Worship Online Sunday 26th December 2021

Dear Friends

This is a special online reflection for Sunday December 26th, 2021

Even though Christmas Day can be a rough day for some, I trust that yesterday was a good day for you. And given the current easing of restrictions related to COVID, I hope that has meant you have had time with family and friends.

The tone of the Christmas celebration for Christians is clearly one of Joy. Joy that comes from the startling, good news that God becomes human … one with us … through the birth of a vulnerable babe, Jesus.

And this is a genuine being at “one with us:” … in Jesus God shares in human life in all its complexity … including right from the beginning experiencing the consequences of the propensity of humans to treat each in despicable ways.

Many churches mark December 28th as the feast of the Holy Innocents.  The Gospel reading is from Matthew Gospel chapter 2 and concerns the necessity for Mary, Joseph and Jesus to escape from King Herod and his thugs.  

“Now after [the Magi/Wisemen] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (V.13 … NRSV)

Mary, Joseph and Jesus thus became refugees.

Herod was a murderous despot who stooped at nothing to hold onto power including cosying up to whoever was the Roman Emperor and having his soldiers seek out any boy who might possibly be the newborn king. There is no sugar-coated Christmas story here!

Rev. Dr. Melinda Quivik writes in commenting on the passage:

This Jesus, born in the midst of Herod’s brutality, knows our suffering, comes to the frightened and the sick and the hungry, feeds and heals, and teaches the presence of God’s power wherever there are tears. 

Today so many people experience the same plight as Mary, Joseph and Jesus … having to flee from despots and other dangers.  And many of these refugees actually have no place to go … no place where they can experience genuine sanctuary. According to the United Nations Agency for Refugees, there are 20.7 million people under its care, of which a half are children.  An even more frightening statistic is that currently 48 million people have been forced out of their homes while remaining in their own countries. 

Christian churches have long offered sanctuary to those fleeing oppression, seeking safety, and St Luke’s (along with other churches and organisations) has supported refugees in the Geelong region for many years.

Clearly the need for a practical and prayerful response to this need is not abating.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this ministry. If you want to find out how you can help, feel free to contact us. The details are on our website. 

Let’s pause in prayer:

Compassionate God, Almighty in Love,

We give thanks for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate in a special way at this time of the year,
We also remember that with Mary and Joseph, he became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Worship next Sunday (January 2nd) will be in person at 9.30 am, we hope.

Best wishes and blessings for the New Year to you and yours.

The peace and joy of Christmas

Fill your hearts and lives

And the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit –  be with you all, evermore,