Sunday December 20, 2015: Celebrate the Light

Prelude: Ring Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull

Welcome

Chalice Lighting

We gather in the chill of winter solstice,
finding warmth from each other, nourishing
hope where reason fails.

Grateful for small miracles, we rejoice
in the wonder of light and darkness
and the daring of hope.

I’d like to invite each of each who has brought a candle to come forward and light your candle while we sing “Come, come, whoever you are” three times.

Song and Candle Lighting: Come, come, whoever you are
Wandererer, worshipper, lover of leaving
Ours is no caravan of despair
Come, yet again come

Principles of Unitarian Universalism:

Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Reading: The Moment of Magic by Victoria E Safford

Now is the moment of magic, when the whole, round earth turns again toward the sun,
and here’s a blessing:
the days will be longer and brighter now,
even before the winter settles in to chill us.

Now is the moment of magic, when people beaten down and broken,
with nothing left but misery and candles and their own clear voices,
kindle tiny lights and whisper secret music,
and here’s a blessing:
the dark universe is suddenly illuminated by the lights of the menorah,
suddenly ablaze with the lights of the kinara,
and the whole world is glad and loud with winter singing.

Now is the moment of magic, when an eastern star beckons the ignorant toward an unknown goal,
and here’s a blessing:
they find nothing in the end but an ordinary baby,
born at midnight, born in poverty, and the baby’s cry, like bells ringing,
makes people wonder as they wander through their lives,
what human love might really look like,
sound like,
feel like.

Now is the moment of magic,
and here’s a blessing:
we already possess all the gifts we need;
we’ve already received our presents:
ears to hear music,
eyes to behold lights,
hands to build true peace on earth
and to hold each other tight in love.

Song: People Look East

Offering and Response (Unison)

For the gifts which we have received—and the gifts which we, ourselves, are—may we be truly grateful. Yet more than that, may we be committed to using these gifts to make a difference in the world: to increase love and justice; to decrease hatred and oppression; to expand beloved community; to share, and to keep sharing, as long as ever we can. Amen.

Story: Luke 2
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Music: Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Reading: For So the Children Come by Sophia Lyon Fahs.

For so the children come
And so they have been coming.
Always in the same way they come—
Born of the seed of man and woman.

No angels herald their beginnings
No prophets predict their future courses
No wise men see a star to show
where to find the babe that will save humankind

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night.
Fathers and mothers—sitting beside their children’s cribs—
feel glory in the sight of a new life beginning.
They ask, “Where and how will this new life end?
Or will it ever end?”

Each night a child is born is a holy night—
A time for singing,
A time for wondering,
A time for worshipping.

Song: Joy to the World

Joys and Sorrows

If you woke this morning with a sorrow so heavy that you need the help of this community to carry it; or if you woke with a joy so great that it simply must be shared, now is the time for you to speak.
…..
For the joys and sorrows that haven’t been spoken, but which remain in the silent sanctuaries of our hearts. These joys and griefs, spoken and unspoken, weave us together in the fabric of community.

Silent Meditation

Song: Go Now In Peace

Closing: The Work Continues by Martha Kirby Capo
Our time together is finished, but our work is not yet done:
May our spirits be renewed and our purpose resolved
As we meet the challenges of the week to come.
The chalice flame is extinguished
Until once again ignited by the strength of our communion.

Go now in peace.