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Dec 21, 2016

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In this episode, Rev. Beverly Gibson and Johnny Gwin recap the well-known Christmas story of Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus. First thru the eyes of Christ Church Cathedral kid's pageant, then from insights of English-writer Jeanette Winterson, and finally from the personal experiences of the show hosts. Examining all of the complex events that had to happen to make the birth of Christ happen and fulfill an ancient messianic prophecy is stunning and fascinating. Have you ever taken the time to re-read this story and look at the logistics and all the conscious choices these people had to make to get to that moment, that stable, that birth, and the broadcast of the news that billions of people celebrate each year? And we think our build up to Christmas is full of drama. Plus, Beverly and Johnny discuss Joseph's kindness, Mary's grace, and their simpatico relationship that endured immense struggle and pressure. Lastly, Beverly shares how Christmas Eve Mass can be a mystical and spiritual moment of rebirth for all of us.

Click to read Rev. Gibson's full worship notes

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{Editor's note: This is an excerpt from Rev. Gibson's worship notes}
Perhaps the greatest gift our children will give us this Sunday is the gift of time-time given and spent in attention to one another, concentrating on what is precious, worth our loving, and worth our whole lives. This gift is the best gift you can give anyone this Christmas season, to be spent telling and listening to stories, setting aside differences and enjoying laughter and good company.

If you were to read this week's lessons from scripture, you would find: Isaiah's prophecy that God would send a sign to the house of David in the young woman who would bear a son she would name Immanuel; Paul's confirmation to the Church in Rome that Jesus Christ was this prophesied son; and, Matthew's recounting of the appearance of an angel in a dream to Joseph, telling him that the child in Mary's womb is that prophesied Emmanuel, "God with us."

The angel's message to Joseph changed all his plans. He did marry Mary, and he named the child Jesus, as the angel had instructed. But those changes in plan were only the beginning! God is always about changing our plans, even though we resist change at every turn.  Accept God's
life-changing gifts this Christmas, thankfully and joyfully.

What You Will Hear:

> The luxurious Joesph beard and the Christ Church Cathedral's Kid's Christmas Pageant recap
>What does Noel mean? Christmas in French.
> The talking shepherds and the quiet angels
> Angels are blue and yellow ghosts
> The frightening biblical description of angels
> The retelling of the dreaded "lump of coal" story as a myth
> Chris Kringle, Santa Claus, and St. Nicholas
> Joseph's dream and visit from the Angel (Mathew
> Emmanuel and Immanuel - the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy
> Joseph and Mary's engagement and the virgin pregnancy
> The kindness and grace of Joseph - how he handled the news of Mary's pregnancy and him quietly "letting her go"
> Annunciation of Mary - the realities of a 13-14-year-old girl questioning the Angel Gabriel how can this be?
> Mary and Joseph's choice to go forward with the birth of this miracle child
> Mary's acceptance and embracing this reality as it has appeared to her
> Joseph and Mary as a couple and on the frequency
> The instability of a young couple with a baby fleeing a chaotic system
> Jesus the precious little scamp
> Seeing the reality of Joseph and Mary as 3-dimensional characters that really existed - not two-dimensional characters in just a story
> The Sorrows of Mary
> The dangers and the life expectancy of the world of early Christian word compared to the world we have today
> Angels, shepherds, the star - the whole world was being drawn to this point in time and place
> What did all these look like? Sound like?
> Jeanette Winterson's insights on the importance of Bethlehem and the call for the Roman census
> Roman decree that we need to tax the whole world and the context in which all of these events happens
> What started with a man's request for money ends with God's gift to mankind
> The misconception and the reality of what type of Messiah Jesus was and will be
> Grace - a gift from God to have the ability to say "Yes" to God and to follow through on some things
> Grace vs. Intuition - the difference
> Control and relinquishing control to God because of freewill, acceptance and earned trust in Him
> The great complexity of being a human being
> Jesus came to live and die as one of us
> Interplay of instinct, genetic makeup, consciousness, and unconsciousness, choice and suffering
> Faith building rereading of well-known scripture to notice all the choices these people made to stay on the path
> The hectic onion of Christmas chaos and still taking the time to focus on the realization that this all started with the birth of a baby
> The reason and the purpose of the "dark church"
> Christmas Eve is a mystical and special nice that
> Church as a place to slow down and find some "peace"
> The drama of the seats and saved seats of Christmas Eve mass with all the people
> Creating a spiritual environment in the Church that feels like floating in this island of timelessness
> Giving yourself over to this spiritual experience that transforms you and connects you with all these people Christmas events, other Christians worshiping all over the world, the people to come in the future.
> Rev. Gibson's understanding why some people come to Christmas Eve Mass when they don't come to other services throughout the year

Weekly Readings:

Isaiah 7:10-16
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

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