Thursday 24 December — Christmas Eve

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

Readings: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8-11, 16 | Psalm 89.19-29 | Luke 1.67-69 |


Icon of the Adoration of the Shepherds, Greece, 1650. State Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

The Disarming Child
Charlie Lowell

Helpless and human
Deity in the dirt,
Spirit married with flesh
We couldn't make it to you,
But you come to us.

You always come to us.
In our stubbornness and desire,
Entitlement and shame
Remind us that we need you,
Merge your untamed Spirit with our flesh.

We try to forget those
Years of wandering.
Shackles and masters,
An eternity of doubting
And still, you come to us.

A divine intrusion
Through our scheming and chaos —
Coats of armor, angels and armies.
Do some wrecking here,
And gently come to us.

Disturb us this day
Through sorrow and through dancing,
The bliss of joy and sting of death
Past hands that would threaten and tear,
You come to us extravagantly.

From your manger lowly,
Mighty and mysterious
You come to us, Seed of Heaven
Spirit wed with flesh,
These broken hearts to mend.


how clearly we see you at Christmas-time,
cradled by Mary,
protected by Joseph,
worshipped by shepherds,
honoured by kings,
enshrined on the altar,
and loved by the world.

But, oh Lord,
help us look for you, too,
among the taxes of life,
and the wanderings of rootless travellers.
In the world's smelly stables,
and in makeshift mangers.
In sweat-like drops of blood
and rough-hewn crosses, humanly fashioned.
Help us look, Lord —
and help us find!

Not only at Christmas,
but throughout a new year that it might become indeed
'the year of our Lord.
— Mary Sue H Rosenberger, Sacraments in a refrigerator, Brethren Press, 1979.

Tomás Luis de Victoria. Quem vidistis, pastores (1572), sung by Nordic Voices.

Quem vidistis pastores dicite, annuntiate nobis in terris quis apparuit?
Natum vidimus et choros angelorum
collaudantes Dominum. Alleluia.

Whom did you see, shepherds, say, tell us, who has appeared?
We saw the child new-born and choirs of angels praising the Lord, alleluia.

Dicite quidnam vidistis? Et annuntiate Christi nativitatem.
Natum vidimus et choros angelorum
collaudantes Dominum, Alleluia.

Pray say, what did you see? And tell us of Christ's nativity.
We saw the child new-born and choirs of angels praising the Lord, alleluia.

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602