In the bleak midwinter the earth lets out its groan
Some hearts strong as iron, others cold as stone.
In the bleak midwinter, the waiting seems so long
What will we become as we sing our waiting song?
In the bleak midwinter we live in quick-fix days.
Waiting is not trendy, speed is all the rage.
And though I keep on racing, keep on rushing on
Are you here in the waiting, in Advent’s precious song?
Ezekiel 36 v 26, Psalm 40
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel,
We get so stuck in all this ‘buy and sell’.
We look for meaning on a shop shelf,
As this dark world lies warring with itself.
Come soon, again, and melt the clouding scales that mask our eyes
To where true hope and justice lies.
Rejoice! Rejoice! He knocks again and waits for our heart’s door
To let his life return once more.
Revelation 3 v 21
Come, Thou long expected Jesus –
Born to set your people free.
We can feel as if we’re drowning,
Sinking in life’s stormy sea.
From our fears and wrongs release us,
Though we put that brave face on.
May we find some time to call out,
Cry to you salvation’s song.
Matthew 14 vv 25-32
When they call out, well they know it’s gonna be,
It’s gonna be a prayer they’re calling out to you.
And when they hang on, well they know it’s gonna be
The living God they hope will soon be coming through.
And they would wait 200 years,
And they would wait 200 more,
400 years of waiting for the promised coming of the Lord.
The world was changing, taking shape,
Through those 400 years and on,
And when the promised saviour came
The stage was set for transformation.
Romans 5 v 6, Galatians 4 vv 4-5, 1 John 1 vv1-2
‘Tween the Old Testament and New
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Into our world of hurt and pain.
Will not stand back at a safe and shiny distance,
Comes to help us once again.
Understanding, smaller than we might expect, present in the dark with us,
Asks us to pause, and start again.
Philippians 2 vv 6-8, Hebrews 4 v 15
Silent night, holy night,
All was calm, all was bright.
Round the trenches, two sides stopped their war
Sharing friendship, football and more.
Guns so silent that night,
Peace on earth paused the fight.
Isaiah 2 v 4, Psalm 46 v 9, Luke 2 vv 13-14
Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,
A different kind of king.
Looks remarkably like one of us,
The ordinary God.
He sits beside the broken folks,
Befriends abandoned ones.
Listens to those who’ve lost their hope,
Brings kindness where there’s none.
Ezekiel 34 11-13, Psalm 23, Zechariah 9 v 9
I’m dreaming of a safe Christmas,
Unlike the ones so many know.
Where the trees lie broken,
And truth’s unspoken,
And children see destruction grow.
I’m dreaming of a good Christmas,
One without human shields and fear.
May those days of darkness be gone,
And may these days of hopefulness be near.
Matthew 2 vv 16-18
From a distance
The world looks so serene,
With its snow capped mountains white.
From a distance
The news comes near to us,
And the world seems not so bright.
From a distance
God comes close to us,
Stepping into space and time.
He’s the sign of hope,
He’s the man of peace,
He’s the way to start again.
Jeremiah 29 v 11
So this is Advent, and what have we done?
Well maybe not big things, but small vital ones.
And maybe this Christmas, we’ll do what we can.
To say that folks matter, with the strength that we have.
In the run up to Christmas, we hope that you find
Some hope and some laughter, and some peace of mind.
Isaiah 9 v 6, Malachi 4 v 2
When those three kings came travelling far,
They were the first to follow that star.
Since those days so many more
Have followed that wandering star.
O Star of wonder, lights the night,
Shining in the gloom, so bright.
Leads us to this caring son
Courageous, just and chosen one.
Luke 1 vv 78-79, Matthew 2 vv 1-6
God rest you stressful people now,
May he lift your dismay.
His son has come to walk with us,
Since that first Christmas day.
To bring us hope, and help and strength,
To guide us through each day,
Whether we’re full of comfort and joy,
Or struggle and strife,
We can bring to him the troubles of this life.
Psalm 116, Philippians 4 v 6-7
A good king went out venturing
Left his home of light,
Became a child so small and weak
Was born into the night.
He slowly grew into a man,
Strong and brave and true.
Lit a fire that none can quench,
A light for me and you.
John 1 vv 1-4
Hark, the Herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the new born king.’
Sang it first that Christmas night,
Gave those shepherds quite a fright.
