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Gathering and Musical Musical Prelude|
Announcements Concerning Service:
Hymns and Carols during the telling of the story will not be announced - for this portion of the service you may remained seated while singing.
The Communion - during which time we will light our candles - is an open communion - all may receive by coming forward along the side walls of the sanctuary - taking bread - dipping it in the wine - and consuming it, then lighting your candle and returning to your seat by the middle aisle.
* Processional Carol: O Come All Ye Faithful (VU 60 1-3) O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him, born the King of Angels; O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above; Glory to God, in the highest. O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Words of Welcome & Lighting of the Candles: L The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. P And also with you. L Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, the son of God is born this night. P God's word has been made flesh among us. L The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. P Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness - on them a light has shined. L You, O Lord, have multiplied the nation. You have increased its joy. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. P His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. L He is also called Emmanuel, for in him God is with us. ....... (As the Candles are lit all sing)........ We honour Messiah with Christ candle's flame our Christmas Eve candles glad tidings proclaim. O Come all you faithful, rejoice in this night, as God comes among us, the Christian's true light. (Verse five of "A Candle Is Burning" from Voices United #6) Unison Prayer L: Let us Pray... P: Eternal God, this holy night is radiant with the brilliance of your one true light. May that light illuminate our hearts and shine in our words and deeds. May the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love represented by the birth in Bethlehem this night fill our lives and become part of all that we say and do. May we share the divine life of your son Jesus Christ, even as he humbled himself to share our humanity. Amen. * Carol: It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (VU 44 1-2) STAND 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, good will to all, from heaven's all gracious King" The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing. Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled, and still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world; above its sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing, and ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angles sing. LUKE 1:26-38: The Angel Visits Mary Anthem: "O How Joyfully" (VU 57) Reflection: How joyfully, how hopefully, waits the world on Christmas Eve. How joyfully, how hopefully, it waits upon the obedience and the faithfulness of Mary - who having been visited by the Angel Gabriel - agrees to become the mother of the Most High, the promised one of Israel, our Emmanuel. Carol: "Gentle Mary Laid Her Child" (VU 46 1-2) 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 Saviour? Ask the saved of all the race who have found his favour. Angels sang about his birth, wise men sought and found him; heaven's star shone brightly forth, glory all around him. Shepherds saw the wondrous site, heard the angels singing; all the plains were lit that night, all the hills were ringing. LUKE 1:39-45: Mary and Elizabeth Anthem: "Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child" (CB 27) Reflection Blessed art thou - and blessed is the fruit of thy Womb. So said Elizabeth to Mary. Blessed despite the grief that would come - blessed despite the tears that would be shed - for the child to be born in an humble way - would be Lord, not just of Israel, but of the nations of the east, the south, the north, and of the west, he would be forever - Emmanuel. Carol: "T'was In The Moon of Wintertime" (VU 71 1,2,4) T'was in the moon of winter time, when all the birds had fled that might Gitchi Manitou sent angels choirs instead; before their light the stars grew dim, and wandering hunters heard the hymn: Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born; in excelsis gloria. Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found, a ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round; but as the hunter braves drew nigh, the angles song rang loud and high: Jesus your King is born, in excelsis gloria. O children of the forest free, the angel song is true, the holy child of earth and heaven is born today for you. Come kneel before the radiant boy, who brings you beauty, peace, and joy: Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born; in excelsis gloria. LUKE 2:1-7: The Birth in Bethlehem Anthem: "In The Bleak Mid-Winter" (VU 55) Reflection Such poor beginnings - for this promised one. A small town in a small land. Born nowhere important to no one important. How often our God works this way -- how often he comes quietly - and works his miracles in the most ordinary of places - and the most ordinary of people. Behold, in a manger - our Lord, our Emmanuel. Carol: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (VU 64 1-2) 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 street shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. 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 the world of sin, Where meet souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in. LUKE 2:8-14: The Angels & The Shepherds Anthem: "What Child Is This" (VU 74) Reflection A holy mystery, this babe, this child of Mary. We do well to ask "what child is this?" - and we do well to listen to answer - the answer made by the angels concerning "peace on earth among those whom God favours" - peace among those who truly understand this child as the gift of heaven , our Emmanuel. Carol: "Angels From The Realms of Glory" (VU 36 1-2) Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o'er all the earth; ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth: come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King. Shepherds in the field abiding, watching o'er your flocks by night, God with us is now residing, yonder shines the infant Light: come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King. LUKE 2:15-20: The Shepherds Worship Anthem: "Go Tell It On The Mountain" (VU 43) Reflection There is a time for loud proclamation and joyous song, and a time for soft words and quiet lullabies. A time for rejoicing and a time for prayer. Prayer to the one who came so long ago - and who is still with us today, our Lord Jesus - our Emmanuel. Carol: "Away In A Manger" (VU 69 1-3) Away in a manager, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes. I love you Lord Jesus; look down from the sky, and stay by my side until morning is nigh. Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay close by me for ever, and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in your tender care, and fit us for heaven, to live with you there. MATTHEW 2:1-11: The Gifts of The Magi Anthem: "The Little Drummer Boy" Reflection Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear - know that something of great importance was announced by the star in the east - and by the angels from heaven so far. So the shepherds left their sheep, the magi - their homes - that they might discover that which was being pointed to. And so we tonight leave our homes - to discover - and to wonder - and to worship - to worship our Emmanuel. Carol: "As With Gladness Men of Old" (VU 81 1-3 ) As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold, as with joy they hailed its light, leading onward beaming bright, so most gracious Lord, may we evermore your splendour see. As with joyful steps they sped, to that lowly manger bed, there to bend the knee before Christ, whom heaven and earth adore; so may we with eager pace ever seek your throne of grace. As they offered gifts most rare at the manger crude and bare, so may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin's alloy, all our costliest treasures bring, Christ to you, our heavenly King. JOHN 1:1-5,14; 3:16-17: The Word Made Flesh This is the Christmas Story, a story that is not confined to a manger 2000 years ago in the ancient land of Israel - but rather reaches from the beginning of time to it's very end - a story that John tells in other words when he wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. THIS is the Word of the Lord. Praise be to God, to our Emmanuel. * Anthem - Carol: "Joy To The World" Verse 1 will be sung as an Anthem - then all stand to sing the entire Carol as printed here Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing and heaven, and heaven and nature sing. Joy to the earth! The Saviour reigns: Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks hills and plains, repeat the sounding joy... No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground: he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found... He rules the earth with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love... Sharing God's Blessings: -- The Offering is Received -- Anthem: "The Annunciation Song" -- As Offering is Presented Stand To Sing The Doxology: We give thee but thine own, what e'er the gift may be: all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee. * Prayer of Dedication and a Christmas Prayer - STAND L It was cold and Mary and Joseph were fearful. P But that did not stop the birth. L They were poor and had no place fitting for their child. P But that did not stop the birth. L They were uncertain about what God wanted from them. P But that did not stop the birth. L Today we are still sometimes cold and fearful,certainly poor in many ways. P We often feel we have no place and are unclear about what God wants of us. L But these things did not stop the birth of Jesus then, nor will they now. P Lord Jesus be born in us today. L Like Mary and Joseph, who trusted in your grace, we offer ourselves and our gifts to you. Bless our offering and hallow our every thought and our every action, that Christ may be revealed through them to the world that is yet in darkness. Amen. * Carol: "Good Christian Friends Rejoice" (VU 35 1-3) PREPARE 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! Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice! Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this. He hath opened heaven's door, and we are blessed for evermore. Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this! Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice! Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save, calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall. Christ was born to save, Christ was born to save! A Christmas Confession (Walter Russell Bowie: A Christmas Creed) L The peace of the Lord be with you. P And also with you. L I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem. P I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world in towns both large and small. L I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today. P I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts. L I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible: P I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God. L I confess our ever-lasting need of God: P The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold. L I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. P I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER Indeed, O God, we believe in the one born in Bethlehem this night - and we give you thanks for all the gifts that you give have given us through him. We praise you for his birth, for how he lived his life as the servant of your Most Holy Will - and for how, in obedience and in love he finally gave himself over to death, even death on a cross, for our sakes - thereby opening to all people the gates of heaven and the way to eternal life. Wherefor O God we spread this table before you as he commanded us to do on the night he was betrayed. We remember how he took bread, and gave you thanks for it - as even now we give you thanks O God for our daily bread - and how he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, "take, eat, this is my body, broken for you.". In like manner we recall, how when the meal was done, Jesus took the cup, the cup of blessing, and after giving thanks, offered it to his disciples saying, "take, drink, this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant for the forgiveness of sins as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me." BLESSING OF THE ELEMENTS Bless O God, this bread and this wine that it may be for us communion in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Send your spirit upon these elements and upon us and grant that we may obtain maturity of faith and live in him and through him - faithful and righteous all our days. We ask through Christ our Lord, as we pray and sing the prayer he taught us... P: Our Father... (VU 960) RECEIVING COMMUNION & LIGHTING CANDLES: The Choir will receive first - then all present are asked to come forward to communion by moving up the sides of the church to receive, then to the Advent Wreath to light your candle and back to your pews via the centre aisle. During Communion the Choir will sing "An Infant Holy" (VU 58). Departing Prayer: The Canticle of Simeon L Having travelled to Bethlehem together and having beheld the child, born a king, let us pray using the word's of Simeon, a righteous and devote man who looked forward to the consolation of Israel and who beheld his coming: P Lord, let your servants now depart in peace, according to your word; for our eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel. Carol: Silent Night (VU-67 1-3) - Remain Seated 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! Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight; glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia, Christ, the Saviour, is born! Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Benediction & Choral Blessing MERRY CHRISTMAS And HAPPY NEW YEAR! ---------------------- copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1997 - 2006 please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.
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