So here we are almost there. We hope these reflections each week have contributed to your readiness to celebrate Christmas. Our attachments this week close in a bit towards the celebration without anticipating it.
The blessing this week is from the New Dawn CD, ‘The Repose Blessing’. We will pray it for each of you & for those you will be with over Christmas as well as those you will raise a glass to who can’t be with you.
Wishing you a great celebration & some relaxed days afterwards, & with our love & prayer.
Info re zooms etc over Xmas /New Year 2023/24
NB Sun 24 Dec – Christmas Eve – a zoomed Evening Prayer for anyone & everyone.
CHRISTMAS EVE – EVENING PRAYER ZOOM: 05:30 PM London
Meeting ID: 883 3339 1691 Passcode: 301123
After this there will be no further zoomed EP until MONDAY 8 JAN.
God With Us
Helpless, vulnerable, exposed,
a frail human baby born in a cattle shed –
in such a manner
God made his home among us
that we might be drawn to him
through his very defencelessness.
There were none to deny entry
to that Bethlehem stable;
no security locks,
no guards, no barriers of any kind;
indeed, no Christ,
God came to break all barriers down.
To respond to that love
which risks all in reaching out to us
we surely must also take risks
in reaching out to others.
Risk being misunderstood;
risk having our overtones rejected;
risk becoming vulnerable, defenceless.
Can the true Christmas message
can the word of peace
the word of reconciliation,
become flesh in us?
‘Listen’ was the first thing they were asked to do, Lord.
You asked them to stop, to ponder, to marvel
at what was happening all around them.
You asked them
to open the eyes of their minds and hearts
so as to hear in the depths of themselves
and make living sense of this ‘news of great joy’.
And the news was not for tomorrow’s world
it was precisely for ‘Today’ –
here, now, for me and for all people:
news to be spread and shared and enjoyed.
So I am listening, Lord. What do I have to do now?
The answer is so simple that I can miss it.
‘Here is a sign for you: you will find a baby….’
In finding Jesus, my saviour, our Saviour,
precisely as a baby,
I am healed of so much that is nonsense in my life.
In bringing myself before this infant
who is so vulnerable and so dependent,
so human and so innocent,
I am faced with the challenge of really listening
to the impact this Christ-Child
is just now having on my life.
Give me courage this Christmas, Lord,
to get on the knees of my mind and heart
and begin to put you at the centre of my life.
Denis Blackledge SJ
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!
The Incarnation does not provide us with a ladder by which to escape the ambiguities of life & scale the heights of heaven. Rather it enables us to burrow deep into the heart of planet earth & find it shimmering with divinity.
Cardinal Avery Dulles