Worship Order for
Leader: O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, born the king of angels.....
G D G
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us a - dore him,
G D Em
let us a - dore him,
Christ the Lord.
(repeat refrain, if deemed appropriate)
come, all ye faithful," #212, verse 1 & refrain
O wondrous God, your love spills over into all
creation - into hearts of women and men, girls and boys. Your love spills over into relationships of friends and family and church. Your love spills over in the gift of your blessed child Jesus. This
season - this day - we wait for Jesus to come again into our hearts, our lives, our worship.
by Jane Flora Swick (adapted)
from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press
"How many Xís?"
sheets of paper with X's on them
I want to see
how sharp you all are this morning. What is this? (show sheet
#1) Looks like a bunch of Xís, doesnít it. Anyone want
to guess how many? Nice try. There are actually 398 Xís on this
sheet of paper. Now, what do you suppose all those Xís
represent? (Playfully wonder with them. If someone guesses what
you intend them to represent, great!) Those are all good
answers, but what I intended them to represent were the hours
between now and Christmas. When we began worship at 10 am, there
were 398 hours until Christmas Day - actually until midnight on
Christmas Eve when, according to our clocks, Christmas begins. At
this moment it is actually slightly less than 398 hours. Does that
feel like a lot of time to you? Is it hard to wait? (Talk about
Okay, I think
youíll catch on to this next part pretty quick. What is this? (show
#2) Yes, again itís a bunch of Xís. How many? Well,
there are 1,440 Xís, and what do you think they all represent?
If you guessed hours, youíre wrong. If you guessed minutes,
you're on the right track. What would
1,440 minutes equal? Believe it or not, that's how many minutes
each of us has in one day. Of course, many of those minutes we spend
sleeping. And on some days, many of those minutes take place in school. But we have
do a lot
of time on our hands every day, as you can see. All these Xís, all this
time is a gift to us from God. We have many choices to make in
what we do with this time. We can even choose, sometimes, to
"give" our time to someone else. We have lots of it (point
to all the Xís).
I have one
more sheet of paper (show sheet
#3). It also has lots of Xís. Anyone want to guess how
many. Hey, youíre getting good at this. There are 1,000 of them.
What do you suppose these 1,000 Xís represent? (Again,
playfully wonder with them). Actually, these donít stand for
hours. If you listened to the scripture Mark read just before you
came forward, you heard that "...with the Lord one day is
like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years are like one day." What
do those Xís mean? They stand for "years."
For God, a
thousand years is the same as one day. In other words, this whole
page also represents one day (show sheet
#4, which has just one big X on it) ... in Godís eyes,
that is. Godís time is a bit different from our time. But on the
other hand, for God, one day is also the same as a thousand years (hold
up both sheet
#3 and sheet
#4). Now some people wonder how Santa Claus gets all
around the world to deliver his presents in one night. A bigger
question is how God takes care of everybody - with all the prayers
that most be prayed all around the world. Well, this scripture
reminds us that Godís time is a bit different from our time.
In Godís own
time, when the time was right, in what the Bible calls the
"fullness of time," God sent Jesus to live among us and
become our Savior. Thatís what Christmas is all about for us.
These 398 hours leading up to Christmas remind us of something
else - that in Godís own time, when the time is right, Jesus
will return to fully make things right in this world. For now, God
wants us/you to live every hour of every day like itís a gift
from him. Not just until Christmas, but every day of your life.
So, as you open up the rest of this hour and day, in your choir
practice, your playtime, your Sunday School, your family time -
remember, itís all a present from God.
the seed for this story was
Steindam in his book Growing Together,
though I have traveled with it in a different way.
with our Tithes and Offerings
The gospel of
Mark, unlike that of Matthew or Luke, does not begin with the
story of Jesus' birth. The "Advent" story Mark tells
starts with the preaching of John the Baptist, who was that "voice"
of whom Isaiah prophesied. The days of his life, given him by God,
were well spent calling people to come and repent, thus preparing
the way for Christ... Listen to the beginning of the great
"Advent"-ure, according to Mark: read Mark
Please pray with me.
On a twisted road we have all come to this point in time, O Lord,
confessing how far we have fallen short of what you created us to
be. We've told our share of lies, or perhaps just half-truths. We
have hidden behind our rationalizations and fears, sometimes
pretending to be better than - in truth - we really are. We have
failed to reveal to others the seed of hope you've planted within
us, depriving them of what you desire in their lives. We are
sinners, just like all those who came to the riverside long ago,
in response to that voice crying out in the wilderness.
We turn again to
you now, remembering our baptism, or anticipating that commitment
we will one day make. Refresh us now, in the repentance of this
moment, with the fire of your Holy Spirit, that we might
"prepare the way of the Lord" in the world around us.
These offerings we now bring are but a reflection of what you have
already done, and are continuing to do, to make your path straight
in us. Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen!
dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So donít let
the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make
you lose your balance. Let the wonderful kindness and the
understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help
you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever. Amen!"
(2 Peter 3:17-18, CEV)