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© 2019 by Catherine Hutton

Christmas

Christmas is probably the most important time of the year for churches and staff.  At this time of year we are most likely to get visitors who don't usually attend, they are looking to be engaged with the services and events and also the people they find.

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A-Maze

 

They began a journey; Mary, Joseph and the unborn child.

Leaving familiar sights, sounds and smells

For the long, cold road to Bethlehem.

 

There began a quest 

among the buzz and bustle of Bethlehem’s visitors;

They searched for space to birth a miracle.

 

He began his life among straw and strangers

With mother and father, shepherds and sheep.

 

Heralded by angels, signified by star;

Promised and provided, the Lord Jesus came:

The Gift of the Father.

 

Through the buzz and bustle of a busy life

Determine to search out the miracle;

For the child, born in the stable is God Incarnate

Who, through himself, brings God to you.

 

Leave familiar sights, sounds and smells…

Begin a journey

Discover Christ Jesus, meet God,

Find yourself.

© Catherine Hutton

Every Created star

Every created star that shines 

Upon this eve of expectation

Bows at the feet of the Lord of Life:

The Creator of Creation.

Utterly God, he comes to Live;

A child and a man with Hope to give.

 

As woman and as man this night

Are pulled, are pulled towards Him:

A call for response from the centre of self

To bow in worship.  To adore Him.

 

The visible invisible

Who is, and ever shall be, God

Bids us return to the heavenly hands

Our hearts of fear and our plans outpoured.

Utterly God, he  comes to give

Intended being – That we might Live.

 

As woman and as man this night

Are pulled, are pulled towards Him:

A call for response from the centre of self

To bow in worship.  To adore Him.

 

Mystery! Divine Incarnate!

Firstborn of Mary, pleased to Be.

Come to your place in heart and creation,

In heaven, on earth – Supremacy!

Utterly God; the Christ is come,

To chaos and fear brings salvation.

 

As woman and as man this night

Are pulled, are pulled towards Him:

Respond to that call from the centre of self

And bow in worship.  And adore Him!

 

Catherine Hutton

2004

Journey through darkness

 

Soft velvet-black, spangled with glitter:

A crescent moon

A darkened earth.

Soft landscape, drawn in shadows

Whilst underfoot

An inky river of darkness

Is the path to the stable and manger-bed.

 

You pass by lit-up halls of laughter –

Are rewarded with a sense of cheer

But still you walk the path you’ve chosen

And strains of party disappear.

 

You keep on travelling through the darkness;

Through the softness of the night….

Climb the hill and see the shepherds

Their humble place transformed with light.

 

You watch, as companies of angels

Come close to earth to sing their song

Night’s velvet-black with glittering spangles

Torn apart in revelation of joy to see heaven come.

 

Your destination is the Bethlehem stable

Your destiny  - the Christ child come

Your journey’s end:  your heart’s desiring

Your cry of praise  - an angel sang.

 

© Catherine Hutton 2/12/05

Led By A Star

Led by a star,

Or by the demands of  daily life,

We are each on a journey.

Some are fun and easy, giving us great joy and satisfaction.

On others, we feel as though we are walking through thick fog, 

With our feet in treacle.

Mary and Joseph’s journey ended with a star

Over the stable;

The wise men travelled to worship the new king.

With the end of one journey begins another…

Who is your travelling companion?

Who is your guide along life’s many journeys?

The Christian chooses to let Jesus lead them,

To trust in his sense of direction,

To confide in Him.

The road ahead is uncertain and has its dangers.

Are you being led along it by

One you trust?

© Catherine Hutton, Christmas 2002.

A Prayer at The Crib

Dear Lord,

Shepherds came to you,

Kings came to you following a star;

It led them right to you.

There you were sleeping in the hay

Amongst all the cows, donkeys and sheep.

They were surprised to see

Such an important person

In such humble surroundings.

 

Lord, you taught us

That however much wealth we have

We are all the same

And that no one should treat one person

With more respect than others.

 

This Christmas, we pray that you will bless us

As we each make our own journey to see you.

Remind us that your love is perfect

And can touch the very depths of our being.

 

Thank you dear Lord.

Amen

Unexpected Snow

 

The day dawned with unexpected brightness;
The wintry sun sending diamond lights
Darting across the ground.
Underfoot, the dull-blacks, damp-greens and sludge-browns
Had been transfigured by an unexpected snowfall;
Subjecting the whole landscape to the
uniform dress of purest white.

 

High beyond the earth-bound blizzard,
of those smallest of stars which fall to the earth,
There shines a brighter star – less transient
Than the dancing sunlight on unexpected snow.

 

A single light penetrates the dullness
Of the murkiest day and the darkest night of the soul:
A multi-faceted jewel of hope, of deep-forgiveness
Facets too of loving-kindness, gracious-acceptance, joyous-peace.
Light in the darkest, most-secret places:
The long-expected gift of Jesus,
Eternal Light in a broken world.

 

The day dawns with unexpected brightness,
God’s only Son enters your heart;
He banishes your hurt and fear, He restores your hope.
He clothes you with a robe of dazzling white.

You are a Saint – A Child of Heaven.
You are an unexpected blessing to the earth.

© Catherine Hutton

Prayers

 

Lord Jesus

You speak to us through the familiar carols and readings.  

We feel the emotion that belongs to ‘Christmas’ and ask that you bless us and all whom we love.

We are aware that Christmas should be a time of peace.  We pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace would change the hearts and minds of nation’s leaders to make peace a priority.

Help us to keep you at the centre of all we do this Christmas.  

As we celebrate your birth; 

Be our focus;

Fill our hearts with your love;

Encourage us to share that love through our actions and attitudes this Christmas-time.

In your holy name we pray.

Amen

Joseph’s Lament

 

I am a poor carpenter, Joseph is my name

I want to marry Mary, For her Sons to bear my name.

 

But when we were to marry, Mary said to me

That she is already pregnant! That she is a mum-to-be!

 

I am a poor carpenter, Joseph is my name

An angel came to tell me to marry her all the same.

 

It seems that Mary’s baby is the Son of God

We’ll call the child ‘Immanuel’, ‘Saviour’, ‘King’ and’ Lord.’

 

And so I married Mary, and so the child was born;

And so we called him Jesus; born on Christmas morn.

© Catherine Hutton

If you've heard of Baby Jesus

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus clap your hands

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus clap your hands

If you’ve heard about him born at Christmas in the morn

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus clap your hands.

 

Can you see him sleeping softly in the hay? (Shh-Shh)

Can you see him sleeping softly in the hay? (Shh-Shh)

Can you see him fast asleep come in closer take a peek.

Can you see him sleeping softly in hay? (Shh-Shh)

 

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus shout hooray!

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus shout hooray!

If you’ve heard about him shout and wave your arms about .

If you’ve heard of baby Jesus shout hooray!

At the end of The Journey:  Light!

 

A dull December’s drab

Of treacherous ice and rain-filled snow

Smacks the face, chills toe and finger;

Makes all miserable

As we join the mood.

 

A sliver of light struggles

Till it strikes through the dismal

Midday cloud

And the murk of slush and sleet

Reveals his wealth

In a pool of diamond.

 

A girl and boy in Nazareth

Obediently plod onwards –

The weary treadmill of submission

To the occupying force  -

A burdensome land of rule and vigour

Demands this costly journey

To make this long and arduous trek

Each, to their father’s town.

 

In their world of dismal greyness:

A downward spiral, endless, endless …..

They are wearisome and wearied

By the grubbiness of life.

 

Journey turns to Christmas –

Brightly lit by star and candle:

By twinkling lights and smiling faces.

Happy visitors beam with plenty

Obedience blessed by generosity.

 

A sliver of light strikes through dismal greyness –

Through the worldly slush of dirtied snow;

Through this:  our sin – polluted – world.

Revealing God’s great and precious gift

Of Heaven’s Hope

Laid within a manger

The Christlight

       Joy  - light

       Light of all the world.

© Catherine Hutton 2/12/05

One small step from heaven to earth

One small step from heaven to earth
And Angel’s voice brought
God’s Holy Promise to Mary’s womb.

 

One small step of trust in each other
And Joseph took Mary’s hand
To guide and protect her from the world’s cruel stare.

 

One small step from town to town
As they returned to the Land of Judah
And to Bethlehem, the City of King David.

 

One small step and the heavens parted
To reveal angelic choirs of celebration
Over the hills, that first Christmas Night.

 

One  small step from that hillside to town
As shepherds, who had heard the news,
Hurried to greet the new-born Messiah.

 

One small step from heaven to earth
And at the right time, born into obscurity,
The Son of God is come.

 

One small step from doubt to faith will take you
from fear to hope, from rejection to trust
For God’s Son, your Saviour, is here.

©Catherine Hutton     

December 2011 

The small boy looked at the tree his mummy had just re-decorated, obliterating all traces of his childish exuberance of decoration: tinsel galore, homemade treasures fashioned at nursery and school, and then everything else.
And she had ‘fixed’ it.
The boy was puzzled.
Why couldn’t he decorate the tree? What was wrong with it?
His small face screwed up, as he looked for mummy’s approval.


Christmas is the time to press ‘pause’ on our lives. To resist the temptation to rush through the season ‘doing Christmas’ without really ‘Living Christmas’.
Pause was pressed for us, when for a brief moment over the Bethlehem hills, heaven opened to declare God’s love in the gift of his Son, Jesus to the whole creation.
Right then, Faith, Hope & Love came to earth as a baby boy, born to Mary.
He is our Peace. And his Love can transform our lives.


The small boy danced with delight as mummy brought him his very own tree to decorate without her interference. She made a mug of tea and settled onto the sofa, to watch her own small child radiate delight as he flung tinsel and every available decoration at his own tree. And it was good.