2023.  We’ve finished another year.

For many of us, time is moving by so quickly that it feels like we blink and a year is done.  Some years that feels like a good thing, and other years we wish we could slow it all down.

This has been a year full of both ups and downs in our world.  The world is still in a state of constant turmoil. Unrest, disease, war, political polarization and divisive rhetoric continue to fill our news feeds.

In those highs and lows, Christ is here.  We celebrate that he humbled himself and came to us as a baby.  Emmanuel.  God with us — God with us in all of it.  He knows us, he knows what its like to be one of us, and He carries us through these years with care.

Let’s come to this Christmas and find a place to land. To pause. To listen.  To surrender.



God with us. The immortal, incomparable Christ with us. May we never become numb to the sheer miracle of that Truth. May we begin to grasp with renewed awe the great, everlasting hope we have in the person of Jesus Christ. And may we celebrate that hope together!

The readings below can be used anytime on Christmas Day but perhaps are best used right before a meal. The Advent candle reading is for families or friends to read through together and can be accompanied by successively lighting a candle with each reading. Simply arrange four candles into a circle and place a special candle in the middle as the “Christ candle,” and proceed with the reading.

May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas Day.


Where does the word Christmas come from? Literally it means, “Christ Mass”, or “A Mass (church service) in honor of Jesus.” It is a day established by the Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

This is not just the birth of a baby to a mother, which is already a wonderful and beautiful thing. Even more than that, it is the birth of the Son of God to a humble and receptive, peasant teenager. A teenager who would have been ostracized because she became pregnant before being married. But beneath what appeared to be a scandalous birth, was an incredible reality: God was coming to reveal his true nature and character to us through his own Son.

The birth of Jesus displays to us that the God of Scripture is not impersonal; He is Immanuel, He is WITH us. Which, indeed, is “good tidings of great joy.”

Madeleine L'Engle

Reader 1

“Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, ’Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.’” ISAIAH 62:11

Reader 2

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” MICAH 5:2

Reader 1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” JOHN 1:1-2

Reader 2

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” JOHN 1:14

Reader 1

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” GALATIANS 4:4-5

Reader 2

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” COLOSSIANS 2:9

Reader 1

“For unto you, a child is born, unto you, a Son is given. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” ISAIAH 9:6

Reader 2

“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength. . .” ISAIAH 11:2

Reader 1

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” LUKE 2:7

Reader 2

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’” LUKE 2:10-11

Reader 1

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” MATTHEW 2:10-11

Reader 2

“Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem.” ISAIAH 52:9


As you light each candle, read the comments and verse aloud.

The First Candle: Hope

2000 years ago, the people of Israel lived in a time of great turmoil and change. But during the wars with other nations and conflict with each other, their prophets began to speak a new message of hope. They prophesied that a special child would be born who would lead them out of the turmoil.

God told them that this child would come from the line of King David. So, these ancient people began to place their hope in this child. Thank you God, for your message of hope.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” LUKE 1: 68-69

The Second Candle: Love

Why did God send his own Son, the seed of David, into our world where there were so many broken relationships and so much division? God did this to remind us of one of the most important things about Him: He loves everyone! God came to love Roman centurions, Samaritan women, Pharisees, political leaders like Pontius Pilate and each one of us as well. Thank you God, that you extend your love to everyone.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” JOHN 3:17

The Third Candle: Peace

Jesus was born in a world full of fear. People were afraid of political leaders, of famine, and of other nations. How could God help people with these fears? Jesus came from the line of King David, so he had power and authority to help. One of the key things King Jesus did was to accept and bless all sorts of people with one simple word: peace. Thank you God, that you give us your incredible peace.

“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” ISAIAH 2:4

The Fourth Candle: Joy

One of the people most excited about Jesus coming to the world was his cousin John. We know this because we read in Luke that Mary went to visit Elizabeth her cousin when she was first pregnant with Jesus. Elizabeth was pregnant too and the child IN her womb greeted the arrival of Mary and Jesus with joy. Thank you God, that you give us joy!

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.” LUKE 1:41

The Fifth Candle: Jesus

Jesus, thank you that your light shines bright in our world. Give us eyes to see you this Christmas Day and throughout the year. Thank you Jesus, for giving yourself to us.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” JOHN 1:14