Revd Rex A E Hunt
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The Other Lectionary - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of, the RCL which is in standard use by many.


“Landscape is an incredible, mystical teacher, and when you begin to tune into its sacred presence,
something shifts inside you”

25 December 2022. Christmas Day. (White).

Worth Pondering
“From the beginning, the Church’s hold over Christmas was (and remains still)
rather tenuous… It may not be going too far to say that Christmas 
has always been an extremely difficult holiday to 
(Stephen Nissenbaum)

Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People of the (NN) Nation, past, present, and emerging leaders,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019 HERE

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Video 

Gathering Music


Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

May the love that breathes life
into all humanity
and all of creation
Be born in us today.

On this [Australian] Christmas Day may we celebrate
the richness and diversity of life.

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include these categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) Specific resources on Terrorism HERE

Hymn/Song   The people stand as they are able, to sing
The Three Drovers                                                                                                                  1 ACC
Across the plains one Christmas night, 
Three drovers riding blythe and gay 
Looked up and saw a starry light 
More radiant than the Milky Way 
And on their hearts such wonder fell 
They sang with joy, Noel, Noel, 
Noel, Noel, Noel.

The air was dry with summer heat 
And smoke was on the yellow moon 
But from the heavens, faint and sweet, 
Came floating down a wond'rous tune 
And as they heard, they sang full well 
These drovers three, Noel, Noel,
Noel, Noel, Noel.

The black swans flew across the sky 
The wild dog called across the plain 
The starry lustre blazed on high 
Still echoed on the heavenly strain 
And still they sang Noel, Noel 
These drovers three, Noel, Noel, 
Noel, Noel, Noel
.  John Wheeler


"Here Before Us” (A Song for Christmas)  (Tune: ‘In Dulci Jubilo’)
Our world cries out to be reborn:
a world of pain, all tossed and torn.
Babies born to mothers
scarce old enough to yet conceive,
like Jesus born to Mary,
so young, so fearful, so naive;
he was there before us,
Jesus born that way.

Our world cries out to be reborn:
where power abused is now the norm.
Leaders lead with violence
where life and innocence are slain,
as Herod murdered children
through fear of challenge in his reign;
Christ was there before us,
Jesus lived that day.

Our world of greed must free itself
from worship of material wealth.
Kings brought gifts to Jesus
and laid their treasure at his feet;
but he grew rich in spirit,
in poverty he was complete.
He was there before us,
There to show the Way.

Our world saw light on Christmas Day
when love drew breath amid the hay.
In the Bible pages
full of long-remembered tales,
through metaphor and story
the truth of Christmas still prevails:
Jesus is before us,
here to show the Way.
Jesus is before us,
he is here to stay!   (Chris Avis, Nov 2010) 
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
God of creation, shaper of seas and stars
of planets and of people
All  I
s here with us.

Jesus, born in Bethlehem
gurgling, crying, laid in a manger
All  I
s here with us.

Breath of the universe
flickering, dancing in the candle flame
All  I
s here with us.

Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.


We pray, remembering God prays in us...

Days of blazing sunlight, clear blue skies and sunbaked earth,
colourful birds, fiery bottle brush, pastel jacaranda,
the fragrance of each season beneath the Southern Cross…
We offer our praise and thanks for God is in our midst.
May it be so.

A Reflection…
The Wise Man's Confession”
By Jim Burklo

What wisdom I have
Awakens me to my blindness.
I cannot see light itself:
What I know of light
Is only an alluring shadow
Of what it is and does.

From billions of years away in space-time,
Through darkness intervening,
At its inconceivable speed
The light of an exploding star passes
Through the dark seas of my eyes,
Illuminating the dark curves of their retinas.
But I cannot see the glow of their cells:
I can only perceive the messages they send
To my brain, and from there to my soul.

Thus Hope passes,
Unseen and undetected,
Through this dark world.
What retina receives and translates it
Into Joy and Wonder?

An eye comes into the world:
A retina I cannot perceive
That will see for me,
Beyond my dark despair.

