Christmas Eve, 2018

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Title:Christmas Eve, 2018

 Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018 (full size gallery)

Christmas Eve came in full sunlight and relatively mild weather compared to the cloudy/rainy weather last year. We had 51 for the service which was the same as in 2017. The bulletin is here. We took advantage of the 50th anniversary of the Genesis reading in 1968. The windows were decorated from the poinsettia contributed by parishioners. We thank Charles for the greenery that adorned the windows.

This year there was expanded music before the service. We had Marilyn and a student playing the harp, Mary Peterman and Denise Gregory on flute and piano, the Choir, the Choir and violin (Helmut), the Choir and flute and in the gallery Thom Guthrie was a second organist. Selections of these works are the videos page.

We have a commentary on the Christmas Eve Scriptures for Year C here

The Christmas Eve scriptures span multiple centuries. They are about the prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah from 734BC and the Israel-Assyrian War, the birth of Jesus in Luke seven centuries later and the reality of Jesus at the time from Titus with the promise of the second coming. Jesus brings salvation – forgiveness and as well as transformation. This salvation will be fully realized when he comes again in glory as “our great God and Savior” (2:13). Until then, we live between two epiphanies, in hope and expectation.

Catherine recited the Luke Nativity story in Luke 2 and then went into the sermon.

The sermon was on “Bands of swaddling clothes” from the nativity story. Luke uses this metaphor throughout his Gospel as shown by Catherine. A minister like a musician sometimes knows when he/she hits the high note, the sweetest note. Catherine felt this was her best Christmas Eve sermon 12/24/2018.

OPENING
“When Jesus was born, the first thing Mary did was to wrap her baby in swaddling clothes. She must have brought these bands of cloth with her to Bethlehem so that she would have what she needed to care for this child as soon as he left the warm and comfortable safety of her womb.

“Jesus, like the rest of us, would not have remembered his birth or its circumstances, but the swaddling love of his parents for him shaped who he would become …

CONCLUSION

“God raised Jesus from the dead. God’s love cannot be crucified.
Luke reports that when Peter runs to the tomb, having heard from the women that Jesus is not there, he stoops and looks into the empty tomb.

“But the tomb is not completely empty. “Peter sees the linen clothes by themselves, lying there.

“Scripture is silent about what happened to these swaddling bands of love.

“Because that story of love is still being written, by each one of us, every time we wrap one another in love.

“The promise of Christmas, “you will find the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes” becomes reality every time we choose to love, whether at the cross or at the manger.

Because every time we choose to love, Jesus comes to us and abides with us, and all will be well. ”