Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.

~Author: G.K. Chesterton


Christmas Eve worship becomes another occasion for the church to speak the truth of heartache and pain. The tinsel and the lights of the season cannot distract from the lamentations welling up in the world. Into real human suffering, God erupted the Bethlehem night with divine messengers as the shepherds witnessed the proclaimed promise of Christ’s birth. As Howard Thurman wrote, “Despite all the crassness of life, despite all the hardness of life, despite all of the harsh discords of life, life is saved by the singing of angels” Luke’s gospel account invites us to join the glorias of the angels and sing out the Savior’s birth.

     (Deep Is the Hunger: Meditations for Apostles of Sensitiveness , p. 92).


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.  We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.

Help us to share justly the resources of this land.  Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.  Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.

May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

– taken from Wontulp-Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group, 13 March 1997, Brisbane


Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and we light the Candle of Love and remember John the Baptist.

Matthew Chapter 3
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”’  

Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, just and true: to you be praise and glory for ever. Your prophet John the Baptist was witness to the truth as a burning and shining light. May we your servants rejoice in his light, and so be led to witness to him who is the Lord of our coming kingdom, Jesus our Saviour and King of the ages. Blessed be God for ever.  (light the candle)

Lord Jesus, your servant John the Baptist called people to prepare for your coming by caring for one another. Give us willing hearts to reach out to all people in need with your love and compassion.  Amen.

HYMN:  VU 6, A Candle Is Burning, verses 1-4


The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.

You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.

For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

HYMN:  VU 60  O Come, All Ye Faithful, verses 1 & 2

Luke 2:1-7

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

HYMN:  VU 50  He Is Born

Luke 2:8-14

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

HYMN:  VU 38  Angels We Have Heard On High

Luke 2:15-20

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

HYMN:  VU 76  See Amid The Winter’s Snow


Arrows are very helpful.  I am not talking about the bow and arrow kind of arrow.  I am talking about the road sign kind of arrow that guides people to go in the right direction.

Now, imagine you are standing in the middle of the road at an intersection.  You have traffic going in all 4 directions.  You also have 4 turning lanes, and those cars need their turn to turn!  Take a moment to stand and direct traffic.  How many seconds are you giving each direction of cars to get through the intersection?  Don’t forget about the turn lanes!  It isn’t as easy as you think!

God gives us signs in our lives to direct us to stay on the path of kindness, respect, generosity and loving others.  Sometimes God uses other people as signs.  They watch our lives and give us advice out of love and concern.  Sometimes, God will speak to you through a book or a movie that inspires you to be the best you can be.  God speaks to us through the stories, poems and psalms of the Bible.  God also speaks to us in the quiet of nature and taking time to be alone.

Sometimes, God uses you to be a sign to guide others.  That happens when we share the love of Jesus with others.  Love changes people.

Take some time during Christmas to ask God to guide you, ask God if there is someone who needs love and a kind word, if there is someone who needs to be offered a new direction.  Then, say a word of thanks that God values you so much that God trusts you with loving and helping others.  Merry Christmas!


I recently had the joy of attending a school Christmas concert.  Three of the church youth were involved.  The title of the play was A Recipe Of Me.  The plot revolves around grandchildren who, against better judgement, find the key to grandma’s secret recipe box and discover more than recipes.  They discover the recipe for love and family.

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.

19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

In A Recipe Of Me the grandchildren read the favourite recipes of their aunts, uncles, cousins and the stories that accompany these recipes.  Some of the recipe cards are mostly family stories with hardly any recipe on the page.  What the grandchildren discover about their family is that families are messy. For some of their relatives, the hopes and dreams of their youth were ended by an accident, a hurtful choice, an argument, a missed opportunity.  And yet, the family continues to gather every year for fun and the traditional family Christmas dinner, albeit with the children complaining about having to sit at the children’s table!

This play does a marvelous job of helping the grandchildren, and the audience, to understand that families travel many peaks and troughs before they get to the current moment.  Families are messy.  Families are also the life blood that help us get through life.

Jesus’ family is no different.  I can’t help but wonder if Mary’s ponderings included the thought, “How did I get here?!”  And then, of course, there is Joseph, who has been thrown into a divine situation and manages to embrace the experience while maintaining his faith.  No small feat.

