Celebration of Christmas

December 21, 2008
4th Sunday of Advent
 
PRAYER FOR MEDITATION: (Preparation for Worship)
O come, O come thou day so bright; we welcome thee with song and light. Come, Christmas day so glad and fair, and tell of Jesus everwhere.  Rejoice, rejoice, glad tiding tell. For He shall come, Emmanuel. -Ione Catton
PRELUDE:                                                                                                                               
GREETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
CALL TO WORSHIP: 
Pastor: In the beginning was the Word.
People: The Word was with God.
Pastor: And the Word was God..
People: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
ALL:        And we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God, filled with grace and truth.
* HYMN:     Hark, the Herald Angles Sing (verse 1)                              31
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH:
The Fourth Candle                                                      The Angel's Candle
Scripture Reading                                                                 Luke 2:8-14
Prayer
* HYMN:     Hark, the Herald Angles Sing (verse 2-3)                             31
* PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING:    (Unison)
God of manger and star, open us to the depths and heights of your incredible love which comes through humble stories and glorious songs. Speak to us in word and music and lift us to the realms of glory.  Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE / THE LORD’S PRAYER        (page 16 Hymnal)
* HYMN:          O Come, All Ye Faithful                                          41
ACTS OF COMMITMENT:
Prayer of Dedication: (Unison)
What can we say, Lord? What can we give you, Lord? All we can say is, “Thank you for the gift of your Son.” All we can give is the devotion of our hearts. In contrast to your priceless gift of love, our gifts are minimal. Nevertheless, we offer to you our best with these gifts and with our lives. Amen.
Offertory:                                                                                                                        
*Doxology                                                                         (# 592 Hymnal)
 
Christmas Litany
Scripture and Song
 
 
Luke 1:26-33
Leader: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David:
Men:       And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Women: But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and she considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
Leader:   And the angel said to her,
Men:       “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,
Women: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
Leader: He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
Unison: And of his kingdom there will be no end.”
0 COME, 0 COME, EMMANUEL, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, 0 Israel!
 
Luke 2:1-20
Leader: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
People: This was the first enrollment, and all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
Leader: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David,
People: Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
 
0 LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM, How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by,
Yet in the dark street shineth the everlasting light,
The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight.
Leader: And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
SILENT NIGHT, Holy night;
All is calm, all is bright;
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
 
Leader: And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger -- because there was no place for them in the inn.
AWAY IN THE MANGER, no crib for his bed
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.
 
Leader: And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around, And glory shone around.
 
Leader: And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
 
Choir: And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
 
Unison: For unto you is born this day ... a savior ... who is Christ the Lord.
THE FIRST NOEL, the angels 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.
 
Leader: “And this will be a sign for you: You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
 
Choir: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
 
Unison: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING, “Glory to the new born king,
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies,
With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new born king.
 
Leader: When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
 
Men: “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known.
WHAT CHILD IS THIS, who laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, Haste to bring Him Laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
 
Leader: And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
GENTLE MARY LAID HER CHILD Lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the Undefiled, To the world a stranger.
Such a Babe in such a place, Can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race Who have found His favor.
 
Leader: And when they saw it, they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child:
 
Men: And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them;
 
Women: But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
 
IT CAME UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR, That glorious song of old
From Angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, From heaven’s all gracious king:”
The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing.
 
Leader: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH, Singing sweetly through the night,
And the mountains in reply Echoing their brave delight.
Gloria in excelsis De-o, Gloria in excelsis De-o.
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see? What glad tidings did you hear?
Gloria in excelsis De-o, Gloria in excelsis De-o.
GOOD CHRISTIAN FRIENDS REJOICE, with heart, and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say. News! News! Jesus Christ is born today:
Ox and ass before Him bow, And he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!
Matthew 2:1-11
Leader: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying,
Choir:“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews: For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
Leader: When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
People: and assembling all the chief priests andscribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Leader: They told him, “In Bethlehem, of Judea; for so it was written by the prophet: ‘And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for from thee shall come forth a ruler who will govern my people Israel.”
People: Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying,
 
Leader: “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I, too, may come and worship him.”
Choir: When they heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.
Unison: and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him.
Leader: Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh.
WE THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE: Bearing gifts we traverse afar Field and fountain moor and mountain Following yonder star.
0 star of wonder star of night, Star with royal beauty bright. Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to Thy perfect Light
Leader: And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
People: they departed to their own country by another way.
 
* HYMN:                   Joy to the World!                                                   40
* THE BENEDICTION
* POSTLUDE                                                                                                                          
 
 
 
* Those able will please stand
 
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