Materials for Worship, Christmas 2023

Nerys writes: Yesterday morning, I tried very hard to prepare a sermon for our Midnight Eucharist but the words just wouldn’t come as they usually do. After several hours of grappling in vain with my thoughts, I heard two pings from my mobile phone. Two friends had  sent me messages at the same time, one containing a poem, the other an image, both created in response to the horrors of the last few months.  This confirmed to me what I already knew deep in my heart, that for me, this Christmas is not a time for talking but for holy silence as we come together to mark once more  the coming of Christ, born into the rubble of the world which we have broken.

I invite you  to join me in  putting aside some time to read  Thom Shuman’s poem and explore Kelly Latimer’s icon,   using them as way into prayer this Christmas.

Kelly Latimer, Christ in the rubble


the creche is empty this year . . .

Mary is sitting with the mothers
whose children have been buried
under the rubble, weeping and wailing
together, arms wrapped around one
another in chronic grief

Joseph has put his tool belt
around his waist, slowly and tenderly
building as many coffins as he can
with the splintered pieces of
destroyed homes and buildings

the shepherds are sitting
the long line of aid trucks
just waiting for the signal
that they can begin driving
their trucks loaded with food,
medicine, fuel, and water for
the people in desperate need

the animals are tagging along
as best they can, trying to keep
up with the long line of families
who once more are turned into
displaced refugees from their land

and the angels have fallen silent,
cupping their hands to catch
the falling tears of the One
who sees beloved children
dying needlessly, while forgotten

(c) 2023 Thom M. Shuman