Candlelight Christmas Eve Service 2014

Peace on earth.
Paix sur la terre pour tous.
The angels singing.
The shepherds sharing all that they have heard.
And Mary guarding all these things
and pondering them in her heart.
Marie gardait toutes ces choses,
et les repassait dans son coeur.

Luke, the storyteller, invites us in.
Listen, this is a story of a son
born to an unwed mother,
taken in by a humble father.
This is a story of child born
in an angry, violent, and unjust time,
who should have lived a short life
in hunger and in want,
who should have left the world
unknown, and unheard,
like so many others.

Écoutez, nous dit le conteur Luc.
Ça devrait être l’histoire d’un enfant
qui n’aurait pas eu de l’importance dans ce monde.
Mais les anges proclamaient aux bergers:
ce petit enfant apportera la paix sur la terre.
La simplicité de l’histoire, c’est tout.
Comme Marie a chanté quand elle a reçu sa tâche :
Les puissants seront renversés de leurs trônes,
les humbles seront élevés.

The angels say
there is something more here,
a simple beginning that could change everything.
And in that simplicity is everything.
For this is the praise that Mary sings,
as she is given her task:
the hungry will be filled with good things,
and the rich will be sent away empty.

Now in the manger,
an exhausted mother ponders her son’s future.

La mère épuisée, elle connaît les dangers
de la vie dans un monde en colère,
d’une vie dans un monde violent et injuste.
Mais ce soir, peut-être, elle peut aimer seulement la présente,
l’innocence d’un petit bébé dans ses bras.
L’histoire commence, et c’est à nous à trouver sa signification.

Dans chaque coin du monde,
les mères et les pères repassent dans leurs cœurs
les futurs incertains de leurs enfants.
On attend encore.

In every corner of the world,
mothers give birth,
pondering in their hearts the uncertain future,
of thirst and hunger,
of an earth that is changing by our lack of care,
of debts that have yet to be forgiven.

This year, I think of parents lost and children forsaken
by the presence of a deadly virus in their lives.
I think of the innocents caught in the middle of futile wars,
of the millions upon millions of refugees and migrants
desperately searching for a home.

I think of the cruelty of the innkeepers of the world,
of the wealthy countries that close their borders,
saying that there is no room in the inn.

Mothers know what costs there are
when bringing children into the world.
The way can be treacherous,
she cannot shield her child from the cruelty of others,
she cannot pave the way with her love.
Yet on this night, mother and child are beautiful,
innocent and new.

The story is only just beginning,
offering us room to find our own meaning
for what is yet to come.
The promises remain unfulfilled.
But on this night,
may we dream together,
that love one day will prevail over hatred.

So let us reach across the generations,
across history and time,
to the hope that lies in all hearts
and warms us with its light.
May we find wonder and joy,
and may we strengthen the love that surrounds us.
Que nous renforcions l’amour qui nous entoure.

Amen.