Come and Worship

Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

holyfamily2mhill

There is a certain stillness to this moment
the journey is over, a place of rest has been found
the pain of birth is yet to begin
there is a certain stillness to this moment

We know it will not continue so
we know the journey will begin again—all too soon
forced by fearful rulers whose only desire is to protect their position
and their power
we know the struggle to live and grow and learn and love will once again
commence
we know, too, that for the child born this night it will lead to conflict, to
controversy
to suffering and to death
we know that life will take its toll on him
as it does on everyone
as it has on us
we know all that, but now there is stillness
now we can rest and know a peace more profound than any other
the peace that comes from knowing God is in this moment

In the quiet, in this God-given moment, the child stirs—the time has come
there is pain, contracting pain, as all of life contracts
into this one moment through
which it must pass
there is pain—all creation groaning in the pangs of childbirth
there is pain
and God is here now, too—in the pain as well as in the peace
God is here now, too

Because God is here the pain has a new dimension to it
there is hope in the pain
there is love in the pain
there is joy, even joy, in the pain.
Yet the pain increases, its intensity grows—it becomes greater, and greater still
until it is fulfilled
fulfilled in the birth of newness and wonder
fulfilled in the birth of a child who is a king
fulfilled in the birth of our salvation
and she brought forth her firstborn child and wrapped in swaddling clothes
and laid him in a manger
it is through this pain that our salvation is born!

There was stillness on the hillside that night as well
shepherds watching over the flock by night
there was a stillness
perhaps a fire glowing for light and warmth
perhaps a tiredness that comes from work—hard work over a long day
now there is stillness—sheep are safely grazing, shepherds resting
now there is stillness

Until the words of wonder are spoken
by presence felt—in voice unknown, unknowable
good tidings of great joy—great joy for all the people
unto you is born this day a savior who is Christ the Lord
unto you is born this day salvation and all its splendor
unto you is born this day a child, wrapped in swaddling cloths and
lying in a manger
unto you is born this day a babe of unwed mother, without power or
prestige or position
unto you is born this day another poor and lowly baby, a child of the
no-accounts, the nobodies of this world
unto you is born this day the king of kings and lord of lords
unto you is born this day the one who shall reign forever and ever
hallelujah, hallelujah amen

Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass,
which the Lord hath made known unto us
in words of wonder, words of faith they proclaimed the deepest desire of
the human heart
to be in the presence of the holy
to connect with that which is eternal
to worship God
and they came and found the child

they knelt down and they worshipped him.

And now the wonder of the ages comes to us
it is no longer long ago and very far away
it is no longer about birthing in a manger and shepherds on a hillside
it is now—it is here—it is us
in the stillness of this moment God is present
in the stillness of this moment the child comes—to us.

Christ is born this night—come and worship

Forgiveness is born this night—come and worship
and at the stable find release from guilt and fear
find love beyond measure to make up for all you have done and left undone
all the ways you have failed
all the things you could be but haven’t yet become

Peace is born this night—come and worship
and among the lowly animals find a warmth that even warms the soul
find comfort for your grief, calm in the midst of the trials of your living

Healing is born this night—come and worship
and in the love that is present here find wholeness for all your brokenness
find a balm for wounds of the body and torments of the spirit, a salve for
every sinsick soul

Joy is born this night—come and worship
and in the cries that echo forth find not just happiness but something far
more precious
find joy, deep, abiding joy that depends not on good times or pleasant
circumstances
find joy that only comes in living as God’s own children

Salvation is born this night—come and worship
and in this manger rude and bare find everything that matters
find life and love and life made new
find God, find even God

Christ is born this night—come and worship.

Offered by Jeff Jones, seeker of the Christ Child, child of God.

Artwork offered by Margaret Hill, drawer of the Holy, pray-er, child of God.

Published by

Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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