A star in the East!
This eye tells me
To follow it
All the way to the Source
Of the truer Wisdom
That is Love.


Joy to the world!
But what is joy?
Is it colourful?  Is it expensive?
Can it be gift-wrapped?
No, it is none of these.

Is it happiness?  Is it excitement?

Is it blessedness?
Yes, it is these and more, much more.

Joy is for now.
It is completeness.  It is consummation.  It is holy.
Joy is that painting on that day at that time in that place.
Joy is that poem the umpteenth time through.
Joy is that smile exchanged that day.

And joy is the story of a baby and wise ones and angels and shepherds and stars.
It is not fact.  It can not be proved.  But it is truth.
In that story is completeness and consummation.

Because, in that life was completeness and consummation and holiness.
Joy to the world!
May this Christmas Day bring you joy.  

Hymn/Song  "Joy to the World"  (Tune: (Inclusive)                                             6 FSSC
Joy to the world!  The Christ is here!
The gift of peace to bring!
Let ev'ry heart a welcome place prepare.
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing!

Joy to the earth!  The saviour lives!
With song your voice employ;
While fields and floods, rock, plains and hills
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

Christ fills the world with truth and grace,
And asks each life to prove
The glories of God's righteousness
And wonders of God's love,
And wonders of God's love,
And wonders, and wonders of God's love!  Genia P Haddon

PLUS (Optional) 

A verse, adapted from the writings of Sophia Lyon Fans:
Joy to the world! Where Truth is said,
Where Trust and Knowledge guide.
Where slander’s roots
No longer spread,
And warm Goodwill is tried!
And warm Goodwill is tried!
And warm, and warm Goodwill is tried.


Because of the Baby”  (Tune: ‘Come Christmas”, Carlton Young)                                     2 PaT
Because of the baby when Gabriel told her,
because of the baby when Mary said ‘Yes!’
because of the faithful, the brave and the hopeful,
still Christmas keeps coming to comfort and bless.

Because of the baby the parents were suspect,
because of the baby just anyone’s guess,
because there are children conceived without welcome,
still Christmas keeps coming in tears and distress.

Because of the baby they camped in a stable,
because of the baby no classy address,
because there’s poor justice for helpless and homeless,
still Christmas keeps coming to stir and redress.

Because of the baby King Herod was frightened,
because of the baby great rulers played chess,
because of the mitres and thrones that have tumbled,
still Christmas comes closer to the least and the less.

Because of the baby the planets are dancing,
because of the baby the world became light,
because in this child is the stardust made holy,
will Christmas keep coming, and coming and coming
till all is made joyful and peaceful and right!  
(Shirley Erena Murray).
People sit

In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to you all this Christmas Day.
Those of you who may be gathering at (NN) for the first time,
and those who have returned
to celebrate this special season
with family or friends.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Lighting of the Christmas Candle
Over the past four Sundays we at (NN) have lit our Advent candles.
We light them again and remember…
the ways peace, hope, joy and love
are always brought to birth in, through, and among, all creation.
Four candles lit

Last night we lit our Christmas Eve candles.
It was a time for memories and remembering…
To wonder and to give thanks.
And of quiet awakening to beauty
that still lives on through the strife
of personal griefs and a war-torn world.

Now we come to light our Christmas candle.
It is a friendly candle.
It too brings light and love as we celebrate in the warmth of summer.
It is a candle of understanding which drives away fear.
It is a candle of truth.
It will lead one in unknown paths
to learn more about the mysteries of life.
Once upon a time a little baby was born
who taught us to love and understand one another...

v2  And they called his name, Jesus.
The Christmas Candle is lit

Centering Silence

Let there be a quiet time among us.

Come apart from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of God/the Sacred
who is our source of being.

May the silence which we now share
quieten us,
touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Star-Child, Earth-Child”                                                                                         40(ii) COC
Star-Child, earth-Child
go-between of God,
love Child, Christ Child,
heaven's lightning rod,
This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes for everyone,
everyone alive!

