We bring you the ancient story of the Nativity. We ask you to listen to this story as if for the first time. Imagine, that this ancient story is radically new.

Imagine, that after years of hearing story after story of men and women bowing abjectly before the might of kings and emperors, tsars, dictators, chieftains and tyrants, you hear a story in which three kings kneel before a tiny child - in praise of possibility.

Imagine, that after hearing story after story of long wars and bloody battles and heroes slaying their enemies, bombings and burnings and persecutions and pogroms, you one day hear the quiet story of a birth, the story of a humble carpenter and his gentle wife, shepherds in the starlit fields, animals in a stable, the story of the deep human longing for peace.

Imagine that you are hearing for the first time a story that questions the assumption that power resides in armies and armadas, witches and wizards, and magic swords and sacks of gold. Imagine that you hear a story that affirms the strong, transforming power of love.

Imagine the day when everyone who hears the story and says "I believe" will be talking about the meaning, not just the plot.

Christmas reminds us that the truly divine, the gifts of the spirit, can only enter the world through us. Christmas reminds us that spirit is more than inner feeling; it must be transformed into truth spoken, beauty created, love and compassion given.

For unto us a child is born. And the story of Christmas tells us that we, too, are part of the holiness of creation.

Some say Christmas is a myth. If a myth is a story that happens now, here, in this very place, to every one of us, over and over again, it may be so. To ask if a myth is true is to ask if the notes on a printed page are music. One can only answer by playing, by singing the music.

Spirit of Christmas, spirit of peace, spirit of hope. Into this sacred time we now enter, to listen, to dream and to be transformed.

In this time of meditation, may our thoughts be filled with gratitude and love.

Gratitude for our earth, shining in space, evergreen and radiant. Gratitude for the enchantment of starlight and the infinite wonder of the night. Gratitude for our children and all children, the future of our world.

And love for all those, far and near, who have blessed our days with tenderness and affection. And bestowed upon us memories of laughter and mirth.

Let us now be reconciled to this holy season.

Let us embrace this moment with joy.

Let the cares and worries of a hectic week subside if only for an interval.

That our hearts might be touched with mystery and awe.

Silent as falling snow, effortless as descending night.