Easter, as we all know, moves about …the date on which Good Friday – Easter Sunday changes year on year. But, Christmas – to state the obvious – is always on the same date!
You would think that given we all know when Christmas is we’d be better prepared, it would feel like less of a rush to be ready …or is this just me?
While the date for Christmas is consistent, again to state the obvious, the day on which Christmas falls changes. This confuses me no end, but I am after all easily befuddled when it comes to dates and days!
Given Christmas falls on a Monday this year, we decided not to have an extra Christmas Day service, but to celebrate Christmas Eve / Christmas Day as one!
For me, a highlight of the QPBC year is always the Christmas Eve service. I like that we dim the lights a little and have candles and that people use this as an opportunity to bring friends and family along who might not normally come to church.
I also appreciate the theological depth which is contained in many of the carols we sing at this and other Christmas-time services. We are, at times, singing the Nicene Creed, which affirms and confesses that Jesus is fully God, “light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father”. Amen and Amen!
Look out for these phrasing appearing in our Carols as we sing them and feel the weight of joining with 2,000 years of voices proclaiming these great truths which are so central to our salvation.
Have you spotted?
That hidden in plain sight in our carols are phrases lifted straight from the Nicene Creed are not the only phases in carols hidden in plain sight!
Our theme this year, the wording on the banners outside the church and on the cards to give away or remind all of what is happening, is “the Thrill of Hope”.
This is, of course, a play on a line from the opening stanza of the carol “O holy night”:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Hope in a broken world
Our world remains weary …weary from wars, injustice, strife, and so the list could go on. Yet, amid our weariness at the brokenness of our world, we can rejoice because Jesus, the babe born in a manger, is our hope.
He is our hope because he is light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father, and so has the power and the authority to break the power of death and sin.
He is our hope because he did not remain aloof or far off, but he came to us as one of us. In coming to us as one of us, Jesus revealed to us who the Father is, and through his death and resurrection overcame and defeated the powers of sin and death.
He is our hope because his ascension to the Father does not mean he is no longer among us, bringing life, transformation, peace, and hope. Through the sending of His Spirit, he remains with us still – not aloof, not absent, not far off, but with us, and that makes all the difference!
Christ with us, Immanuel, means that amid the confluence of joy and sorrow, pain and laughter, life and death …we see in our midst the inbreaking of New Creation, of heaven come to earth and so we rejoice.
Rejoice that Christ is born this happy morning.
Rejoice that we behold him and that he has changed our lives and continues to call our world to life.
Rejoice that he is (soon) coming in glory to make all things new.
Rejoice that in knowing Christ we know and experience the thrill of hope no matter how dark the world around us seems.