by Lisa DeRosa

by Carol Dixon, (photo above from a Christmas card by The Community of St Clare, Freeland, Whitney, UK (used with permission)

It should have been so special: the son of God
– announced by an angel heralding his greatness –
growing within her womb; recognised by an unborn child
who, at her greeting, jumped for pure, pre-natal joy. 

But then came pointed looks, Joseph’s unspoken doubts,
the heavy, sluggish journey to a southern city
– bursting at the seams with teeming humanity – culminating
in doors shut in their desperate faces, frantic arguing,
and the eloquent exhaustion in her pleading eyes. 

And now it had come to this: the outhouse of an inn,

blood and sweat and straw; the child, tearing
his way into the world – from darkness into light;
between her pains she watched the cross beam
up above her head, studying its rough-hewn shape. 

A strange beginning for the chosen one of God,
coming to life in squalid poverty and deprivation,
in a land oppressed by power of arms; where citizens
– herded like the cattle whose stall she borrowed –
were numbered for a foreign ruler’s whim. 

Such an ordinary birth: and yet she knew
as he was born, the world would never be the same again. 

I still remember Christmas 1974 when my husband Donald and I discovered that we were expecting our first child.  It seemed like a bit of a miracle considering I had an ectopic pregnancy previously and we had been warned by the doctor that it might be difficult for me to conceive (How wrong can you be, I had undiagnosed twins a couple of years later!).  Yet here we were, about to be new parents, and I experienced  a myriad of emotions – joy, anticipation, excitement, nervousness, uncertainty and worry about what it would be like to be responsible for another human being. Would I be up to the task?  The circumstances weren’t ideal either as the day the pregnancy was confirmed just before Christmas,  Donald came home from work with the news that he had lost his job so our plans for a lovely nursery and all new items for the baby had to go by the board.  However all turned out fine as family and church friends rallied round and by the time our daughter was born we had everything we needed – from second hand Silver Cross pram ( much posher than we could have afforded!) and cosy cot, to mountains of barely-used baby clothes – designer makes that would have been beyond our pockets.

When Mary said ‘Yes’ to God, things didn’t quite pan out as she expected either.  Having to make a long journey towards the end of her pregnancy, discovering that instead of a comfy room attended by her mum and the village midwife, she found herself in a strange place, miles from home, in an out building.  Yet there in the poverty and squalor, Jesus was born, the embodiment of God’s love.

This Christmas promises to be very different from the celebrations we normally expect – no mingling with families and loved ones, no dashing to busy shops to choose that special present, but however it turns out we can be sure of one thing – God is with us in the baby born in Bethlehem all those centuries ago, living in our hearts and our world today.

Christmas Prayer 

You came as a baby, Lord,
as a little helpless child
who relied on a human family
to care for him. 

You cried because you were hungry,
because you were homeless,
because you were a stranger
far away from home. 

You still cry with hunger, Lord,
in the voices of the many starving;
your tears still flow: for the homeless,

the lonely and the forgotten;

you still rely on human families
to care for you. 

And so this Christmas, Lord, we pray:
help us to be the kind of people
who look for you in the world,
and joyfully discover you
as we care for one another. 

© Carol Dixon (from Worship Resources for Advent & Christmas John Paul Press, reproduced with permission)

Homeless King Carol 

(Tune: Brahms lullaby)

Baby Jesus, God’s own son,
Y-ou came to this ea-rth
As a humble human child
When you chose to share our birth.
Source of Hope, Prince of Peace,
Word of Truth, Grace of Go-d,
Bringing light in the dark;
Come and live in our hearts. 

Homeless king, in our world,
A-n outhouse your birthplace,


As an infant refugee
Yo-u joined the human race,

Image of the Father’s love
Fo-r all of humanity,
Bringing joy to quell our fear;
Come and live in our hearts.

Loving Saviour of the world
W-e ask for your blessing
T-o live life to the full,
Helping o-thers in need.
As we learn to share your love
W-ith neighbour and stranger,
Bringing peace to all we meet;
Come and live in our hearts.
                        © Carol Dixon 

[Please feel free to use these worship resources in your church]

Merry Christmas Eve

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