December 24, 2017 —Fourth Sunday of Advent
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord.
May it be for me according to your word.”
______We Gather as the Body of Christ____
PRELUDE In The Bleak Midwinter Harold Darke, arr: Stephen Nielson
CALL TO WORSHIP [Luke 1.46-55]
My soul magnifies the Holy One, and rejoices in God my savior,
for God has looked kindly on my lowliness.
Surely all generations will call me blessed.
For the mighty One has done great things for me.
—Response: O Come to us, O come, Emmanuel,
come and bring your light into our darkened world.
God has shown strength with a powerful arm,
and scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and God has lifted up the lowly.
God has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty handed.
LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE Luke 1.76-79
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare God’s ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
* SONG Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming Blue hymnal # 216
__________ We Attend to the Word________
THE WORD IN SONG Amid the Cold of Winter arr. Brett Rhoades.
God of love, your angel spoke to Mary, telling her of great things you were doing in her. Speak to us now. Let us hear the good news of your desire for us, and for all Creation, unfolding in us. Here are we, the servants of your love. May it be for us according to your Word. Amen.
GOSPEL I Luke 1.26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young maiden engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The girl’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! God is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am just a girl?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
GOSPEL II Luke 1.39-45
So Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of the Messiah comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by God.”
GOSPEL III Luke 1.46-55
And Mary said, “My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,
and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel, in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Sarah and Abraham and to their descendants forever.”
SONG Blessed Child Steve G-H
Blessed child of Bethlehem, waiting to be born,
some will bring you incense, and some a crown of thorns.
yet you bear so gently all our joys and harms.
How I long to greet you, and hold you in my arms.
Blessed child of heaven, waiting to e born,
joy of all Creation, delight of those who mourn:
teach us how to worship, teach us how to love,
living in the presence of angels from above.
Blessed child among us waiting to be born,
in whom all are healed, and all our sorrows borne,
help us live in love, in peace and reconciled.
By your birth in us, everyone’s a holy child.
Blessed child within me, waiting to be born,
bringing gifts and wonders with the light of morn,
heaven springing in me, new life yet to grow:
child of holy promise, oh how I love you so!
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
________We Share at Christ’s Table______
OFFERING OUR GIFTS Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming arr: Fred Bock
* COMMUNION SONG Love Came Down at Christmas Blue hymnal #242
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.
God, eternal, love is your throne,
love is your throne;
you create us as your own.
Love, you lead us in new living:
so we gather, freely giving.
Praise God, ocean, land and sky!
Sing hosanna! Praise on high!
Jesus, lover of our souls, every soul,
taught and loved and made us whole.
All the world in joy is humming
with the hope of Jesus’ coming.
Christ has died and Christ is ris’n.
Christ in love will come again.
[The Blessing & Covenant]
Pour on us your spirit of love, spirit of love,
come, descend, O gentle Dove.
Make us now your blest community;
love and mercy be our unity.
Jesus, Savior, friend so dear,
make us now your Body here.
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom 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.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
SHARING THE HOLY MEAL [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free. We dip the bread in the juice.]
PRAYER OF BLESSING
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. As the bread works within us to become flesh, so may your love become flesh in us, for the sake of the world, in the power of your Spirit and the name of Christ, who is coming. Amen.
____ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World___
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
* SONG Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine Black hymnal #2099
* THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE We stand and sing to our neighbors:
[Tune: Away in a Manger]
Like roses in winter, may Mary’s deep “Yes”
bloom warm in your spirits, to heal and to bless;
the light of God’s promise turn night into day,
and bring you God’s peace as you go on your way.
POSTLUDE Post: Variations On An Ancient Noël Alexandre Guilmant
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]