Worship Order for
Christmas is still two days away, we are gathered together with
the awareness that the One upon whom our Hope rests,
the Prince of Peace, the Greatest Joy
the World has ever known has already come. And yet, we also know
that despair, conflict, and sorrow still hold this earth in their
grip. The kingdom of God has not arrived. Godís will has not yet
been fully done, even as in heaven it is a done deal. The Great
Today, nearly on
the eve of Christmas, we celebrate Godís Love
coming to the world in Jesus Christ.
He was born. Yes!
He showed us how to live. Yes!
He died for us. Yes!
He rose from the grave. Yes!
He will return. Yes!
Joy to the World!
Stand, if you are able, and sing!
Leader for today prefers to pray as led in the moment, not with
words written ahead of time. Usually, the pastoral prayer is the
the Advent Wreath
[During Advent this year, the candles
are being lit by persons who have made life commitments
during the last twelve months - baptism, transferring of
membership, marriage. Today, a young couple with
their one year old child who joined the church and
dedicated their firstborn last summer - will light the
1 - The season of Advent continues. Today we will light the
candle of love.
2 - No other word so completely describes what we know of our
God. "For God so loved the world" that a child was
given ... Godís love in human form.
(The three previous candles are relit)
1 - We light the candle of love to proclaim that Godís love
is revealed in the Child born in Bethlehem,
2 - and we are challenged to proclaim and reveal that same
love as we live out our faith here in Maryland.
(The fourth candle is lit)
[slightly adapted from liturgy
written by and belonging to Rev. Moira B. Laidlaw.]
A "Cloud of Witnesses" Reading
[A multitude of readers are scattered throughout the
congregation, each standing and reading their short
portion (i.e. "and ____ the father of ______ ,")
from right where they are. No pauses between readers.
is ready to begin as soon as the previous person ends -.
thus reading as one. "WL" is worship
leader. Links under most every name are to a page
where an audible pronunciation of that word is given.]
WL - An account of the genealogy of Jesus
the son of David, the son of Abraham.
was the father of Isaac,
- and Isaac
the father of Jacob,
- and Jacob
the father of Judah
and his brothers,
- and Judah
the father of Perez
- and Perez
the father of Hezron,
- and Hezron
the father of Aram,
- and Aram
the father of Aminadab,
- and Aminadab
the father of Nahshon,
- and Nahshon
the father of Salmon,
- and Salmon
the father of Boaz
- and Boaz
the father of Obed by Ruth,
- and Obed the father of Jesse,
- and Jesse
the father of King David.
- And David was the father of Solomon
by the wife of Uriah,
- and Solomon
the father of Rehoboam,
- and Rehoboam
the father of Abijah,
- and Abijah
the father of Asaph,
- and Asaph
the father of Jehoshaphat,
- and Jehoshaphat
the father of Joram,
- and Joram
the father of Uzziah,
- and Uzziah
the father of Jotham,
- and Jotham
the father of Ahaz,
- and Ahaz
the father of Hezekiah,
- and Hezekiah
the father of Manasseh,
- and Manasseh
the father of Amos,
- and Amos
the father of Josiah,
WL - and Josiah
the father of Jechoniah
and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon:
was the father of Shealtiel,
- and Shealtiel
the father of Zerubbabel,
- and Zerubbabel
the father of Abiud,
- and Abiud
the father of Eliakim,
- and Eliakim
the father of Azor,
- and Azor
the father of Zadok,
- and Zadok
the father of Achim,
- and Achim
the father of Eliud,
- and Eliud
the father of Eleazar,
- and Eleazar
the father of Matthan,
- and Matthan
the father of Jacob,
WL - and Jacob
the father of Joseph
the husband of Mary,
of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
So all the generations from Abraham
to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the
deportation to Babylon,
fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon
to the Messiah,
is full. Yes, it is full of all sorts of decorations. I asked you
to watch, didnít I, for new additions every Sunday - though last
week we didnít have time to meet and talk about it during
worship. There is even more today. What did you notice?.....
There is more
here, though, than decorations - as nice as decorations are. Did
you hear how the story of Jesus begins in the New Testament, read
by all those people in the congregation just now? All sorts of
names, some of which are hard to pronounce. Who were they? Thatís
right - they were Jesusí family, his grandparents,
great-grandparents ... (etc.). The story begins with them to say
that when Jesus came, he didnít pop out of nowhere. He was
connected to the big story of Godís people. This was his family.
Now, God was doing something brand new and special with him. Even
so, Jesus was a part of those who were born before him.
Just like you are
a part of those who came before you. Each one of them had a name.
Just like you. Once upon a time, they were all children, excited
about some of the same things that excite you. Those who came
before you - your spiritual family - have passed on the story of
Jesus to you. They are witnesses to the story. Whenever we gather
together as believers in Jesus, we are surrounded, the Bible says,
by a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1).
This room is full, not just of decorations, but of those who have
gone before us. Did you notice them, also? Probably not. But like
the angels who are Godís messengers, who help and sing with us -
those who lived the faith before us are a part of us even now.
Remember that as you celebrate Jesusí birth this week.
our Tithes and Offerings
In the story
as we have received it, strangers bearing gifts were already on
their way, guided by a light in the heavens. What light has been
guiding you to this moment? What things are you
"wondering" over, pondering them in your heart, maybe
even wrestling with them? As you lift up your eyes to the light of
Christ, make these things part of your offering as well. Bring to
God your very life - the best and the rest.
Will the ushers
come forward to serve?
One: Child of Hope, be born again into our world.
All: Wherever there is hopelessness, wherever there is pain,
wherever there is fear of failure, come with healing in your
One: Son of God, be born again into our world.
All: Wherever there is bitterness, wherever there is apathy,
wherever faith has died, come with healing in your hands.
One: Prince of Peace, be born again into our world.
All: Wherever there is conflict, wherever there is arrogance and
greed, wherever there is injustice, come with healing in your
One: Wonderful Counselor, be born again into our world.
All: Wherever there is temptation too strong to resist, wherever
families are broken, wherever depression belittles the human
spirit, come with healing in your hands.
One: Great and Mighty Lord, Savior, be born again in
each of us.
All: Jesus, you know all our names. We would kneel at the stable
with the shepherds and sing with the angels, "Glory to God in
the highest. Peace on earth and good will among all people."
So be it.
written by Pattie Stern,
McPherson, KS for the
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin