St. Chad's Anglican Church
St. Chad's Anglican Church
3874 Trafalgar St., Vancouver, B.C. V6L 2M4
Phone: (604) 731-5510

Decet vulputate nulla roto

Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve Eucharist)         Isa.9:2-7           Tit.2:11-14                    Lk.2:1-20


Let us pray:                   O God, tonight as we light the Christ candle in the centre of the Advent wreath at Christmas Eve, let us receive the Christ light afresh, to let it shine through us to dispel earth’s deep darkness, granting joy, peace and hope to all who have thus been released by the Messiah from the bondage of sin and death.  Amen.


As we gather here in this ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’, with candlelight all around us, we probably feel that we can easily identify with the lyrics of that famous hymn singing: ‘Silent night, Holy night.  All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace.’


True, after all, peace is one of the significant gifts that the Holy Babe brought upon earth in Christmas.  And the soft candlelight is still brightening up our hearts to help us give a glow around the ‘virgin mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild, sleeping in heavenly peace’.


Yet if we stop at such peace from on high as our only focus and contemplations, our Gospel Reading today on Jesus’ birth send us a timely reminder that we’re missing a significant piece of what we’re here for worship on this Silent Night, Holy Night.  Of course, Joseph Mohr, author of the hymn had not missed this.  And so in the second verse of the hymn, he included ‘shepherds quake at the sight; glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing alleluia, Christ the Savior is born’.


That’s right, the Holy birth also calls forth heavenly glory – that sign of joyous hope when heaven gives birth to love on earth, just like light gives birth to hope for joy and love in the darkness of human realm.  Let’s hear again how St. Luke depicts such glory of the birth of the infant in the manger.


‘In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.   This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’’  Yes, it’s such heavenly glory, even before the magnificent angels and heavenly hosts’ songs, the glory started with the good news first got broken to the poor and lowly, those who somehow resembled the Holy babe in having no proper place of dwelling, but had to live in the field to keep watch over the flock by night. 


What heavenly glory - for God’s light to be shone first and foremost to the underprivileged in the dark, those who need light and hope most in their lives!  What heavenly glory – for the presence of God flooding the entire birth scene: with people on earth and angels in heaven, all singing or pondering on ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he favors’.


For that matter, God favors all – that’s the whole point of Jesus’ incarnation: clothing in blood and flesh so that all who receives him can inherit the gift of God’s presence with all, in God’s shalom and glory.  Yet unfortunately not everybody is ready to inherit the gift yet, just like we’re gathering only as a small crowd here tonight to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Nevertheless, it’s also not about numbers – after all, the well-blessed shepherds who were first to hear the good news was not a big crowd by any stretch of imagination. 


What’s important then is that as we read on, our Gospel Reading tonight tells us that ‘when the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherd said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.’


In other words, what’s important is that we who have experienced the peace and glory of God here tonight are to respond, given the revelation we have received about the scared mystery of the Holy Birth – Son of God being born as Son of Man as a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  The shepherd then responded by going to look for the Holy Babe and then shared the good news so proclaimed by the angel to those at the birth scene, again not a big crowd but mainly Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  For Mary and Joseph actually needed to have the bigger mystery unfolded for them beyond what they had already grasped, and they needed the comfort of confirmation as well as the fact that what they had been faithfully and obediently participating in God’s plan of salvation had started to be proclaimed to the wider community.  This faithful response by the shepherd had also led to Marys’ treasuring all these sacred mysteries in her heart where she pondered them.


So what are our faithful response in the here and now?  We can rest assured that whatever faithful response we undertake here will be pleasing to God, and will channel further God’s grace to others, like how the shepherds’ faithful response had further channelled God’s grace upon Mary.  We know well that if not for anything, Mary definitely needed to see as much as possible the bigger picture of God’s salvation through Jesus, for like what Mary would later hear from Simeon in the temple, that ‘a sword will pierce Mary’s own soul’, pointing to the suffering that she had to sustain upon Jesus’ eventual crucifixion as Savior of the world.


So our faithful response in the here and now to what we appreciate the scared mystery of Christmas is about can be like that of the shepherds – viz. go and take a deeper look of what we have already heard.  Jesus loves us to come and get a deeper and clearer appreciation: of who he is (like what Zacchaeus did – Lk. 19:1-10), where he lives (like Nathanael did – Jn.1:45-51) or what he expects of us (like that rich young man who came to ask Jesus what he could do – Mt. 19:16-30).  Christ who chose to enter into solidarity with us by being born in a manger as descendant of King David will be much saddened if our celebration of Christ remains shallow and irresponsive.  For that defies the glory of God to all, whether in form of angel song and heavenly chorus, or in form of light shone into darkness, peace to those in all sorts of need, hope to those who can hardly hold on in hopelessness, and love to the world in its bleak midwinter; or in form of joy that heaven and earth echo with the coming of light, peace, hope and love of Christmas.