Street child, beat child
no place left to go,
hurt child, used child,
no one wants to know,

Grown child, old child,
mem'ry full of years,
sad child, lost child,
story told in tears,

Spared child, spoiled child,
having, wanting more,
wise child, faith child
knowing joy in store,

Hope-for-peace Child,
God's stupendous sign,
down-to-earth Child,
star of stars that shine,
This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes for everyone,
everyone alive!
   Shirley Erena Murray


Christmas in Southern Hemisphere(Tune: ‘Cranham’, 65.65)
Christmas in the summer?
Heat instead of cold?
Flowers instead of freezing?
Skies that shine like gold?

This is Southern Christmas,
Seasons in reverse!
Can the Northern pictures
Speak in Southern verse?

Inner space is timeless
God is everywhere
Cries of newborn infants
Reach for Mary's care.

When we nurture wonder
'Till its grace abounds
We create new pictures
Outside Northern bounds.

Sing the Christmas story
Carol South and North
Sing of pregnant seasons,
Nature’s songs of birth.

Raise the Christchild’s praises
Lift both joy and pain
Touch the realms of oneness
Live the birth again.
(William L Wallace/ssb)

Wisdom from the World/Religious Traditions


• Isaiah 9:2, 6-7  (Inclusive Text)

The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.

For there is a child born for us.
An heir given to us upon whose shoulder government will rest.

They will name this one:
Wonder-Counselor, Mighty-God,
Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.

This dominion - and this peace - will grow without end,
on David's judgement seat and over David's realm,
established and made secure in justice and integrity,
from this time onward and forevermore.

• "Come Christmas!”
By Maureen Killoran. 

No one is ever really ready for Christmas.
If we were really all prepared:
If every gift we had contemplated had been obtained;
If every present was beautifully beribboned;
If all the goodies our friends deserve were baked and cooled, and stored just so;
If each and every person we love was gathered for our celebration;
If we never snapped at someone we care about, nor stopped short of being all that we could be;
If our minds were 100 per cent loving and our hearts were 100 per cent generous;
They truly would be ready - and truly we would not need Christmas quite so much.

So welcome, Christmas, most needed of seasons.
Come with the reminder that love does not depend on
perfection but on willingness to risk connection.

Come into the unready manger of our hearts
that we may feel the warmth of new life
and give flesh to the promise of hope
that cries to bring healing into our world.


• “Christmas - The World’s Day of Thanksgiving for Children”
By Sophia Lyon Fahs (Edited extract)

Christmas is a reminder… that 'every child, healthily born, is a savior,' especially to her/his parents.
Our children save us from closing our minds to new wisdom,
from losing our zest for living,
and from spending our days eagerly and rigidly.

Through identifying with them we become again as little children
and experience afresh the thrill of discovering the new.

‘When a child is born a parent is created.’
Who can hold a newly born babe in their arms without tenderness?
What parent does not wonder what secret feelings move behind a baby’s face?
Or who does not ponder without a prayer the possibilities the future hides?
Who could wish for eternity if children were to cease being born?
We have much reason to celebrate Christmas as a day of thanksgiving for children.

Christmas should remind us that every night a child is born is a holy night...

Hymn/Song  "Here in the Dryness and Dust(Tune: ‘Spean’,
Here in the dryness and dust of our climate, 
snow is remote as the tale we repeat, 
barren the ground in the heat of the outback,
barren the welcome: they wait on the street.

Mary and Joseph stand stunned and disabled, 
wonder what shelter they'll find for the night, 
here in the colour and warmth of the sunshine 
we can imagine the fear of their plight.

Warm is the straw on the floor of the stable, 
soft is the sun as it filters through trees,
now it is Christmas we welcome the Christ-child,
all of creation is brought to its knees.

Love is incarnate, the source of all being
cradled by Mary, yes, born on this earth;
looking she loves him, though strained and exhausted, 
knowing her child is of infinite worth. 
© Andrew Pratt 2005


A Christmas Hymn”  (Tune: 88.88)
Around the crib all peoples throng
In honour of the Christ-child's birth,
And raise again the ancient song:
'Goodwill to all, and peace on earth.'

