eucharist Hymn 

Prayers of the PeopleAs we have taken part in communion with Christ, let us pray for the community of our brothers and sisters.

Each person may voice a prayer aloud, ending with “This is my prayer.”
We will respond: 
“L-rd, hear our prayer.”

The Lighting of the Candles: