Thursday, December 24th / Friday December 25th, 2020
Welcome to Christmas!
Unto us a child is born!
Unto us a son is given!
He will establish and uphold God's kingdom,
with justice, love, and righteousness,
from this time and forevermore!
O come, let us adore him!
O come, let us adore him!
O come, let us adore him,
Christ, the Lord!
We've been walking the road to Bethlehem these past few weeks; walking the path of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. We've lit candles along the way to mark our way and illuminate the gifts of God's presence. Listen to the words of this song, a gift of Elise, Alexandra, and Liane Catibog.
In preparation for the following service, you may wish to have your Advent Wreath and Candles ready. Always practice safe candle-burning! We light candles in church because they remind us of the presence and beauty of God.
God be with you!
Lighting of the Advent Candles and the Christ Candle.
Scripture Reading: Since we're not able to meet in person for our usual family 'DIY Christmas Pageant' this year, we're listening to the story of Christmas as told and performed here:
Instead of a sermon, I thought we'd listen to the words of renown Canadian children's author, Jean Little, in her beloved classic, "Pippin the Christmas Pig." As sermons are really a preacher's way of giving understanding, insights, and new expressions of Scripture, likewise, the creative story like Pippin, can reveal for us a fresh approach to the revelation of Jesus' birth as God's coming into the world. Listen for the Wisdom of God, revealed in Scripture and in Story.
Music: "Away in a Manger is the quintessential Christmas Carol for children -- but even when we're all grown up, it's beautiful lyrics and lilting melody bring us close to the truth of Christmas. (This video features the melody, "Away in a Manger," which is my fave. But, many people prefer the melody, "Cradle Song," which you can find here.
Gifted by the promise of Christmas, surrounded by the abundance of grace and goodwill, we share from all that we have, returning to God ourselves and our offerings to bring about God's Christmas dream for the world: a world overflowing with hope, peace, joy, and love.
Our offering is both a practical and symbolic act of our commitment to serve Christ and build His church. Although we can’t actually ‘pass the plate’ online, you are encouraged to continue your gift to the church, as the work of the St Paul’s and the staff continues:
Drop your envelope (cheque or cash) at the church;
Mail your cheque to the church;
Go on PAR (call the church for details);
Use the Donate button at the top of the page (it will take you to SPUC’s Canada Helps page where you can donate online and get an instant tax receipt).
May these gifts open others to the blessings you, O God, give this Christmas:
the gift of childlike wonder,
the gift of peace that passes all understanding,
the gift of joy that knows no bounds,
and the gift of grace that overcomes all obstacles.
With these gifts, we bring ourselves, O God, in response to the greatest gift of all, the Babe in Bethlehem, Emmanuel -- God with Us, Jesus the Christ child.
Prayer. You're invited to listen to the Christmas Prayer on the video below, after which, you can recite aloud or in your heart the Lord's Prayer.
And, of all the prayers silent and spoken, we pray the one prayer that unites us in your presence:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
As we leave our time of worship this Christmas,
may the joy of the angels sing in our voices;
may the hope of the shepherds calm our fears;
may the confidence of Mary and Joseph strengthen our spirits;
may the courage of the Wise Men stir us from our complacency;
may the love of Jesus shine in our hearts;
and may God's blessings be upon us this holy moment and always.
One Last Thought.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle(s)
Note that portions of this service are drawn and adapted from 'Gathering,' a worship resource published by The United Church of Canada.
Thanks to our contributors this week: the Catibog Trio, and the creative writing of Jean Little.
Wishing all our members, friends, and neighbours the blessings of Christmas; and, may 2021 bring Good News beyond measure.