Advent 2010

December 24 – Friday, Christmas Eve

Thought for today:

About 400 kilometres East of Jakarta in central Java, Indonesia’s Mountain of Fire (Mount Merapi), has been active over the last quarter of 2010. People have died, thousand have been relocated.

SBS television, Australia, interviewed some of the relocated people in one of the relief camps. A woman holding her child told a reporter, ‘We have all that we need, but we are afraid’.  The woman was poignantly highlighting a condition that ails humanity everywhere and in every era. Fear!

Into a world of fear, of wars and terror, of isolation and banishment, come these words of Good News: ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy to be shared by all the people. Today, in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:10-11). These words are spoken firstly to Christians so that, transcending fear themselves, they might amplify the message to all humanity – ‘do not be afraid’.  Christmas is the feast of perfect love, which love, St. John says, casts our all fear (1 John 4:18).  Christmas Eve begs of the world, ‘Do not be afraid’.

 

Scripture  

When in former times God spoke to our forebears, he spoke in fragmentary and varied fashion through the prophets. But in this final age he has spoken to us in the Son whom he has made heir to the whole universe, and through whom he created all orders of existence.
-  Hebrews 1:1-2

Prayer

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people who trust in your love to drive out every fear. By your coming, raise us to the joy of your kingdom, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Poetry extract 

Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven
- Martin Luther

Carol

‘Cantique de Noël’ (O Holy Night) was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to words by Placide Cappeau de Rouquemaure.  From an Advent Concert at the Dresden Frauenkirche ‘O heil'ge Nacht’ is here sung by the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann (lyrics below).

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!