ChristmasDayC.25.12.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of,  the RCL which is in standard use by many

Check out Articles for some past writings on Christmas


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
...in the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration.
It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself”

25 December 2021. Christmas Day. (White).

Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People of the (N) Nation, past, present, and emerging,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019  HERE

And we recognise and give thanks that we humans
are creatures of the Earth living in the ecosystem
—flowers, trees and insects; land, waters and mountain range—
that is unique to (NN).
May we honour one another and honour life itself.

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Video

Gathering Music

Silence

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

May the love that breathes life
into all humanity
and all of creation
All  Be born again in us today.

OR

From the eloquent questionings of children,
from the vast research of humanity into the unknown,
let us draw strength and courage
to live our lives in freedom and faith. (Bob Holmes/wm)

On this (Australian) Christmas Day may we celebrate
the richness and diversity of life.

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include these categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) Some specific resources on Terrorism HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Carol of the Birds”                                                                                                                    1 FACC
Out on the plains the Brolgas are dancing
Lifting their feet like war-horses prancing:
Up to the sun the wood-larks go winging
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing -
Orana! Orana! Orana! to Christmas Day.

Down where the tree-ferns grow by the river,
There where the waters sparkle and quiver,
Deep in the gullies bell-birds are chiming
Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming -
Orana! Orana! Orana! to Christmas Day.

Friar-birds sip the nectar of flowers
Currawongs chant in wattle-tree bowers;
In the blue ranges Lorikeets calling
Carols of bushbirds are rising and falling -
Orana! Orana! Orana! to Christmas Day.  (John Wheeler)

OR

"Christmas Day”   (Tune:  ’North Wind’, 88.89.99)                                                                322 TiS
The north wind is tossing the leaves,
The red dust is over the town;  
The sparrows are under the eaves,  
And the grass in the paddocks is brown;  
And we lift up our voices and sing  
To the Christ-Child, the Heavenly King.

The tree-ferns in green gullies sway;
The cool stream flows silently by:
The joy-bells are greeting the day,
And the chimes are adrift in the sky,
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child, the Heavenly King.  
(John Wheeler)

OR

Around the Crib”  (Tune: ‘Hilariter’, 88.88)                                                                      6 CCS
Around the crib all peoples throng
In honour of the Christ-Child’s birth;
And raise again the ancient song
"Good-will to all, and peace on Earth”.

In pious hearts Christ lives again
As holy babe on Christmas morn,
But God comes into this our world
Each time a child of earth is born.

This Christmas tide let us rejoice
And celebrate our human worth,
Proclaiming with united voice
The miracle of every birth.  
(John Storey)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
God of creation, shaper of seas and stars
of planets and of people
All  God is here with us.

God, born in Bethlehem
gurgling, crying, laid in a manger
All  God is here with us.

God, breath of the universe
flickering, dancing in the candle flame
All  God is here with us.

God, Emmanuel, among us, within us
All  We bring ourselves and our dreams
for we want to be here with you.
  (cfc/Iona)

Words of Awareness
We receive fragments of holiness,
glimpses of eternity,
brief moments of insight.

Let us gather them up for the precious gifts that they are
and, renewed by their grace,
move boldly into the unknown. (Sara Moores Campbell/slt)

OR

We pray:
Days of blazing sunlight,
clear blue skies and sunbaked earth,
colourful birds,
fiery bottle brush,
pastel jacaranda,
the fragrance of each season beneath the Southern Cross...
We offer our praise and thanks for God/the Sacred is in our midst.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  "Child of Christmas Story(Tune: 'Incarnation')                                       12 AA 
Child of Christmas story,
stable straw and star,
small and sweet and gentle:
tell us who you are.

Child whose baby finger
round our own is curled,
come to melt our hearts, and
come to change the world.

Child of Jew and Gentile,
child of white and black -
teach us how to love you,
teach us what we lack.

Child of Mary's courage
birthed in human pain,
tell us what your name is -
be our hope again.  Shirley Erena Murray

OR

"Joy To The World" (Tune: 88.88.88.66. (Inclusive Text)                                                            6 FSSC
Joy to the world! The Christ is here!
The gift of peace to bring!
Let ev'ry heart a welcome place prepare.
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing!

Joy to the earth! The saviour lives!
With song your voice employ;
While fields and floods, rock, plains and hills
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

Christ fills the world with truth and grace,
And asks each life to prove