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Christmas Eve

 

Christmas Eve  

gift

gift

Here’s a Christmas Eve challenge: look beyond the shopping list you didn’t quite complete; and the presents that still need wrapping, the credit card that you had to max out and the food you still have to prepare for tomorrow’s big feast. Pause and ask yourself: What’s really important here? Is it presents or ‘presence’?

Look back on the year that was and ask: How have I been present for others? For myself? What have I accomplished this year that has gives me joy? How have I been blessed? And how have I blessed others? Have I made good choices? Am I happy with the person I am?

Life can be busy, uncertain and often out of our control. But in some beautiful way, it’s still worth living. Cherish the life that you have, and the people who are in it. Count your blessings, and remind yourself that everyone has a story and a purpose, and regardless of our differences, we each deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.

Love others and love yourself. This was Jesus’ Second Great Commandment. Whatever insecurities, doubts, fears or flaws we may have, the truth is that we are loved by God without measure or favourites.

Let go of any past anger, bitterness, guilt, pain, regrets or fear, however difficult. Such destructive burdens only slow us down. Learn to forgive others and ourselves however difficult. Our loving Father is a forgiving God who wants only the best for us.

Be gentle and don’t make assumptions about people; everyone deserves to be given a chance. External appearance or behaviour or sexual orientation or brand of theology doesn’t define a person. When we judge others, it defines who we are – not them.

Remember nobody is perfect; we are human, and prone to mistakes. And we all have a right to a full life. Be the change you want in the world.

Jesus is God’s gift of love to all humankind and he offers us the most amazing gifts of all – forgiveness and eternal life; all wrapped in unconditional love.

What’s the most precious gift we can give at Christmas? Or anytime? It’s the gift of our ‘presence’; just being with others to show we care. We were created by God for relationship. Let’s start with those around us. Have a happy and holy Christmas!

 

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Mon 24rd Dec 2012  11pm CHRISTMAS EVE Lismore

Christmas Eve  Luke 1:39-55, Isaiah 9:2-7, Titus2:11-14

Isaiah 9: 2-7  2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.  4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Luke 2: 1-20     The Birth of Jesus         1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

 

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

Titus 2: 11-14     11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

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