Christmas Eve Devotion 2017
Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem
24 December 2017
Song: sing verses 1 and 6 of “Light a Candle in a Darkened Place” by Care Stainsby
Light a candle in a darkened place,
In its flame see hope on every face,
Christ our Savior will be born,
Heralding a brand new dawn.
So let it burn.
Do not fear, today I bring good cheer,
Jesus Christ, the Saviour now is here,
God has lit his flame of love,
Through his Son from Heaven above.
So let it burn.
Luke 2:8-20, 10-11, 20
“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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’… And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
Watchers of the Night
In the village of the night watchers, down the hill from Bethlehem, the shepherds were gathered… and behold the most amazing news they had ever heard was given to them by the angels.
One of my friends likes to remind people that this message came to the simple ordinary people. The shepherds… it was not given to one, but to many… they had a big choice to make. They responded by walking uphill to Bethlehem with joy, anticipation and wonder in their hearts… would they see the new born child? How would their lives change in those moments?
Today around Bethlehem, the local Christian community (and all Palestinians) face so many challenges. Illegal Israeli Settlements continue to be built, taking more land which once was open spaces where shepherds took their sheep to graze. The separation wall and other barriers also impede upon the land, which affects both the people and the animals, as well as agriculture. How do we receive the message of Christ in our midst today? Faith replacing fear, in the midst of our daily reality of injustice, encourages us to work towards real justice and real peace.
The shepherds returned with joy and praise… they returned with the big news of the anticipation of hope, not knowing fully what would happen, but believing that indeed God was doing something different through the life of this child we know as Jesus! This Christmas Eve, we too can live with this joy and praise in our hearts and lives, and continue to hold onto hope.
Light the Christ candle.
Let us pray, May the anticipation of hope and justice be realized through the transforming life in Jesus Christ. Lord, prepare our lives for your amazing grace to be realized in us, so that we can stand for justice and love in this world. Amen.
Written by Rev. Kristen L. Brown, Methodist Liaison in Palestine and Israel, serving through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church
Picture credit: These murals are in the Chapel designed by Antonio Barluzzi at the Shepherd’s Field in Beit Sahour. The first one is the angles giving the news to the shepherds, the second one the shepherds visit the cave in Bethlehem where Jesus is born, and the third one the shepherds return with joy after seeing the Christ child. Pictures taken by Rev. Angleena Keizer, a mission partner with the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Devotions provided by the Methodist Liaison office in Jerusalem, through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, The Methodist Church of Great Britain, and the World Methodist Council of Churches.