Each night a child is born is a holy night

Paul Sullivan

2019 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service – Reflections by Paul Sullivan

Each night a child is born is a holy night

So wrote the Unitarian educator Sophia Lyon Fahs about the birth of Jesus in those most humblest of beginnings, born in a manger, 2000 years ago.

Sophia Fahs ends her poem about the birth of this child….as

It is a time for singing
It is a time for wondering
It is a time for worshipping
(The telling of our stories)

And now, these many years later, we also see that it is a time for remembering, remembering the gifts we give and receive from one another, not only during this brief Christmas season, but as a congregation sharing our lives together throughout the year.

Joy to the World… Joy to the World

A babe has come wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:12)

We watch with great happiness with our own arrival to us the baby ‘Misha’ the parents looking lovingly over this child with great joy and wonderment and in great hope for its future.

The Hopes and Fears of all the years are with thee tonight

This child has come to enrich our community as each night a child is born, is a holy night.

And we sing: ‘O come, o come Emmanuel, give comfort to all exiles here
And to the aching heart bid cheer
Shall come within as love to dwell’

Gifts given and received with love through sharing beds for child refugees from far away lands arriving to this strange and cold land

Kitchen supplies, linen, chairs and tables.

Hugs, and sometimes tears of gratitude.

And we receive from them the gift of recognizing our humanity… to find the essence of our lives.

A reverence for life as the Unitarian Doctor Albert Schweitzer taught through a lifetime of assistance to others… in a far off and strange land.

Each night a child is born is a holy night

The simple gift of a phone call to a shut-in, a member of our community unable to attend, but still remaining in our hearts daily… A card of joy or sympathy for an observance of life’s passages.

We think of the gift we are given for the wisdom of the many years of our elders, helping to remind us as we busy ourselves with the problems of the present as well as making plans for the future, but that we not forget our past histories, the efforts of those who came before, to get us where we are today.

We receive and give the gifts of service according to our means, and to the talents we have to offer. Our musicians that break through our protective armour reaching the very essence of our being.

Gloria, Gloria, Gloria, Halleluyah

Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards All

Those that give the gifts of their time as greeters, kitchen helpers, committee organizers, technical support – all these gifts freely given…freely received…

Each night a child is born is a holy night

Christmas time is a time for giving a time when we cross the street, wish a neighbour a merry Christmas, a Happy Hannakah, or Season’s Greetings when a casual wave is just not enough to express our feelings.

And we sing the Christian songs of Christmas with delight, though sturdy we are in what we believe as UU’s.

We know and remember the sources of our faith. We also include these songs, although our thinking may have changed over the generations, they are rooted in our history, and are like stepping stones to where we are today.

Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspire us in our ethical and spiritual life, one of our main principles…

As a youth, I remember in our Sunday school classes following another writing by Sophia Lyon Fahs, a book called The Church Across the Street. Through this we learned a basic Universalist Tenet… that our faith is built upon respect for other religious beliefs and to the people who hold them.

This is the gift we give at this season, and it is returned in a most beautiful story, filled with joy and hope…

and so a babe is born in a manger, in the most humblest of beginnings bringing hope to all..

Glory, glory, Hallelujah…

Within the shining of a star

We catch a glimpse of who we are..

In every infant born we see

The hope of our nativity

Each night a child is born is a holy night…