But not alone on Christmas morn
Was God made one with humankind:
Each time a girl or boy is born,
Incarnate deity we find.

This Christmastide let us rejoice
And celebrate our human worth,
Proclaiming with united voice
The miracle of every birth.

Round every crib all people throng
To honour God in each new birth,
And raise again the ancient song:
'Goodwill to all, and peace on earth.’ (John A Storey)

• Luke 2:8-20  (Inclusive Text)

In the countryside close by there were shepherds
who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch
their flocks during the night.

The angel of God appeared to them and the glory of God
shone around them. They were terrified, but the angel said,
Do not be afraid.
Listen, I bring you news of great joy,
a joy to be shared by the whole people.

Today in the town of David
a saviour has been born to you who is the Christ.
And here is a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.

And suddenly with the angel
there was a great throng of the heavenly host,
praising God and singing,
'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all who enjoy God's favour'.

Now when the angels had gone from them into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
"Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened
which God has made known to us."

So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby lying in the manger.

When they saw the child
they repeated what they had been told about him,
and everyone who heard it was astonished 
at what the shepherds had to say.

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen.
It was exactly as they had been told.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Theology between Pulpit and Pew.
Or an old one from me

Or this personal article: YES! TO CHRISTMAS AND ALL ITS TINSEL...

Or an Address on Christmas and Popular Culture given at a local Unitarian Fellowship HERE
Or my book 
Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity.

And then consider these comments from an Australian colleague, Revd Dr John Squires,
on “Singing Sin at Christmas” - all part of a FaceBook conversation, before you write your sermon…

Have you ever noticed how some of the favourite carols contain the classic denunciation of the state of humanity,
declaring that we are mired in sin, caught in our wickedness, and desperately in need of redemption?
I wonder who enjoys belting out those lines?

There is the relatively delicate reference in verse 3 of “O little town of Bethlehem”, which asserts:
“No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him,
still the dear Christ enters in”. 

And there is the full-on condemnation in the third verse of [the traditional] “Joy to the World”:
“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground:
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found”,
with the final repeated another two times for good measure!
(In the Australian hymn book Together in Song, this verse is mercifully omitted.)

And this heavy weight of sin is placed fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the newborn infant in some of our carols:
“Child for us sinners, poor and in the manger” (O come, all you faithful, verse 5).
“Child who inherits all our transgressions, all our de fits on him fall” (Child in the Manger, verse 1)
“O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray, cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today” (O little town of Bethlehem, verse 4)
“This day is born a Saviour of a pure virgin bright, to free all those who trust in him from Satan’s power and might” (God rest you Merry, Gentlemen, verse 4)

It is as if the newborn baby is being told that he needs to get to it, straight away, dealing with all that sin, as soon as he is born!!

These lines appear to affirm “the universal sinfulness of all humanity” which, it is claimed, existed in the form of “original sin” from the moment that each and every infant emerged from their mother’s womb. And some of them appear to relish the situation with full-on evangelical fervour, complete with fire and brimstone (witness the intensity of the verse quoted above from “Joy to the World”).

I am reminded of the delightful line in verse 3 of Charles Wesley’s hymn,
“Let earth and heaven combine”, which gleefully declares,
“He deigns in flesh to appear, wildest extremes to join, to bring our vileness near and make us all divine”.
 (The hymn book I use places this amidst the Christmas carols.)

If you, like me, consider that the notion of “original sin” and the saga of “creation—fall—redemption” is a later interpretative lens placed over the biblical witness … then are you content to let these lines slide past (perhaps singing them softly)?
Or would it be better for us to call for them to be omitted, or completely rewritten?

Silence for Personal Reflection

Special Music

A Christmas Litany (Optional)
People stand as they are able

Blessed are they who find Christmas
in the fragrant eucalypt,
the song of the cicada,
and the soft flicker of candles…
To them shall come memories of love and happiness.

