God came in Jesus of Nazareth to reveal the power of God’s love and healing. In the birth of Jesus we realize that God shares life with us intimately. We meet God “in the flesh” of human struggle and most especially in the midst of human love. Christmas celebrates the incarnation of God: God “in the flesh” of human life. (Carne comes from the Latin for meat or flesh.)
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Every year on Christmas, we hear the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2:1-20. Jesus is placed in a manger at his birth because there is no room in the inn. This serves as a constant reminder to Christians that God identifies with the weak, the poor, and the outcast.
Jesus is born, Sun of Righteousness, and the world in illumined by new light. As the light emanating from the manger in Geertgen tot Sint Jan’s The Nativity, at Night (1490, National Gallery, London) illuminates all the faces of those present at the birth, so too we, in light of Jesus incarnate, see our world and our relationships anew.
The light from the manger reveals that the dream vision has become a reality; new relationships are possible, relationships characterized by the righteousness, wisdom, and peace Jesus comes to bring. All of our expectations of power are upset. God’s grandeur is revealed in the manger, the power of God manifest in a homeless child. The ruler of peace, God’s word of wisdom, has been made flesh, hope incarnate – Jesus Christ lives, moves and has being in this world and the world lives, moves, and has being in Christ – nothing will be the same again. Christ in intimate relationship with us will show us the way to fullness of life: justice, peace, the reign of God!
O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit, he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen (Collect for The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day, BCP p. 212)
The Blessing of a Creche by Anne E. Kitch
Most Holy and Blessed One, You sent your beloved Son into the world as a newborn infant; May the simple manger remind us of your arms that hold us. May blessed Mary remind us of your mothering love. May steadfast Joseph remind us of your fathering love. May the friendly beasts remind us of the goodness of all creation. May the watchful shepherds reminds us of your care for us. May the journeying Magi remind us of the gifts we give and receive. May the glorious angels remind us of the astonishing news of the birth of our Savior. Amen. ( The Anglican Family Prayer Book. Copyright 2004: Church Publishing)