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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

December 10, 2023: Please join us at 3:45: Birthing Jesus, who is our light!

Updated: May 4

Sunday, December 10, 2023: Emmaus Community Liturgy

Theme: Birthing Jesus, who is our light

Please join us for our Emmaus Community Celebration Today, Sunday, December 10, 2023, at Knox Presbyterian or join us on ZOOM:

Our celebration starts with greetings at 3:45pm (or earlier if the Spirit moves you)

In Person at Knox Presbyterian and Thanksgiving Lutheran (a facility we share with both congregations)

1650 West Third Street

Santa Rosa, CA 95401


Join Zoom Meeting using this link:

Passcode: 1234

Or join the ZOOM Meeting by using the Meeting ID:

Start ZOOM, Select Join, and then Enter the Meeting ID at the prompt:

519 315 8573

Passcode: 1234

Whether you join in person or on ZOOM let your voice be heard.

Emmaus Community Liturgy 12/10/23

Theme: Birthing Jesus, who is our light

Marcie: Advent has begun. The Christian lectionary for this Sunday’s gospel is about the preaching of John the Baptist who mentions the ‘one who comes after me…whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ And he did come. And he preached love and forgiveness and the people were hopeful. Are we hopeful today? TV, internet, radio, newspapers give us little nourishment to sustain hope.

Yet every day children are born, and the birth of a child is beautiful because it gives us hope; a new soul who might be the family breadwinner we need, the one who loves us in spite of our shortcomings, the leader we need to bring peace.

Today let us focus on how and where we find hope, i.e. how do we birth Jesus from our hearts?

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

Marcie: Because we will only gather once this month, we will light all of the advent candles this evening, praying for the strength and courage to break through all that keeps us from understanding what it means to birth Jesus from our hearts.

We light the 1st candle. We kindle it with hope. We long for Jesus to be birthed from our hearts, to break through and fill us with compassion, justice, and peace.

Song: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Come O Wisdom from on High

Who ordered all things mightily;

To us the path of knowledge show,

And teach us in Her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.—(Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things

Psalm: Isaiah 40: 1-2. (Modified) ALL: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Israel and Palestine, and cry to them that their warfare is ended, that their iniquity is pardoned, that they have received from the Lord’s hand double for all their sins.

Second Reading:

Hope is the most courageous and creative of the virtues. It companions us undaunted into darkness willing us to dream differently. It persists in kneading grace into the shadows… scorning cynics’ cries of gloom. Wounded, weary, yet undaunted it welds itself to us unyieldingly steadfast. Hope, uncompromising, carries the promise of life and love; beauty and goodness. The darkness will not extinguish nor overcome the light.—Sister Marcella Clancy, CSJ

Asking Forgiveness

Alice We light the 2nd candle, birthing Jesus from our hearts through forgiveness. Our response is Jesus, hear our prayer.

-For being complicit in allowing ourselves to become hopeless in the face of so much disaster, we ask forgiveness…..

Jesus, hear our prayer

-For our complicity in war through our tax dollars, we ask forgiveness…

Jesus, hear our prayer

-For the times that we chose not to walk in someone else’ shoes, we ask forgiveness….

Jesus, hear our prayer

-For being complicit in rampant consumerism, we ask forgiveness…

Jesus, hear our prayer

Jesus, give us the courage to persist with hope when times are dark. Help us to hold the tension between what our reality is and what we know it can be. We pray this in your name. Amen.


Victoria: Last month, Brother Toby of Starcross Community in northwest Sonoma County, shared a poem by the Sufi poet Amir Peter O’Loughlin:

Instead of joining you to claw the rubble

in search of your buried mother,

I will bring bread to my neighbour

who will serve it to her children,

and I chant your name in rhythm to the shouts and earth movers

with the warm loaf in my hand

And the autumn air gripping my chest

He continues…as we are allowed to feel the pain of our kin across the world from us, we are also allowed to feel our goodness and desire to help, and to act on it, too. Grief can be paralyzing, but tending to what is in front of us can help move us through the pain.

Our small act can be daily devotions to those whose suffering we cannot touch with our own hands.

Shared Homily

Alice: The celebration of Christmas not only rejoices in the birth of Jesus, but celebrates the birth of the Spirit in each of us as “Christ bearers.” In a world filled with discord, it is up to us to bring some measure of peace, harmony, and love to others. Each of us is called in some way to become what Jesus referred to as “the light of the world.”

Question for Reflection and Sharing

-What does it mean to you to “birth Jesus from your heart?”

Prayers of the Faithful

Alice: As a community, we share concerns, hopes, and gratitude.

Please respond to each petition silently, using our hand movements by taking each prayer request into our own hearts, and the heart of God, and then sharing it outward for the community to carry in their hearts.

What do you bring to the table?

Explanation of collection basket - John Poole

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Marcie: We light the 3rd candle, recognizing John the Baptist, the one sent to point us to the light of Jesus. Spirit of the universe, you have filled us, and all creation with your blessing, and fed us with your constant love. You have given us Christ Jesus, to birth from our hearts and knit us into one body. Through your Spirit you replenish us, and call us to the fullness of life.

On the night before he died, Jesus was at table with his friends. He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said,

ALL: This is my body, shared with you.

Alice: As super was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine. Again he gave thanks to you, gave it to his friends and said,

ALL: This cup is the new covenant of my love for you and for all. Be my hands and my feet; carry my love into the world.

Alice: Now, gathered at your table, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, a living sacrifice. Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts that they, and we, may be the Body and Blood of Christ. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints from every tribe and language, from every people and nation, to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.

(holding up the bread and wine): For it is through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, O Gracious God, now and forever.

ALL: Amen

Marcie: Now together, as one community, we offer to you O God, our prayer, in the name of your beloved son and our brother Jesus:

ALL: Our Mother, Our Father, Holy and blessed is your true name. We pray for your reign of peace to come. We prat that your good will be done. Let heaven and earth become one. Give us this day the bread we need. Give it to those who have none. Let forgiveness flow like a river between us, from each one to each one. Lead us to holy innocence beyond the evil of our days. Come swiftly Mother, Father, come. Forever your name is All in One.

Invitation to Eucharist

Marcie: Everyone is welcome to this table. Our God, whom the universe cannot contain, is present to us in this bread. Our God, who redeems us and calls us by name, now meets us in this cup. So come, Beloved Friends, and take this bread, drink this wine. In sharing them with this community, God comes to us, so that we may come to God.

Song: O Holy Night

[Verse 1]

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born

O night Divine, O night O night divine!

[Verse 2]

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His Gospel is Peace

Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother

And in His name, all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we

Let all within us Praise His Holy name

Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!

His power and glory evermore proclaim

His power and glory evermore proclaim

Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born

O night Divine, O night O night divine!

Closing Blessing

Alice: We light the 4th candle. We bear witness to the faith of Mary, mother of Jesus. Fill us with your grace and light.

Blessed are you who bear the light in unbearable times, who testify to tis endurance amid the unendurable, who bear witness to its persistence when everything seems in shadow and grief.

Blessed are you in whom the light lives, in whom the brightness blazes—your heart a chapel, an altar where, in the deepest night can be seen a fire that shines forth in you in unaccountable faith, in stubborn hope, in love that illumines every broken thing it finds. (from Blessed Are You Who Bear the Light by Jan Richardson)

And the good people of this beloved Emmaus Community say: Amen!

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