Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  OR
For continuing access make sure you 'Favourite' or ‘Bookmark’ my web site:

Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
’Refresh’ each page before reading - especially if you are using Google Chrome - to make sure to get my latest edition

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

Check out Articles for some past writings on Christmas


24 December 2018. Christmas Eve. (White).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Christ/Jesus comes not to show up or illuminate
the deformity of a fallen world, but rather
to release a beautiful and holy world from bondage”
(Noel ODonohue)

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 (N) Nation, past, present, emerging,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

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

A Liturgy for a Blue Christmas/Long Night Service can be found HERE


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/Slides 

Gathering Music


If in the Southern Hemisphere
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is struck three times

From the east to the west,
flowing towards all people on earth.
comes the gentle light of hope
born in human form.  (Dorothy McRae-McMahon/Adapted)
All  Watch and see, the wonder of the gift.

On this Christmas Eve may we celebrate
the richness and diversity of life.

If in the Northern Hemisphere
In darkness seeds are drawn to germinate,
flowers prepare to bloom and our dreams unfold.
All   Darkness is gift.

In darkness, the edges blur. Boundaries between reality and fantasy,
 between friend and stranger become fluid, opening new possibilities.
All   Darkness is gift.

In darkness, when our eyes rest, our ears become more attentive to the sounds of story,
of lullaby, of wind, of loved ones breathing in the night.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness, we find space for reflection;
for deep, dream filled and refreshing sleep.
We are bidden to journey into the unconscious.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness of the womb, we were formed in great complexity.
Under the cover of darkness, many creatures have their being.
Only in the deepest darkness, can we see the star- studded sky.
All  Darkness is a gift of grace.
On this longest night, we celebrate the many gifts of darkness
.  (
Non-Theistic Liturgy)

Music of Reflection

Christmas Eve is a time for candlelight.
It is a time when one desires little more
than family and soft music.

Who can say what passes through our hearts on Christmas Eve?
Strange thoughts.
Undefinable emotions.
Sudden tears.

Christmas Eve is a time to be quietly glad.
It is a time to wonder, to give thanks,
and of quiet awakening to beauty
that still lives on through the strife
of a war-torn world.

And Christmas Eve is also a time for memories and remembering.

For some, the memories are of loved family members
who have died, and the festive season
makes the pain of those losses ever more real.

For others, the memories are of happier times than we know now,
felt as the anguish of broken relationships,
the insecurity around employment,
the anxiety of illness or poor health,
or the emptiness of loss after drought or bushfire.

All these feelings are with us this night as we gather in this sacred place.
Here we are safe to feel what we feel:
to acknowledge our sadness,
to share our concern,
to release our anger,
to face our emptiness,
and still to know that God by what ever name,
is made present in the caring thoughts and deeds of others.

So let us  be and share and remember and receive,
assured that we are not alone in our life experiences.

A brief period of silence is kept

Bowl of Tears
As a symbol of the memories of those loved and lost
we place this bowl of tears in this special place.
A bowl of water is put in place

Remembering Candles
This first candle we light
to remember those whom we have loved and lost.
(First candle is lit)

We pause to remember
their name,
their face,
their voice,
the memory that binds them to us in this season.
All   May God's caring love surround them.

This second candle we light is to mend the pain of loss.
The loss of relationships,
the loss of jobs,
the loss of health
the loss of home.
(Second candle is lit)

We pause to gather up the pain of the past and offer it to God,
asking that from God's hands
we receive the gift of peace.
All  Refresh, restore, renew us Gracious God,
and lead us into the future.

This third candle we light
is to remember ourselves this Christmas time.
(Third candle is lit)

We pause and remember the past weeks and months and years:
the disbelief,
the anger,
the down times,
the poignancy of reminiscing,
the hugs and handshakes of family and friends,
all those who stood with us.

We give thanks for all the support we have known.
All  Let us remember that dawn defeats darkness.

This fourth candle we light
to remember the gift of hope
which the Christmas story offers to us.
(Fourth candle is lit)

We remember that God is our companion, who shares our life,
blessing us, and fills us with longing and with courage.
All   Let us remember the One who holds us in love.

May the warmth of these candles radiate
A ray of hope,
A spark of joy,
A glow of love,
To all earth’s inhabitants...
 The gong is struck three times

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) Some specific resources on Terrorism 

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God Molds the Shapes of Life"  (Tune:  66.66.88)                                                   38 TMT
God molds the shapes of life,
drawing the flow of tides,
firing the sunlight's blaze,
glazing the night with pride:
God gives the love which warms and moves
the patterned rhythm life provides.

Ponder the rising sap
changing to leaf's decay;
think of the winter's death
turning to spring's new day,
and in these cycles find the shapes
of all God dreams and all God makes.

Pulse of the veins and lungs,
seasons of human hearts -
patterns that intertwine,
shaping our thought and art;
all these are part of nature's flow -
the life of God we reap and sow.

Sing to the God of change,
chaos, and fine design;
hallow the ordered forms
filled with the life divine.
In God the universe is one
and sings the hymn which God first sung!
  William L Wallace


Come Celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of Life’, Colin Gibson)               17 HoS
Come celebrate the gift of life:
creation’s journey from the star
whose first great flaring forth of light
responded to God’s word of power.
Enable us, O God, to see
your living word is in us still;
this vibrant possibility
within our human lives fulfill.

Come celebrate the gift of love,
potential in each human soul,
revealed by Jesus as he strove
to heal our world and make us whole.
Enable us, O God, to choose
beyond the inborn needs of self;
in loving, be prepared to lose
our boundaries, and find new life.

Come celebrate the gift of power:
the flow of God within each soul,
which calls us in this present hour
to see creation as a whole.
Enable us, O God, to know
your life is present in all things;
and may our lives, within that flow,
reflect the joy creation sings. (Margaret Bond)
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome   In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering at (NN) during this Christmas season, 
for the first time or who have returned after an absence.

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


Centering Silence
Let there now be a quiet time among us.

May this time renew our hope.
May it refresh our courage.
May it lift our spirits.
May it restore us in faith.

Special Music


Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).

Reader:  Holiness, Word, music, song -
into this night, your cry comes, once again.
All   Open our ears to hear you.
Open our mouths to sing you.
Open our very lives,

That we might live you in the world,
All   Light within Light. (Gretta Vosper/hb)

Hebrew Scriptures:
Isaiah 9:2-7 
(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.

You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as harvesters rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

For the yoke of Israel's burden,
and the staff for its shoulder, the rod of its oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

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.

The zeal of our God of hosts will do this.

The World Around us:
"Beatitudes of Christmas Tide"
By David Rhys Williams.

On this blessed night let us worship at the altar of joy,
for to miss the joy of Christmas is to miss its holiest secret.

Let us enter into the spiritual delights which are the natural heritage of childlike hearts.