Join us for a short zoom gathering & check-in this evening for Christmas Eve. If you have one, bring a candle along to light with us. All are welcome!
Register to join the Zoom here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwofu6gpzMtHNM-tAWmoMzZlmpfpgdDzGGP
Welcome & Chat (Danielle) – Welcome to IGB. Where in the world are you?) Grab a candle.
We’re not going to put words on the screen so that we have a sense of being together, but if it helps you to add auto captions, here’s how to do it. X
To enable automated captioning for your own use:
- Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
- In the navigation menu, click Settings.
- Click the Meeting tab.
- Under In Meeting (Advanced), click the Automated captions toggle to enable or disable it.
- If a verification dialog displays, click Enable or Disable to verify the change.
Question for sharing (Danielle): What’s something you are looking forward to over Christmas week? (Christmas isn’t easy for everyone, so perhaps you are looking forward to something ELSE this week if that is the case).
Scripture Reading (David): Luke 2:1-20 (JB Phillips translation)
2 1-7 At that time a proclamation was made by Caesar Augustus that all the inhabited world should be registered. This was the first census, undertaken while Cyrenius was governor of Syria and everybody went to the town of his birth to be registered. Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s town, Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was a direct descendant of David, to be registered with his future wife, Mary, now in the later stages of her pregnancy. So it happened that it was while they were there in Bethlehem that she came to the end of her time. She gave birth to her first child, a son. And as there was no place for them inside the inn, she wrapped him up and laid him in a manger.
A vision comes to shepherds on the hill-side
8-12 There were some shepherds living in the same part of the country, keeping guard throughout the night over their flocks in the open fields. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by their side, the splendour of the Lord blazed around them, and they were terror-stricken. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen, I bring you glorious news of great joy which is for all the people. This very day, in David’s town, a Saviour has been born for you. He is Christ, the Lord. Let this prove it to you: you will find a baby, wrapped up and lying in a manger.”
13-14 And in a flash there appeared with the angel a vast host of the armies of Heaven, praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest Heaven! Peace upon earth among men of goodwill!”
15 When the angels left them and went back into Heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Now let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has made known to us.”
16-20 So they came as fast as they could and they found Mary and Joseph—and the baby lying in the manger. And when they had seen this sight, they told everybody what had been said to them about the little child. And those who heard them were amazed at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured all these things and turned them over in her mind. The shepherds went back to work, glorifying and praising God for everything that they had heard and seen, which had happened just as they had been told.
Candle Lighting Liturgy (Danielle) – The Christ Candle:
The incarnation of God comes to us in the most surprising of ways and places.
Unsettling the expectations of the powerful and breaking wide open the hopes of the weary, salvation is born among us.
As we light the Christ candle, we reflect on our presumptions about God, the world, ourselves and each other, and open to the mysterious and scandalous way of Love enfleshed.
Christmas Meditation (Nettes) (adapted from a meditation by Alexander John Shaia PhD.)
I would ask you to close your eyes and relax your body. I’m also going to
sound this bell and when I do please follow the sound of the bell to some
deeper place within yourself. [Ring the meditation bell]
From this place I would ask you to place yourself in an environment that is
safe and protected. But also, night has fallen. Look around. Is your night a
night filled with stars and moonlight or perhaps it is moonless?
Notice that there is a chill in the air, that this is a winter night. Notice your own
feelings about being in a winter night. Does it bring relief, comfort or concern?
In this winter night you see before you a great tree, a great tree. Perhaps it is
a magnificent oak. Whatever it is, this is a great, great tree.
You begin to feel the tree as you feel yourself. Notice how your feet are
planted in the earth. Notice the rootedness and stability of this anchor into the
earth. Notice your body, like the trunk of the tree, strong and steady.
Notice your arms like branches of this tree, reaching out, reaching out,
reaching out. Notice your head, like the crown of this tree, radiant, royal,
You look up into the heavens and then down to your feet again. Then slowly
you look back up to the heavens. Notice how just like the tendrils of the tree
connect the earth to the heavens so your body is rooted in the earth and
reaching towards the heavens.
Notice also how this is a special night. It is the night we call Christmas Eve
and the tree before you has a gift for you under its branches. Silently ask
permission to receive this gift. What might the gift be? Perhaps a word, a
message, an object? Bring the gift into your own heart.
Now give thanks that this tree has been a vessel through which you have
been given this gift. Know that in the days to come you will understand the gift
you’ve been given, a gift for your family, your community and for the larger
world so that they and you may be sustained through the winter.
Give thanks on this great night of Christmas Eve. Give thanks for the
darkness too, which has also been so necessary to bring you this gift. Slowly
now let the scene begin to fade, but hold the gift. Hold the gift. Bring it into
yourself. Then slowly as you are ready come back to this place with us.
Benediction & Blessing (Danielle):
As we go forth into our “wild and precious lives,” and into the sacred darkness of this holy night, may our hearts be vulnerable to beauty, and to the pain of each other.
May our minds be open to truth, and questioning injustice. And may our hearts and lives be centred
in what is true,
and life giving,
so that each and every life,
and everything that births love,
may be nourished, and flourish with the assurance of God’s abiding presence.
Go with peace and with joy.
Blessing: May we live fully, love wastefully and have the courage to be all that God has created us to be.