In pictures: World celebrates Christmas https://t.co/v92Q73OaJG
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 24, 2018
Daily Archives: December 25, 2018
(BBC) Christmas 2018 in Pictures from around the World
The 2018 Christmas sermon from the Bishop of Sheffield
Some of you will have seen where I’m going with this, I suppose. There was a time, and maybe you can say the same, when the story I carried around in my head, and with which I interpreted the world, excluded God. The result was that when I was granted the occasional glimpse of God’s presence, I used to squeeze that data into the existing framework: ‘Obviously it’s not God. The genuine article is not possible. It must be a look-alike, or a sound-alike, or a feel-alike’. And I dare say I’m not the only here for whom conversion meant, in effect, abandoning an old story which had ceased to be adequate, which no longer did justice to my growing experience, in favour of a different outlook, one which made more satisfying sense, sense not just of the existence of God, but of myself in relation to God.
Well, I don’t know how far you identify with that. But the Gospel reading this evening suggests that that process, or some process like it, is not just a common one, but an inevitable one where God is concerned — inevitable because a relationship with God is not something within our grasp. It’s not easy for creatures like us, who dwell in time and space, to know an eternal and infinite Creator. It’s not easy for sinners like us to know the Holy One. Or (to use the terminology of our Gospel reading), it’s not easy for us to hear the Word of God.
Repeatedly in our reading there are little indicators that if we are to know God, we are utterly dependent on what Christian tradition calls ‘grace’: we rely on God’s initiative, his gift, his unmerited favour towards us. Listen again to these words: The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.
The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world. It had to because almost by definition, it is beyond our capacity to enlighten ourselves: enlightenment always does come to us. Though the true light came into the world, the world did not recognise him, because this enlightening Word is almost always contrary to human expectation. But to those who did receive him (since the true light is always something that to be received), he gave power (because this power is always a gift), to become children of God (because a relationship with God is not our natural state, it is always something // into which we must enter). This true light, the Word of God, became flesh, says John, and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
@PeteWilcox1564 in the day of his installation as the 8th #BishopOfSheffield pic.twitter.com/0bskA08UDX
— DioceseofSheffield (@DioceseofSheff) September 23, 2017
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2018 Christmas Sermon
I have a friend, also called Justin – Archbishop Vardi of south Sudan, a country where there have been two and a half million refugees since the war started in December 2013. There the Government and opposition groups have been brought together in Christ and a ceasefire is holding.
It is learned by worship, like the Kings and shepherds. It is learned stumblingly, beginning with no more than a doubt filled, questioning opening to God who says to us and to the whole world, through this baby, “here I am”. We reply in the same way, knowing almost nothing except we are not fit or ready for Jesus, and we reply, “and here I am too”.
To follow Jesus is not through compulsion, for he has expressed God’s language of love by being a baby, so vulnerable and weak, so easily overlooked.
To follow Jesus is not to become dull and tedious, for in him is light and life more than anywhere else in all eternity. The very heavens shake with the music of his birth.
In him is love spoken and reliable.
In Him is a new language that transforms us and all around us, God’s language of love.
Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas sermon: https://t.co/YPjFcyVf2m #FollowTheStar pic.twitter.com/4qMuWnd1We
— Lambeth Palace 🌟 (@lambethpalace) December 25, 2018
The Queen’s 2018 Christmas Day Message
“The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t provide theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life. Instead it’s about the birth of a child and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago brought to the world. Only a few people acknowledged Jesus when he was born. Now billions follow him.
“I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it’s needed as much as ever.
“A very happy Christmas to you all.”
The Queen attended the Christmas morning service today at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. #ChristmasDay2018 pic.twitter.com/e31nsOlcwb
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 25, 2018
More Music for Christmas–O Magnum Mysterium – Morten Lauridsen
O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio! Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum. Alleluia
O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger! Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia!
A Prayer for Christmas from E B Pusey
Good Jesu, Who didst empty Thyself of Thine eternal glory and become a little child for love of me: empty me wholly of myself, and make me a little child, that I may love Thee wholly, as Thou didst love me infinitely.
–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)
The people that walked in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as men rejoice at harvest time
— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) December 25, 2018
Music for Christmas 2018–Jesus Christ The Apple Tree
Ever since I first heard it, my favorite Christmas song–KSH.
19 Apple Tree Varieties That’ll Knock Your Socks Off https://t.co/2o7VXWkNTE #apples #growyourown pic.twitter.com/cMjmLS83ls
— Gardener’s Path (@Gardeners_Path_) December 24, 2018
Karl Barth on Christmas–A Real Closing of the Breach
God with us means more than God over or side by side with us, before or behind us. It means more than His divine being in even the most intimate active connection with our human being otherwise peculiar to Him. At this point, at the heart of the Christian message and in relation to the event of which it speaks, it means that God has made himself the one who fulfills his redemptive will. It means that He Himself in His own person at His own cost but also on His own initiative has become the inconceivable Yet and Nevertheless of this event, and so its clear and well-founded and legitimate, its true and holy and righteous Therefore. It means that God has become man in order as such, but in divine sovereignty, to take up our case. What takes place in the work of inconceivable mercy is, therefore, the free overruling of God, but it is not an arbitrary overlooking and ignoring, not an artificial bridging, covering over or hiding, but a real closing of the breach, gulf and abyss between God and us for which we are responsible. At the very point where we refuse and fail, offending and provoking God, making ourselves impossible before Him and in that way missing our destiny, treading under foot our dignity, forfeiting our right, losing our salvation and hopelessly compromising our creaturely being at that very point God Himself intervenes as man.
—Church Dogmatics (IV.1) [E.T. By Geoffrey Bromiley and Thomas Torrance of the German Original] (London: T and T Clark, 1956), page 12
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV). Merry Christmas from all of us @lampallib! However you choose to spend it, we hope you have a wonderful day. Image from Scenes of the Nativity, written & illuminated by Mr & Mrs A. Trevor, 19th century [MS 1563] pic.twitter.com/lSVWB00RR9
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) December 25, 2018
Sharon’s Christmas Prayer
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof.
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars.
The baby was God.
And she jumped in the air
whirled around, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.
–John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected
The #ethiopian painting of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus might seem strange to some, but the aim is to show maternal bond between mother & child.
St. Luke the #Evangelist drawing the portrait Mary, Or 637 @BLAsia_Africa @britishlibrary
— Eyob Derillo (@DerilloEyob) December 22, 2018
A Prayer for Christmas Day from Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
#Gospel of the Day (John 1,1-18) Merry #Christmas
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.https://t.co/60wq4pjmXf pic.twitter.com/GGoSCZW1pm
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) December 25, 2018
From the Morning Bible Readings
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.