Christmas 2019 - Promise Church UCC Weymouth MA

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Christmas 2019

Promise Church - Christmas 2019
 Greetings Promise church!
 Although we are apart this Christmas, my thoughts and prayers are with you! I hope you have a joyful holiday with your family and friends. Below, please find some resources for reflection during this time of celebration and meditation on Christ’s birth. Many blessings and Merry Christmas to you all!
 Please enjoy this video of the song “Carol of the Bells”:
The following words by Peter Rollins I quoted to you during the December 1st sermon, but let us reflect upon them once more this Christmas:

“Only God can give God. In order to prepare for this advent of God in our being, we must let go of those things in our lives that would extinguish the fragile flame of the Spirit. Our lives are so cluttered with the empty things of this world that there is no space for Christ. We have been impregnated by the world and the womb of our being has become a breeding place for all kinds of attachments, fears, and selfishness.
Meister Eckhart once said that God abhors a vacuum and speaks life into the nothing. He thus taught his disciples to empty themselves of their selfish attachments so that God would fill the gap that was created. Let us follow this example and take some time to think about the various activities we have done that should have been left undone, and the various activities we have left undone that should have been done.”

 Here is one more song for you, if you like. It is not a Christmas song, per se, but I have enjoyed meditating on the incarnation of God in the world while listening to it. I hope you enjoy it as well:

 This Christmas eve I also enjoyed reading Father Richard Rohr’s meditation on incarnation and advent. If you would like, I will post it below for your reflection:
 Celebrating an Eternal Advent
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
“In the first 1200 years of Christianity, the greatest feast was Easter with the high holy days of Holy Week leading up to the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. But in the 13th century, a new person entered the scene: Francis of Assisi felt we didn’t need to wait for God to love us through the cross and resurrection. Francis intuited that the whole thing started with incarnate love, and he popularized what we now take for granted as Christmas, which for many became the greater Christian feast. The Franciscans popularized Christmas. Maybe their intuition was correct.
Francis realized that if God had become flesh—taken on materiality, physicality, humanity—then we didn’t have to wait for Good Friday and Easter to “solve the problem” of human sin; the problem was solved from the beginning. It makes sense that Christmas became the great celebratory feast of Christians because it basically says that it’s good to be human, it’s good to be on this earth, it’s good to be flesh, it’s good to have emotions. We don’t need to be ashamed of any of this. God loves matter and physicality.
With that insight, it’s no wonder Francis went wild over Christmas! (I do, too: my little house is filled with candles at Christmastime.) Francis believed that every tree should be decorated with lights to show their true status as God’s creations! And that’s exactly what we still do 800 years later.
Remember, when we speak of Advent or preparing for Christmas, we’re not just talking about waiting for the little baby Jesus to be born. That already happened 2,000 years ago. In fact, we’re welcoming the Universal Christ, the Cosmic Christ, the Christ that is forever being born in the human soul and into history.
And believe me, we do have to make room, because right now there is no room in the inn for such a mystery. We see things pretty much in their materiality, but we don’t see the light shining through. We don’t see the incarnate spirit that is hidden inside of everything material.
The early Eastern Church, which too few people in the United States and Western Europe are familiar with, made it very clear that the incarnation was a universal principle. Incarnation meant not just that God became Jesus; God said yes to the material universe. God said yes to physicality. Eastern Christianity understands the mystery of incarnation in the universal sense. So it is always Advent. God is forever coming into the world (see John 1:9).
We’re always waiting to see spirit revealing itself through matter. We’re always waiting for matter to become a new form in which spirit is revealed. Whenever that happens, we’re celebrating Christmas. The gifts of incarnation just keep coming. Perhaps this is enlightenment.”

A Christmas Poem
Why do we assume
that God became
human only once,
in the incarnation?
Not so.
God becomes human
here and now just
as God did then.
Why is this?
So that God might
give birth to you,
too, as God’s only
begotten child.
  Here is one more reflection on Christmas for you by Peter Rollins:
  Finally, here is a Christmas prayer by Howard Thurman:
When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with the flocks, then the work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, to heal those broken in spirit, to feed the hungry, to release the oppressed, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among all peoples, to make a little music with the heart. And to radiate the Light of Christ, every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say. Then the work of Christmas begins.
–Howard Thurman
 Once again, I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and I look forward to gathering together again soon!
 In Christ,
 Winston Janusz
 Pastor Promise Church
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