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Seasonal Communion - Be Born In Us Today -
Our Christmas Service this year is essentially a very simple one. It is built around a carol. The carol is ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem'. We use it because this is a carol that brings together Christmas Then and Christmas Now. It begins by celebrating the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It ends with a prayer that the Christchild will be "born in us today".
All praise to you,
almighty God and heavenly King, who sent your Son into the world to be
born in the lowly stable of Bethlehem, grant that at this time he may be
born again in the lowly stable of our hearts to bring to us and to the
world his gifts of love, and joy, and peace.
‘O Little Town of Bethlehem' commemorates the birth of Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem. But then it moves on. It moves forward from Christmas Then to Christmas Now. It does so by inviting us to pray that this Christmas the Christchild will be born again in the lowly stable of our own hearts.
Before that can happen, however, the stable has to be made ready. It has to be cleared of all the rubbish that has accumulated there over the last year. It has to be made as fit as possible to receive its guest.
What is needed has been spelt out for us during Advent by John the Baptist, the man sent to prepare the way of the Lord, who called us to repentance, and by Mary, who set before us a perfect example of submission to God's will.
John the Baptist prepared the way for the coining of Christ by calling people to "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand."
Mary shows us how to make ready for Christ to be born in us by her example of perfect submission. We remember her words to the angel: “I am the Lord's servant; as you have spoken, so be it." Like her, we offer to God our souls and bodies, to be used as he pleases for the forwarding of his kingdom.
We have commemorated Christmas Then. We have prayed for Christmas Now. Now the two elements come together in our Christmas Communion as, kneeling before the Christmas Crib, we pray that through the sacrament the Christchild may be born in us today.