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Luke 2.1-20 Christmas 2016
Yesterday evening we had an angel in here at the Children's Christmas Service. Can you believe it?
[Karen appears on the stage singing Hark the Herald — first line].
Crikey what was that? [congregation shouts it's an angel]
I don't see an angel? Where is she?
[Congregation point and shout — angel disappears as I turn around. I do a bit of the business around this and end up saying 'wow, well fancy that. Here is an angel and she looks just like Karen. Amazing. Do you reckon Karen is an angel? Etc. I invite Karen to come down off the stage and to sit down in her place near the lectern]
Well now dear angel, I remember a few years ago I was talking to some youngsters about angels and they told me what they thought about them.
Sara who is 6 told me When it gets cold, angels go north for the winter.
Mitchell 7 Angels work for God and watch over us children when God has to go do something else.
Vicki, 8 Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the kid get over it.
Henry 8 My guardian angel helps me with maths, but he's not much good for science.
Scott 7 Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter.
Cathy 9 All angels are girls because they've got to wear dresses and boys don't go for it.
Olivia 9 Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why but scientists are working on it.
Daniel 9 Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The basic message is where you went wrong before you got dead.
Matthew 9 It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to heaven then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.
Kathryn 9 My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start because she helped me so much while she was still down here on earth.
'And what did the angel say to the shepherds "be not afraid; for behold I bring you goods news of great joy which will be for all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord".
Wow! So many things happen in our world and in our own lives which frighten us and test our faith and our spirit. Every night when I watch the news I am in tears when I see some of th terrible thing we human beings are doing to one another. And here in our city through the year we reach out as so many good people do to help those who are poor, in distress and need our love. I remember in Christchurch after the earthquakes, before Christmas we rigged up a huge angel on a great crane to hang over the city to be a sign of hope and encouragenment in the traumatic and terrible times we were going through. It was a great symbol and remnded us of all the good things that God was doing amongst us in this difficult time. You know the earthquakes were not an act of God, just like the recent ones were not an act of God. They were the result of the earth doing what the earth does a dynamic organism. The act of God we saw were in the compassion, care and courage and generosity people showed and are showing to one another. And in the midst of the agonising things happening in places like Aleppo, there are people doing just the same. It is often in the worst of times that you see the best in people.
For us who are Christians we can offer the message of the angel to the city and diocese we serve in the name of Christ. Love came down at Christmas - not a sentimental tinsel love, but a deep, strong and powerful passion for peace with justice for all people and this planet earth our home. We will roll up our sleeves and do all we can to live out this hope and love. The humna spirit will not be denied
St Luke tells us in his rendering of the Christmas story that 'suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying’” glory to God in the highest and peace to God's people on earth"' God has shown himself manifestly in us in the times we reach out in care, compassion and courage to one another for the sake of peace and justice. And God's love and grace will continue to inspire and encourage us into the future. May we, this Christmas time and always, be part of that multitude of the heavenly host and continue to work with all people of goodwill for peace and love and justice in our city and the world.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our creator
WE'ree one family.
Let me walk with each other
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.
The joy of a thousand angels to you. The love of the Christ child and God's peace to you, this Christmas and always.
So, come, take the bread, drink the wine, these symbols of the word made flesh, the constant presence of unconditional love for each one of us and the whole creation. Come this Christmas Day and be once again refreshed and renewed and inspired to face our fears and live our lives in love for one another and for a vision of peace and justice for all.
Come, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more, you who have been to this sacrament often, and you who have not been for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus and you who feel you have failed. Come, be not afraid, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, for to you this day, once again, is born a saviour, who is the messiah, the Lord’