Call to Worship (Words for Worship #13)
I bring you good news: let your hearts be joyful, let your spirits rejoice.
The newborn child is the Savior of the world, the incarnation of the holy God, come among us.
Those who walk in darkness will see shining light.
Those who suffer the yoke of oppression will be set free.
For a child has been born: authority rests upon his shoulders, and there shall be endless peace. He will establish his kingdom and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever.
Our hearts are joyful, our spirits rejoice, for the child-Christ who has come, lives and reigns forever.
Christmas carol Joy to the World HWB 318
Scripture Luke 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Christ candle is lit! Christ is born!
Christmas carol Angels we have heard on high HWB 197
Christmas carol Away in a manger HWB 194 (traditional tune)
Story – “A Place for Christmas” by Lynetta L. Smith, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic.
Christmas carol Silent night HWB 193 – Light your candles, or turn on your flashlight, etc.!
Benediction Prayer (Words for Worship #15)
Eternal God, Ruler of all worlds and Shepherd of the stars, your glory is revealed in vastness and in power, yet your greatest name is Love. This is the time we remember your gentleness, hidden in a mother’s hope. This is the time we believe again that love is stronger than fear, that peace is stronger than hate, that darkness will never conquer the light. In this season of God-with-us, we offer our gift of gratitude and we make bold to believe that we are graced with your presence, now and forever. Amen.