Bulletin for Christmas
This bulletin includes the order of service for the Season of Christmas. The items in bold italics are intended for the congregation’s response.
In the name of God: Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of life. Amen.
Call to Worship and Confession of Sin
Wherever you are, God invites you to hear Her Word of liberation and to celebrate Her feast of communion. Bring your dreams and your musings, your fears and your anger, your trauma and your despair. Come from your sofas, your desks, your porches, your kitchen tables, so that your individual places become God’s beloved community, the living, breathing Body of Christ.
Jesus welcomes everyone to God’s table. Are you ready to meet God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
We’re ready! Loving God, you bring order out of chaos in the world and in our lives. Meet with us in Christ today, change us and send us out to fill your world with love and light and laughter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We were walking in cold and darkness. Now we dwell in the warmth of your light. Jesus, you are the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, you are God’s true child, born of Mary: Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, you are Word made flesh, full of grace and truth: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Radiant God, you send your light into dark and shackled lives; shine in our hearts and set us free to praise you, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.
Collect of the Day
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Ministry of the Word
The First Reading
7For thus says the Lord: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “Save, O Lord, your people, the remnant of Israel.” 8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. 9With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.” 11For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again. 13Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. 14I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the Lord.
1 How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
2 The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
3 Happy are they who dwell in your house! they will always be praising you.
4 Happy are the people whose strength is in you! whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way.
5 Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
6 They will climb from height to height, and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.
7 Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; hearken, O God of Jacob.
8 Behold our defender, O God; and look upon the face of your Anointed.
9 For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.
10 For the Lord God is both sun and shield; he will give grace and glory;
11 No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who walk with integrity.
12 O Lord of hosts, happy are they who put their trust in you!
The Second Reading
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.
The Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Sermon – The Rev. Fletcher Harper
A Celtic Creed
We believe in God above us, maker and sustainer of all life, of sun and moon, of water and earth, of male and female.
We believe in God beside us, Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, born of a woman, servant of the poor, tortured and nailed to a tree. A man of sorrows, he died forsaken. He descended into the earth to the place of death.
On the third day he rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven, to be everywhere present, unleashing a universal realm of love that will come on earth.
We believe in God within us, the Holy Spirit of fire, life-giving breath of the Church, Spirit of healing and forgiveness, source of resurrection and of eternal life. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Grant our prayer.
God of darkness and silence, you have pierced the quiet of this night by the utterance of your Word in our flesh. May your word of compassion and reconciliation resound in us and through us. God of love,
In this holy night angels proclaimed the peace of your unconquered Sun of righteousness. Strengthen all who work for peace and justice. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
On this holy night you came to us as a child cradled in a borrowed bed of straw as there was no room in the inn. Open our hearts to the needs of the homeless and the hungry. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
In this holy night shepherds and outcasts heard your good news. Give us grace to spread your gospel of joy and liberation. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
In this holy night we rejoice at the coming of this time of re-creation. Be with those who travel, enrich our rejoicing, and strengthen the bonds between us. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
On this holy night Christians throughout the world are celebrating Christ’s birth. Unite us in one family that we may shine with the one light that scatters all our darkness. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
In this holy night your living Word leaped down, shedding light on all who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Give strength and peace to all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
In this holy night heaven and earth embrace and in your true child you give us power to be your children. Fulfil in your love all who have gone before us in the faith. May we, like them, remain faithful to the mystery of the Word made flesh and live in your eternal light. God of love,
Grant our prayer.
Hear these prayers we bring to you and fulfil your purposes in us in the name of Jesus, your incarnate Word. Amen.
We will be collecting Children’s Hats, Gloves & Scarves through January, they can be left in the basket in Narthex.
Lucille Russell by Family
If you would like someone added to the prayer list please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tell Hank, Susan, or Shanna.
Nicholas E 1/8, Matthew S 1/9, Greg M 1/17, Samuel A 1/23
If we missed your birthday, you can let us know when it is through the member portal, tell Hank, Susan or Shanna, or send an email to email@example.com
The Holy Communion
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
During the Offertory, a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.
(Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), para. of Psalm 117; Music: Old 100th, melody from Pseaumes octante trois de David, 1551, alt.; harm. after Louis Bourgeois (1510?-1561?); Licensed for Use: CCLI Copyright License 20716203; CCLI Streaming License 20716210
Representatives of the congregation bring the people’s offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.
The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.
It is right indeed that we should praise you, God of love, our source and our fulfillment, for you create all things, and in you we live and move and have our being. Your wonder is manifest in land and sea and sky. When the times had at last grown full and the earth had ripened in abundance, you made us in your image for yourself. And even though we turn from you, again and again you call us to yourself, and in every age, promise liberation. As a mother tenderly gathers her children, you embraced a people as your own to rear them in your way of compassionate love. From your own being you sent Jesus among us, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary our sister. Jesus revealed your care for all you have made, and showed us your way of reconciliation.
Looking forward to the joy of new life Jesus suffered the pangs of the cross and in rising again became the first-born of a renewed humanity. You sent your Holy Spirit and gave birth to us, your church. Your Spirit stays to nurture and to guide us. Now we join hands around your table, and with all creation we hymn your praise for your unending love, as we sing,
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
To you indeed be glory, almighty God, because on the night before he died, your Son, Jesus Christ, took bread; when he had given you thanks, he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said:
Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this to remember me.
After supper he took the cup; when he had given you thanks, he gave it to them and said:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you; do this as often as you drink it to remember me.
And so in this great sacrament we celebrate and proclaim the mystery of our faith.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come in glory.
Therefore, loving God, recalling now Christ’s death and resurrection, we ask you to accept this our sacrifice of praise.
Send your Holy Spirit upon us and our celebration, that we may be fed with the body and blood of your Son and be filled with your life and goodness. Strengthen us to do your work, and to be your body in the world. Unite us in Christ and give us your peace. Through your Holy Spirit, burning as a flame, gentle as a dove, may we who receive these gifts live lives of justice, love, and prayer, and be a voice for those who are not heard. In union with your whole church we worship you, O God, in songs of everlasting praise. Blessing, honor and glory be yours, here and everywhere, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
And now, in the words that Jesus taught us, we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven. hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kindgom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.
Breaking of the Bread
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
Therefore let us keep the feast.
These are the gifts of God for you, the people of God.
The congregation receives communion.
(AT THE COMMUNION: We encounter the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this Sacrament of Holy Communion. All who desire a closer relationship with God are encouraged to come forward: for a Blessing or, if you are baptized, for the Bread and Wine. NOTE: Until all restrictions have been lifted, only the bread is offered for communion.)
(Please wait for an usher until forming a distanced line in the aisle and come forward to receive from the priest.)
Prayer after Communion
Gracious God, you are the author and giver of all good things. We give you thanks for the gift of life, for the meal we shared, and for reconnecting us as your people. Keep us nourished by this meal and this community. Keep us grounded in the ways in which you feed us, and in the ways we are all hungry. We pray these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Ministers in this Service
Service Leader: Fletcher
Altar Guild/Flowers: Susan J
Verger/Tech Vergers: Hank & Shanna