Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 23, 2007
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

Fourth Sunday of Advent

      All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” - which means,God with us.”   (Matthew 1:22-23)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Prelude                                   “Christmas Morn”                          G.F. Handel

  Advent Wreath – Lighting the Candle of Proclamation

  Scripture                                      John 3:16

*Hymn                    (vs. 3 only) “O come, O come, Immanuel”                      172

*Opening Prayer

*Hymn                         “My soul proclaims with wonder”                            181

  A time with our Children

  Hymn                          “Love came down at Christmas”                             208

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise

  Scripture                                    Psalm 80:1-7

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                               “Noël en Musette”                          L.C. Daquin
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response             (refrain only) “O come, O come, Immanuel”                    172


  Scripture                                Matthew 1:18-25

  Message       “Witnesses of the Nativity: Mary & Joseph

*Hymn                                “Infant holy, infant lowly”                                  206

*Choosing to be witnesses  (a responsive prayer)                                        755


*Postlude                           “Noel on a Sicilian Carol”                          Guilmant

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Advent Wreath - Lighting the Candle of Proclamation

         (Our Nigerian-American family processes forward toward the end of the Prelude – look for a sign from the Pastor as to when. Bring a lit candle and a microphone from the back. Stand on either side of the worship table, facing the congregation. Begin when the Prelude is finished.)

– Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent.

– We light the first candle of preparation,

(re-light the first candle – the front one)

– We light the second candle of anticipation.

 (re-light the second candle – the left one)

– We light the third candle of invitation.

(re-light the third candle – the right, pink one)

– It is time now to light the candle of proclamation.

(light the fourth candle – the back one)

John 3:16
(in Ibo, French, Pidgin, & English)

                (candlelighting family continues...)

- “N'ihi na Chineke huru uwa n'anya otú a, na Ọ nyere ọbuná Ọkpara Ọ muru nání Ya, ka onye ọ bula nke kwere na Ya we ghara ila n'iyi, kama ka ọ nwe ndu ebigh-ebi.”  (Ibo/Igbo - the language of southeast Nigeria, their home area)

- “Oui, Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu'il a donné son Fils, son unique, pour que tous ceux qui placent leur confiance en lui échappent à la perdition et qu'ils aient la vie éternelle.” (French - this family lived in Cameroon also)

- “Gọd lọv di wọld wẹl wẹl sotee im kọm giv im ọnli Sọn, so dat evri pẹsin we trọst am nọ go dai, bọt go gẹt laif we no gẹt ẹnd” (Nigerian Pidgin)

- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

(Candlelighters return to their seats during the first hymn – giving the candle and mic to the ushers.)

Opening Prayer

It is time for us
         to claim you as God-with-us, O Christ.

You are among us in our congregations
         and our cities,
         in our homes
         and our communities.

Sometimes, Emmanuel,
         we confess that we do not recognize you;
         we've forgotten your name.
And sometimes, we must admit
         that we are not even looking for you
                  in the places you most likely will be found.
We want to find you in our comfortable communities -
         communities that feel safe and protected;
                  and surely you are there among us.

But we forget
         that your name is Emmanuel - God-with-us -
                  in the stranger,
                  the outcast,
                  the oppressed.

May voices ring out with your name, O God-with-us.
                  and amaze
                           and inspire us once again
         so that we may also make your presence known to others.

by Melissa Bennett, pastor for worship and youth
Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren
Fort Wayne, IN
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

A time with our Children

There is a beautiful hymn which has these words in it “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine”. Ask the children if they can say why the words were written like that - “Love” came down - whose love? and why? God’s love for us became visible in a person - when Jesus was born. Before that, people could only talk about God’s love in an abstract way - but in Jesus that love could be seen and experienced. That’s why the hymn says “Love was born at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.”

Show the cardboard cutout (see here) and ask them if they know who it is supposed to be... hopefully they’ll say ‘Jesus’... turn the board over and show the word “Love” and say that Jesus didn’t have to go around with the word written on his back (like the cutout) as God’s love was so much a part of him that everything he did grew out of that love.

Christmas is that special time when we show our love for others in visible ways to people we know (ask how) and to people we don’t even know – (ex. the  mother and her children in the Family Crisis Center to whom we have provided Christmas presents this year). Jesus, however, wants us to be loving and kind all year, not just at Christmas. As the last verse of the hymn says - “Love shall be our token” - that means that our love will remind people of God’s love and Jesus’ love, because we will do loving and caring deeds and speak loving and caring words as often as we possibly can.

adapted from story by Moira Laidlaw

Pastoral Prayer


written closer to the time (if not at the moment)


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         The apostle Paul began his letter to the believers in Rome with these words, as paraphrased in The Message:

         “The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.

(Romans 1:2-7)

         Did you catch what he said? We are who we are through the generous gift of Jesus’ life and we are called to the urgent task of passing it on to others. As you return your offering just now, think about God’s generosity in Christ. Remember John 3:16. Ask yourself, “what am I doing to pass this message on to others?” Do you feel a sense of urgency about this calling?

         That’s a lot to think about, but I’m sure you are up to it. Let’s continue preparing the way of the Lord. Ushers?


         Because of your generous gift in Christ, O God, we open not only our wallets, but also our lives. Help us trust you enough to stop sitting on this gift. Keep urging us to pass it on to others. Amen.

Choosing to be witnesses
(a responsive prayer)

Leader:  Speak to all the world
                  of the Child by whose word the universe is held together!
People:  We can hardly speak for ourselves;
                  how can we speak in the name of the Son of God?
Leader: "Whom shall I send?"  God asks us. "Who will go?"
               If those to whom God has shown love have no words,
                 who can tell the world that God's reign is among us?
People:   Send us the Advocate,
                   the Holy Spirit to teach us,
                   to remind us of everything Jesus proclaimed.
Leader:    Show us how to bring your presence to others -
People:    when to keep silence,
               when to act in secret,
               when to openly name the Name.
Leader:    Free our hearts, our hands, our voices to confess Christ,
                  to give people the reason for the hope that is in us.
ALL:       Glory be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
               You took the form of a servant.
               You preached peace.
               You healed the oppressed.
               You died for us.
               We will tell the world
                   that you are the author of our salvation.
                Here we are; send us!

Hymnal #755
Copyright © 1991 John D. Rempel


Do not be afraid to be a witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ.
                  God is with us.

(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above, using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2007 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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