Blessed are they who find Christmas
in the Christmas star…
Their lives may ever reflect its light and beauty.

Blessed are they who find Christmas in the age-old story
of a child born in a stable and laid in a manger…
To them a little child will always mean
hope and promise in a troubled world.

Blessed are they who find Christmas
in the joy of gifts sent lovingly to others…
They shall share the gladness and joy
of the shepherds and sages of old.

Blessed are they who find Christmas
in the message of Jesus of Nazareth… 
They shall ever strive to help bring
peace on earth, good will to all.


A Christmas Day Litany
Celebrate this day, this Christmas day!
Shout Australia, our God is with us.
Christ is born!
All  From Darwin and Melbourne,
Canberra and Kalgoolie,
let the story be told.
Let the carols be sung.

In the hot, dusty paddocks
where headers are stopped for the day,
let the music be heard;
All  While the temperature soars at Broome and Coober Pedy,
and people crowd beaches
with surf board and sun screen lotion,
remember his birth,

Around the smoking barbecues
with the fragrant aroma of cooking food,
talk about the gift from God;
All  By tables loaded with crisp salads
or roast turkey and plum pudding,
contemplate God's love in Christ.

Wherever this birth is announced
and this day is honoured,
All  To you is born this day
a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord!

Christ Jesus has come among us for ever;
All  his birthday offers new hope on earth. Bruce Prewer/web site.2003

Hymn/Song   "Christmas Bowl(Tune:'Winchester Old', 86.86)
An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
a challenge there we see,
to share with neighbours in all lands
our one humanity.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
may our commitment be
that peace and justice in all lands
shall be reality.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
to set the captives free
and joining people in all lands
in one community.

A cup of wine, uplifted hands:
O Christ, lead us to be
your body broken for all lands,
now and eternity.  
Robert Faser


God’s Surprise”  (Tune: 'Scarlet Ribbons')
Who would think that what was needed
To transform and save the earth
Might not be a plan or army,
Proud in purpose, proved in worth?
Who would think, despite derision,
That a child should lead the way?
God surprises earth with heaven,
Coming here on Christmas Day.

Shepherds watch and wise men wonder,
Monarchs scorn and angels sing;
Such a place as none would reckon
Hosts a holy helpless thing;
Stable beasts and by-passed stranger
Watch a baby laid in hay:
God surprises earth with heaven
Coming here on Christmas Day.

Centuries of skill and science
Span the past from which we move,
Yet experience questions whether,
With such progress, we improve.
While the human lot we ponder,
Lest our hopes and humour fray,
God surprises earth with heaven
Coming here on Christmas Day. 
© Iona Community/John Bell


Christmas 2019”  (Tune: ‘Scarlet Ribbons’)
Human child of human mother,
see the Christ has come to birth,
demonstrating now in living
every person's human worth.
God has chosen, in this moment,
such a messy, mucky start,
choosing risky, earthly living,
God immersed in human art.

Mary holds the God of heaven,
Joseph marvels at his child,
then imagination wonders,
fears are running free and wild.
Certainly a new beginning,
for these youngsters, for the world,
all, as yet, is veiled, in waiting
for God's grace to be unfurled.

So we wait, we know the story,
lose the sense of shock and awe,
heard each year the well-worn carols,
that we sang in years before.
But for now a new song beckons,
asks that we might join the scene
watch the couple hold the Godhead,
guessing what this gift might mean.  (Andrew Pratt 17/12/2019)

Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd. (Hope Publishing in the USA)


The generosity of life is all around us.
Even in difficult times we can discover the spirit of generosity.

May we receive this generosity for our growing enrichment,
and may we give to this generosity
for the world's growing compassion. 
Francis Macnab/h

Conversation with the Children

In Solidarity
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In the living of this day,
May we find the courage to let go of our fears,
accept the challenges before us,
and open ourselves to the still, small voice. 
(Gretta Vosper/hb).

And so we take a flame and light our special Care Candle…
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.

