Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!
One: This year, we dreamed of world peace.
All: We dreamed of deep breaths and restful sleep.
One: We dreamed of love that lasts and suffering that passes.
All: We dreamed of doors open wide and a cure to disease.
One: We dreamed, because to dream is to believe.
All: For to dream is to hope; to dream is to see.
One: So make room in your being to dream yet again,
All: Of a world without fear, and a God that draws near.
One: For it is almost Christmas.
All: Love is almost here.
One: May we dream to see, and hope to believe. Let us worship Holy God.
Processional Hymn: “Once in Royal David’s City,” UMH #250
(Justin and Claire Baker, Duet)
Once in royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed;
Mary, loving mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little child.
He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
And his shelter was a stable, and his cradle was a stall.
With the poor, the scorned, the lowly lived
on earth our Savior holy.
Jesus is our childhood’s pattern; day by day,
like us he grew; He was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew;
And he feeleth for our sadness, and he
shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see him, through his
own redeeming love; For that child so dear and
gentle is our Lord in heaven above; and
He leads his children on to the place where
he is gone.
Advent Candle Lighting | The Christ Candle
A: In the beginning, God dreamed of a beautiful world.
B: In Egypt, the Israelites dreamed of freedom.
A: In the wilderness, the people dreamed of safety.
B: In Jerusalem, the people dreamed of a Messiah.
A: In Bethlehem, the shepherds and Wise Men dreamed of a new beginning.
B: Then, several years later, Jesus walked this earth and dreams came true.
A: The sick were healed.
A: The poor had food.
B: The forgotten and ignored were seen.
A: The children were welcomed.
B: Everyone was invited to the table, and the world has never been the same.
A: So tonight, we are those who dream.
B: Tonight, we dream the same dreams of our ancestors before us.
A: Tonight, we dream of justice and mercy, of love and kindness, of peace and hope.
B: Tonight we dream of a God that draws near to us out of unfailing love.
A: May this candle be a reminder that there will be a day when every dream will be fulfilled.
And until then, we will be those who dream.
B: Let us worship Holy God.
Light all candles
Prayer of Illumination (FOW, 22)
We would make room for you this night of all nights,
room in our minds and hearts;
room also in our life together.
Let your word be born in us anew
so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
your splendor shines in us and through us.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Carol: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,”
(Justin Baker, Soloist)
Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, he the source the ending he
Of things that are, that have been and that future years
shall see, Ever more and ever more.
Christ, to thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to three,
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be;
Honor, glory and dominion, and eternal victory, ever more and ever more
First Lesson—Genesis 3:8-15, 17-19
8 During that day’s cool evening breeze, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God in the middle of the garden’s trees. 9 The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 The man[a] replied, “I heard your sound in the garden; I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree, which I commanded you not to eat?”
12 The man said, “The woman you gave me, she gave me some fruit[b] from the tree, and I ate.”
13 The Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?!”
And the woman said, “The snake tricked me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the snake,
“Because you did this,
you are the one cursed
out of all the farm animals,
out of all the wild animals.
On your belly you will crawl,
and dust you will eat
every day of your life.
15 I will put contempt
between you and the woman,
between your offspring and hers.
They will strike your head,
but you will strike at their heels.”
17 To the man he said, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and you ate from the tree that I commanded, ‘Don’t eat from it,’
cursed is the fertile land because of you;
in pain you will eat from it
every day of your life.
18) Weeds and thistles will grow for you,
even as you eat the field’s plants;
19) by the sweat of your face you will eat bread—
until you return to the fertile land,
since from it you were taken;
you are soil,
to the soil you will return.”
Carol: “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” UMH #196
(Hillary Wagstaff Thomas, Soloist)
Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child an yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.
Second Lesson—Genesis 22:15-18
15 The Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I give my word as the Lord that because you did this and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, 17 I will bless you richly and I will give you countless descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as the grains of sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies’ cities. 18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants, because you obeyed me.”
Carol: “O Come O Come Emmanuel”
(Piano Solo) John Benton
Third Lesson—Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
6 A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be vast authority and endless peace
for David’s throne and for his kingdom,
establishing and sustaining it
with justice and righteousness
now and forever.
Carol: Canticle of Light and Darkness, UMH #205 (Olivia Banks, Cantor)
Refrain (R): O come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord
We look for light but find darkness,
for brightness, but walk in gloom.
We grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight. (R)
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you,
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. (R)
Blesses be the name, O God, forever.
You reveal deep and mysterious things;
you are light and in you is no darkness.
Our darkness is passing away
and already the true light is shining. (R)
Fourth Lesson—Isaiah 11:1-4a, 6-9
1 A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse;
a branch will sprout[a] from his roots.
2 The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him,
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of planning and strength,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
3 He will delight in fearing the Lord.
He won’t judge by appearances,
nor decide by hearsay.
4 He will judge the needy with righteousness,
and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
the calf and the young lion will feed[c] together,
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow and the bear will graze.
Their young will lie down together,
and a lion will eat straw like an ox.
8 A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole;
toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den.
9 They won’t harm or destroy anywhere
on my holy mountain.
The earth will surely be filled with the
knowledge of the Lord just as the
water covers the sea.
Carol: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,”
(Justin and Claire Baker, duet)
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
Fifth Lesson—Luke 1:26-35, 38
26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son.
38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Special Music: “Mary Did You Know?”
(Olivia Banks, Soloist)
Sixth Lesson—Luke 2:1-7
1 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Carol: “I Wander as I Wander”
(Piano Solo) John Benton
Seventh Lesson—Luke 2:8-16
8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.
Carol: “In the Bleak Midwinter,”
UMH #221 Stanzas 1 and 2
(Claire Baker, Soloist)
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed the Lord
God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Eighth Lesson—Matthew 2:1-11
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come one who governs,
who will shepherd my people Israel.”[a]
7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” 9 When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Carol: “The First Noel,” Stanzas 1-5 UMH #245 (Hillary Wagstaff Thomas, Soloist)
The first Noel the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; In fields where they lay keeping their sheep, on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel
They looked up and saw a star shining in the east, beyond them far; and to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel
Then entered in those Wise Men three, full reverently upon the knee, and offered there, in his presence, their gold and myrrh and frankincense. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!
Ninth Lesson –John 1:1-14
1 In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,[a]
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
9 The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
Carol: “Silent Night, Holy Night,”
(Justin, Claire, Olivia, and Hillary)
Dismissal with Blessing