Their song goes on each night and day,
Whispered in creation’s way.
When we pause, and stop rushing,
We hear their song, about the king.
Psalm 19 v 1-4, Luke 2 vv 8-20
A big news angel
Comes down here,
Appears to Mary splendidly.
But she’s very scared
When she sees him there,
And hears she’ll have God’s baby.
Joseph finds it’s tough,
But agrees enough,
No need to bring the cavalry.
Mary finds it tough at home,
Joe won’t leave her there alone.
Takes her to the census town,
A journey into the unknown.
Won’t be at home for Christmas…
Luke 1 vv 26-38, Matthew 1 vv 18-25
Santa on his sleigh.
Mulled wine smells,
Children’s costume play.
Parties, pies and Cliff.
Find God’s greatest gift.
Philippians 2 vv 5-11
Oh little town of Bethlehem
You’re etched in history.
A place of strife and loss and pain
Gave birth to mystery.
The Bread of Life was born in
A place called House of Bread,
That life of God then broken
Was raised up from the dead.
Micah 5 v 2, Matthew 2 v 6
The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And the life of God entwined with ours
When he took on flesh and blood.
The holly it gets battered
By sun and rain and snow,
And Jesus took the storms of life
As he walked the paths we know.
The holly bears a thorn,
Avoid it if you will.
Yet Jesus wore a crown of thorns,
When they killed him on that hill.
The holly is so festive,
As we celebrate Christmas.
A time to think on Jesus Christ,
When God came close to us.
Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 4 vv 14-15
O come all you people,
Full of faith and doubt,
O come find yourself down in Bethlehem.
Come with your clutter, bring your hopes and fears.
God’s stepped into this world,
Amongst the dark and dirt,
In places unexpected,
He’s with us today.
Matthew 11 v 28 & Luke 19 v 10
I saw three men come riding in
On camels making quite a din,
Not Christmas day and they weren’t kings,
These travellers in the morning.
These rustic riders, seen as wise,
These magi men who read the skies,
They’d pounded dust across the earth
To find a child so regal.
They called upon the wrong king,
They questioned and alerted him.
Then journeyed on and found the one
Who formed the camels they rode on.
The stars reflected in their gaze,
The dust they pounded many days,
The wisdom guiding through the haze,
Came from the king of the cradle.
I saw three men go riding out,
They’d found the babe they’d heard about,
They honoured him with all they brought
And slipped away in the darkness.
Matthew 2 vv 1-12, Psalm 72 vv 10-14
Angels from the realms of glory,
Busy through this Christmas time,
Sneaking into dreams and visions,
Guiding, nudging, saving lives.
At Christmas and – all year round – they’re still working,
Often in disguise.
They bring God’s love – into earth – changing lives,
Messengers from heaven.
Matthew 2 vv 13-23, Hebrews 13 vv 1-2
I’m not sure I want it Christmas every day,
When the tills start ringing and the songs begin to play.
If we were stuck with Christmas every day
We’d be quite stressed and be too broke to pay.
Plus the baby did not stay there every day,
Not stuck in that poor manger in the hay.
He grew up and wore the shoes of normal folk,
Went from babe to boy and then became a bloke.
Had a mission and a call to follow through,
A life transforming quest for me and you…
Luke 2 v 52, Romans 5 v 8
Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall
Are you wrestling with the pressure of it all?
Do you stand in supermarkets?
And wonder at the fuss?
About this baby born for all of us?
So here it is – counter-Christmas
Shepherds kneeling, their eyes wide.
All of us invited, strong and weak,
To come in inside.
Away in a manger, a long way from home,
Mary gave birth, though she wasn’t alone.
The local mums there would have heard and dropped by,
And as Mary pushed hard they heard the baby’s first cry.
The cattle are mooing, the baby awakes,
And little Lord Jesus, much crying he makes.
He was a real baby, he was a real child,
And when he grew up he was not meek and mild.
Be near us Lord Jesus, as you were on that day,
You came down among us and will come back some day.
He came to do battle – to bring light in the dark,
To invite us to follow and to give a new start.
On the first day of Christmas all this was sent to me:
Twelve hours of travelling,
Eleven room refusals,
Ten smelly stables,
Nine months pregnant.
Eight hours of labour –
Seven animals watching,
Six o’clock birth
Five minutes peace.
Three wise men,
Two startled doves,
And a baby to set the world free.