It doesn’t matter what’s our personal (or corporal) response, as we can trust that it is led by what we perceive to be appropriate as our response to God’s great love for us through Christmas.  For example, just a few weeks ago, some of us responded with our participation in PWRDF’s ‘Solar-Suitcase Initiative’ literally to bring light to the mothers and new-born babies in the dark in Mozambique, to welcome the babies’ safe arrival to the world.  The parish also responded with extensive hard work to help more people of all ages to contemplate and explore who Jesus is and the meaning of Christmas, including our Advent Series on stories of PWRDF work in Cuba, Argentina and Burundi, our offering young people from the neighborhood to have a taste of Christmas by involving them in Christmas tree decoration, nativity scene set-up and Christmas carol singing, Christmas story telling, as well as having parishioners and friends to join our Christmas dinner in the parish hall.  It’s our efforts in the hope that more can grasp the good news or have a glimpse of the glory of God as proclaimed and praised by the angel on Christmas night, like the shepherd telling Mary and Joseph and perhaps others at the scene of birth of baby Jesus.  Who knows, some may take the sacred mystery to heart and ponder like Mary.  It’s also our efforts to glorify and praise God for all that we have heard and seen of the Christ child on that first Christmas night.


Yes, it’s still the Silent Night, Holy Night we planned to spend our time quietly here, by the side of the Holy Infant at his birth.  Yet, contemplating on the what redeeming grace that dawns from such glorious historical event may wake us up tonight, like the shepherd in the field being woken up by angels that first Christmas night, and their lives and lives of others around them must have been transformed since then – from merely hanging on with shepherding for their meagre livelihood, to starting to see the light, then the hope, joy, peace and love of what life can be with the birth of the Jesus to bring all redeeming grace.  May we be transformed likewise as we get woken up here tonight!


Let us pray again:                      O God, tonight as we light the Christ candle in the centre of the Advent wreath at Christmas Eve, let us receive the Christ light afresh, to let it shine through us to dispel earth’s deep darkness, granting joy, peace and hope to all who have thus been released by the Messiah from the bondage of sin and death.  Amen.


十二月二十五日(聖誕日)    527-10                 11-4         11-14





首先,聖誕讓我們慶祝聖子耶穌誕降於世上,「道成了肉身,住在我們中間」,讓我們看到天「父上帝獨生子的榮光」(約114),也讓我們由於祂的誕降,看到「上帝榮耀所發出的光輝,是上帝本體的真像」(來13),叫我們藉著披上血肉軀體的耶穌基督可以認識我們看不見的上帝的「真像」。其次,聖誕的來臨,也是主耶穌這「真光」來到世界,把「光照在黑暗裏」(約15),「那光是真光,照亮一切生在世上的人」(約19),這照亮人的光,也就是基督給人的生命(約1:4, 因此,「凡信(基督)名的人,祂就賜他們權柄作上帝的兒女」(約112






要是我們只是停留在跟非信徒那樣,只是為節日而慶祝,互相送贈聖誕禮物就算是活出聖誕的「愛的精神」,  甚至再進一步活出慶祝救主「道成肉身,住在我們中間」而為可得主耶穌作我們的好友或兄長而稱慶,那我們所能活出聖誕精神的「仁愛」和「喜樂」,仍跟全面性的聖誕精神相差甚遠。






這一份生命在聖誕精神下被轉化,也就是著名英國文學作者狄更斯的名作「聖誕述異」(英文名為Christmas Carol)中,當中的主角Elbenezer Scrooge 原是個吝惜的工作狂,刻薄地對他的僱員,也對他僱員傷殘的小兒子毫無憐憫之心,然而當他在聖誕夜發現了聖誕的深厚意義之後而生命進入轉化,他的吝惜就化為慷慨,他也由苦著臉來過活改而滿有喜樂,而他以至他身旁的人都可以享有生命裏該有的喜樂,就如今天第一次經課中説到當上帝的救恩重臨錫安。經文是如此説:「那報佳音,傳平安,傳好信,傳救恩的,對錫安説:「你的上帝作王了」。這人的脚登山何等佳美。聼啊,你守望之人的聲音,他們揚起聲來,一同歌唱。因爲耶和華回歸錫安的時候,他們必親眼看見。」




這正正就是我們慶祝基督誕降於我們中間的中心意義。讓我們慶祝聖誕時,都從表面的歡樂跑進更深層的聖誕恩典裏,像“Christmas Carol” Scrooge那樣,生命得轉化而活出仁愛、喜樂和恩慈,或像我早前在電視的紀錄片裏聼到一群早產嬰兒的父母們齊聲説:「在經歷了保育早產嬰兒的波折後,我們學會了對孩子最好的期望就是他們能健康的過一生,其他一切都不重要了。」且讓我們同樣學懂聖誕的奧祕和真諦,活在基督給我們的豐盛生命中。啊們。