And let us recommit ourselves to the inclusive ways of Jesus.

The ‘Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer in your original language, as that is appropriate.

All  Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.

Give us each day our daily bread.
Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon everyone in debt to us.
And do not bring us to trial into a trying situation.
  (Burton Mack/Q)


Christmas Beatitudes
By Carter Heyward.

v1  Blessed are those who are kind, especially when it’s hard,
v2  Blessed are those angry for justice in situations of unfairness and oppression,
v3  Blessed are the compassionate in times of hatred,
Blessed are those who speak honestly when pummeled by lies — and who seek truth when confronted by fake news,

v1  Blessed are those who keep their courage in the face of belligerent bullies,
v2  Blessed are women who stand up to abusive men — and men who stand with, not on, women,
v3  Blessed are the queer who do not walk straight and narrow paths,
Blessed are black lives — and white lives who know that black lives matter,

v1  Blessed are the earth and animals among those indifferent to their well-being,
v2  Blessed are non-violent resisters whose enemies hope you will pick up guns,
v3  Blessed are you when people shake their heads because you refuse to accept authoritarian rulers as “normal,”
Blessed are you peacemakers who refuse cheap grace,
You are daughters and sons of the Sacred,
brothers and sisters of Jesus,
friends of the Spirit,
Salaam. Shalom. Peace.

(If it is your tradition to celebrate Holy Communion/Eucharist on Christmas Day then the liturgy which follows, based on the writings of Australian Michael Morwood, may be of interest...)

v1  We celebrate a Creative Presentness, a God-here-with-us
beyond our words, beyond our images,
a reality that grounds and sustains everything that exists.

We sense this Creative Presentness
in the immensity of our universe,
in the incredible display of life-forms on this planet,
All  and in the development of consciousness in the human species.

All our collected human wisdom
is a visible expression of this Creative Presentness
Wm   active for millions of years in human development,
Mn  active in all places, at all times,
All  in individuals and cultures,
seeking expression in the betterment of humanit

As Christians we rejoice in the birth of Jesus.
In him we see the fullness of human possibility:
to make God visible in our lives.
In him we have seen this presentness
come to expression in human form.

Like all of us he grew in wisdom as he aged.
 He questioned.
He searched for meaning.
He shaped his convictions.
He experienced love and came to know
love's connectedness with God.

He stood firmly in his own religious tradition
and preached good news to all people
dreaming of a better humanity.
 We rejoice that his teaching sets us free
from imagining a manipulative, intervening God
and from thinking we are distant from the Creative Presence
in which our very existence is grounded.

We rejoice that Jesus led people
to discover the sacred in the ordinary:
 in the crowd, in the lowly,
in everyday life,
in human yearnings to be better people,
and in being neighbour to one another.

Bread and Wine
And so we recall the ancient story...

We remember the night before he died, 
when he again shared a meal with his friends,
Jesus took some bread, and set aside some wine,
honouring the God of faithful presence 
in the ordinary
and the ups and downs of life.

He gave thanks for all the blessings in his life.
Broke the bread.
Break Bread

Poured out the wine.
Pour White Wine

And shared both with his friends
encouraging them to gather in memory of him
and to live in a covenant of love with their God.

We break bread as Jesus broke bread,
mindful of the call to love generously and faithfully,
whatever the cost.

We pour out wine mindful of our responsibility
to be bearers of forgiveness, tolerance, and understanding.
 To this commitment we give our ‘Amen'
and offer it as our Christmas gift
to our family and friends and neighbours.

The Bread and White Wine is served

After Communion
We give thanks for God being with us
in the love from family and friends,
in whatever has been,
in the circumstances of life now,
and in whatever the future holds for us.