Christmas is about families:  the Holy family, my family, your family, and the stories, peaks and troughs that have brought us to this moment.  The good, the bad and the ugly – as the saying goes.

And yet, here we are, because we choose to be here.  Well, there may be some whining, but after a few good Christmas carols, one hopes the heart warms to the experience!

So how did we get to this moment of Jesus’ birth?

Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kansas.  In her blog post, Messy Families:  Jesus’ And Mine, she writes about the many kinds of families that exist in current society.  A family is no longer a mom and a dad, biological children and the family dog.  There is a whole spectrum of combinations that exist – all of them family.

Harader looks at the genealogy of Jesus, specifically Joseph’s family, as listed in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.  She writes:

The genealogy of Matthew traces the family lineage of “Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born” (verse 16). We might think of Joseph as Jesus’ adoptive father, his step-father, his earthly father–but what Joseph is most definitely not–according to the Gospel accounts–is Jesus’ biological father. And yet it is through Joseph that the author of Matthew traces this all-important family history connecting Jesus to King David and Abraham.  Jesus’ relationship with Joseph is honored here as a true family relationship even though Joseph is not Jesus’ “real” father according to conventional norms…

 “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah” … why highlight (one of) David’s moral failings in the midst of this potentially straight-forward list of names?

Maybe because the Gospel writer wanted to tell the truth: like the Incarnation itself, families are messy. Parents become parents–and live out their identities as parents–in so many different ways. Children are conceived and raised in a variety of circumstances–many of which do not fit the idealized concept of a “normal” family. And this is what God chooses to enter into–a human family in the fullness of its struggles and its love.[1] 

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.

Joseph was instructed to accept Mary, his betrothed, who was carrying a child that was not his.  Mary accepted the words of the angel, knowing that the child would put her in a position of shame with her family.  The ancestors of both Mary and Joseph had dark sides – murder, rape, incest – to name a few.  In spite of this darkness and the peaks and troughs of life, God helped Mary and Joseph arrive at the moment where the infant Jesus is sleeping in an animal’s feed box and shepherds, with great excitement and amazement, are telling them about a blazing night sky, hosts of angels singing, and a promised fulfilled – sleeping in an animal’s feed box.

As the grandchildren continue to read the recipe cards, they gain an appreciation for their family members who have gone through hard times, and learn to be thankful for each other as they read of the squabbles among their aunts and uncles in their youth.  Learning about their family’s past helps them to understand and be grateful for their present – even if they have to sit at the children’s table for Christmas dinner!

Spoiler alert!  It turns out that grandma is experiencing the beginnings of dementia.  Their grandparents will be selling their home and moving into a retirement facility.  The grandchildren realize this will be the last family gathering in the house in which they have always gathered.  Still, they are prepared for the future because they have learned about their past, value their present, and plan for the future.  Their journey through the recipe box has left much for them to ponder in their hearts.

Families are messy, confusing, some are scary, some are abusive.  All are family.  All have a past; have travelled the peaks and troughs of life.  The Good News of Jesus Christ reminds us that there is no darkness that the love of God cannot overcome.  No family that cannot be redeemed.  No situation into which the Christ Child cannot bring hope.

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.

This really is Good News!  These words include each one of you!  Ponder that, and feel the love of Christ embrace you!

To God alone be the glory!  Amen.



Today is Christmas Eve the time which we celebrate the gift to us of the birth of Jesus and recall the hope we have in Christ. Today we light again the Candles of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy.

First Candle – We speak of hope – because God keeps God’s promises to us.

Second Candle – We work for peace – because Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ and he calls his children to work for peace in his name.

Third Candle – We show love – because Jesus gave everything for us and led us to know the forgiveness of God.

Fourth Candle – We share joy – because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and minds with the presence of God
Last Candle – Now we light our last candle to remember the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’  (Light the Christ Candle)

Loving God, today the Saviour is born and those who live in darkness are seeing a great light. Help us, who greet the birth of Christ with joy, to live in the light of your Son and to share the good news of your love. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the light who has come into the world. Amen.

HYMN:  VU 6, A Candle Is Burning, verse 5


May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Sovereign, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen.

HYMN:  VU 67  Silent Night

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