[We offer two Christmas Eve services. Our first service was a family service that included our puppet ministry team and the use of glowsticks instead of candles. In the picture above, we are singing "Silent Night" as we welcome the coming of Christ into the world. Since Christmas is a season of twelve days, let us continue to shine Christmas light!]
O God, is it really true that tonight is the night that you have come into the world? We had no idea that Mary would deliver her baby so far away from home. This story has caught us off guard. We’re so not prepared. You deserve a better welcoming.
And yet, you chose to come in this way, and at this time, and in this place, to of all people, us! Tonight, can we at least say, “thank you?” Thank you for coming into our world because we have been making a mess of things as of late.
We are a troubled world. We don’t listen to each other. We are divided. We are fearful of what the future holds. We are quick to pass judgment on others, but truth be told, we have to admit that we too, are part of our problems.
Even so, reassure us tonight that there is hope for all of us, no matter what political signs we placed in our front yards. There is hope for the long-term church member just as much as there is hope for the person who isn’t the praying type. There is hope for the believer. There is hope for the non-believer. There is hope for the saint. There is hope for the sinner. There is hope for the middle-aged pastor who tells corny jokes. There is hope for the church member who has to listen to those jokes.
O God, thank you for reassuring us in the most surprising way that there is hope for all of us because we need you, Aleppo needs you, the world needs you. Thank you for the surprise gift of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ tonight. Thank you for coming into our world just in the nick of time.
Thank you for coming to the Little Town of Athens and thank you for coming to the Little Town of Bethlehem. In the name of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.