Our Christmas prayer is that we
may recognise and actively acknowledge
the presence of the sacred in places we are reluctant to look:
in the stables of our own lives,
among the downtrodden in our society,
in refugees,
in people who are different from us.
 May we recognise God-in-us
and give generous expression
to this wonderful gift we all share
  (Adapt.Michael Morwood/pns)


Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Carol of the Earth"
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
how lovely are your branches.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
how lovely are your branches.
Upon those branches hangs a ball
which is most delicate and small
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
how lovely are your branches.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
you are the tree most loved.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
you are the tree most loved.
The ball which hangs there with such grace,
it is the earth which spins in space.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
you are the tree most loved.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Mysterious God,
confounding our expectations
meeting us where we least expect to find you…
Stay with us now.

Child of the manger,
healing our pain, sharing our weakness… 
Stay with us now.

Source of life,
birth of God within our own experience…
Stay with us now.

Stay with us in our frailty
stay with us on our journey…
Walk beside us, live within us,
lead us to glory, lead us home. 
(Iona Community)


We are all a part of the selfsame tree…
All  The bark and limbs are all akin,
And the leaves are expressive of something within.
All  The roots deep down from the good brown earth
Give forth their little or their great worth.

Blood of one red blood are we,
All  Like the sap that flows from the same selfsame tree,
From the fountain of life, superb and free;
All  We all are a branch of the Mother Tree,
Who loves and nurtures humanity.
 (Evelyn C. Reynolds/pc)

Words of Blessing
And may the God of Christmas fill your hearts 
with all joy and peace in believing!

The blessing of the manger, God's creation all around.
The blessing of the shepherds, God's people with feet on the ground.
The blessing of the angels, good news for all, and peace for the world…
Be with you all now and for ever.
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn/Song  (Cont.) "Carol of the Earth"
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
your beauty green will teach me
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
your beauty green will teach me
that planet earth can ever be
a friendly home for you and me.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
your beauty green will teach me. 
Andrew Hill

Postlude Song (Singers only)
Merry Christmas(Tune: Original: W G James)
Sun gleams bright, Hearts are light,
Merry, merry Christmas.
Bells ring out, Children shout,
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Sheep in fold, Shine like gold,
As the day is dawning,
Riding by, Stockmen cry,
‘Welcome Christmas morning’.

Golden day, When we say,
Merry, merry Christmas.
In the street, Where we meet,
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
And with pride, Far and wide,
All our homes adoring,
Earth and sky, sound the cry,
‘Welcome Christmas morning’.

So with joy, One and all,*
Sing with us together;
On this morn, Christ was born,
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Raise the song, Loud and strong
In the shing weather,
Joy bells ring, Christ is King,
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
(John Wheeler, 1961)
Words adapted 

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

Please include any reproduction of hymns/songs for local church use
on your Music Licence returns, as appropriate

Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
(COC) Carol our Christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1996.
(FSSC) Haddon, G. P.
Feminist Sacred Songs for Christmas. Scotland. Plus Publications, 1994.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Mack, B. L.
The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and Christian Origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
Macnab, F.
Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Morwood, M.
Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
(PaT) Murray, S. E.
A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
Seaburg, C. (ed).
Celebrating Christmas. An Anthology. Boston. UUMA, 1983.
Vosper, G. Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Wallace, W. L.
Something to Sing About. Hymns and Reflections in Search of a Contemporary Spirituality. Melbourne. JBCE, 1981.
(ACC) Wheeler, J.
Five Australian Christmas Carols. Books 1 & 3. London. Chappell & Co. 1948/1961
Wild Goose Worship Group.
Cloth for the Cradle. Worship Resources and Readings for Advent, Christmas & Epiphany. Glasgow. Iona Community, 1997.

Web sites/Other:
Killoran, Hill, Storey. UUA Worship Web. Boston.  <>EndFragment  "Here in the Dryness and Dust".
Andrew Pratt.
 UK. Direct from the author.
Chris Avis. “Here Before Us” PCN Britain web site.
The Wise Man's Confession”. Musings by Jim Burklo. 2016.
“Christmas - The World’s Day of Thanksgiving for Children” By Sophia Lyon Fahs. And "We are all a part of the selfsame tree…” By Evelyn C. Reynolds. Extracted from The Poetry of Christmas. Boston. CLFUU, 1964