Second Sunday after Christmas / Epiphany
Updated: Jan 3
Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
Welcome to Christmas! Yes, it is still Christmas, even though Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and even New Year's Day are behind us. As we wend our way to Epiphany, we must remember that, just as the Ghost of Christmas Present told Scrooge, Christmas is not just one day of the year, but the whole 365!
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!
An Epiphany Carol "As with Gladness Men of Old." sung by the choir of Wells Cathedral.
God be with you!
Lighting of the Christ Candle.
Epiphany is the season of light, the time of year when the days get longer, the sun gets brighter, and God's light shines into the darkest corners. Jesus said, 'I am the Light of the World,' and so we light a candle to remind us of Jesus, God's light, which is a lamp before us, showing us the way. May the Christ's light shine within us, through us, and around us. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Stan reads from Matthew, the story of the Wise Ones -- the Magi -- coming to honour Jesus with gifts.
Sermon: "So, you planned for Christmas. How did that turn out?" Rev. Dan.
Music: 'Will you Come and See the Light,' sung by Simone, the music director at Ryerson United Church (Ancaster).
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 of the People.
God of light and epiphanies, illuminate our lives and our paths that we may follow your ways out of the darkness and the shadows. We are deeply aware of the ways that we so easily stray from the path, distracted by a glimmer here or a shine there, so often a bit of darkness masquerading as the true light. Guide us back to the right light, the authentic light of your love, where there are no shadows, no hidden corners, no gloom.
Lead us, O God, in making plans and thinking ahead in ways that magnify your light for all those around us: those in need, those who grief, those feeling alone, neglected, or abused, those who can find no room at the inn or the table but need to be housed by your shelter and fed from your nourishing banquet. Strengthen our generosity, that we may share the blessings we have, so that all may be blessed. Laugh with us, O God, when our plans go awry and we stumble before getting up and laughing ourselves.
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 last Sunday of 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. The Magi gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh were exactly the right thing that chilly night in Bethlehem long ago. Sometimes, though, getting the fit, colour, size, and shape of the perfect gift is a lot simpler.
Don’t forget to extinguish your candle(s)
Zoom Coffee Time on Sunday at 11:30. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8294323094 or by phone: +1 647 558 0588, Meeting ID: 829 432 3094.
Note that portions of this service are drawn and adapted from 'Gathering,' a worship resource published by The United Church of Canada.
Thanks to Stan for reading and Simone at Ryerson United Church (Ancaster) for music.
Wishing all our members, friends, and neighbours a Happy New Year. I found this song by ABBA. I'm sure this isn't the first time ABBA has been part of a church service, but it's rare to be sure.