Our Duty and Delight
The festival of Christmas Lessons and Carols begins with a bidding:
Let it be our duty and delight to hear once more the message of the Angels, to go to Bethlehem and to see the Son of God lying in a manger.
That bidding prayer reminds us that this is more than simply one last helping of Christmas cheer before getting back to life as we once knew it. Here, the hymns and stories are reframed to tell the whole story of Christmas, or rather they are returned to their original meaning: the incarnation of God will change our whole world, starting with each of us.
The service doesn’t simply point us past the holiday to the needs of the world. Rather, the needs of the world are at the very heart of the story, and always have been. The bidding prayer continues:
…and because (Jesus) particularly loves them, let us remember in his name the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed, the sick and those who mourn, the lonely and unloved, the aged and little children.
Even as we gather in the warmth of the Christmas hearth, we remember that Jesus particularly loves those who are poor, lonely, sick, and vulnerable. May we hold those same people close to our hearts as we bask in the incarnate presence of the Holy One.