Christmas Prayers

Christmas Prayers

nativity-story

Mary: Mother of Jesus

Pope Francis said “I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church is to be like a loving mother, like a shepherd caring for the lambs”.
This morning we focus on Mary the peasant girl, the mother of Jesus and we are about to hear Bible readings about her and sing songs about her. Today Mary is adored in art, and in liturgy, in music, in miracles, across the world.

So how was it with Mary who gave birth to the Saviour of the world?

Mary was a refugee, a pregnant girl out of wedlock; a second-class citizen; all of it unexpected. She experienced shame, aloneness, poverty, terror. All of this – That’s how it was for the mother of God.

But I am sure she was more than a meek and mild Mother.  I think she would have burned with a fierce protective love. Her heart would have cried: “nothing will separate me from my child!”

This strong but gentle young woman followed her son, Jesus to the cross, and his family became her family

Let Mary speak to you.

Inside you and me there is a shepherd but also a lamb.  We need to care and truly love but we also need to be cared for and greatly loved.

Mary’s song in the Bible is her heart being poured out with wonder and acceptance that the son she will bear will save the world. Her son’s Love does triumph; and the poor and those in need he embraces forever into God’s kingdom.  Let Mary’s song take away emptiness. Let our church be a mother and a shepherd for all.

The night Jesus was born 

At the close of every day comes the night.
We don’t organise it or worry it won’t come;
Evening comes and it is night.

Can you imagine that one night? That long ago night?

Unnoticed by human kind but sought by the heavens?
Sssh! Can you hear it?
An expectant silence, a hushed anticipation,
as if the very galaxy is holding its breath.
There are some truths even the stars know, like darkness,
like loneliness and how the night can be a living thing.
And how once, long ago, the night waited in wonder
along with the darkness and the loneliness,
for the sound of a baby’s cry,
for the miraculous to come to the earth.

The ancient promise. 

This was an ancient promise.  It is recorded in the Old Testament and it is what the shepherds were reminded of through the glory of the sky so long ago at the birth of Jesus. Its power made them afraid, and then it made them glad, and they were filled with Joy.

There is more in the promise.
The people of God have heard this message passed down through the centuries:- “ I will watch over my  kingdom as long as the sun shines. It will be as permanent as the moon, that faithful witness in the sky;  I will never leave you or forsake you.”

You have come because you believe in the Good News or you seek the Good News. The Good News is Jesus came and he lived; and he gave his life for all humankind.   His power and presence is the Love and Hope and Joy in the world; in the people who believe. May you experience the Good News this morning.

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