December 23, 2018

December 23, 2018

Center for Faith and Giving worship resources,

Advent 4
Micah 5:2-5a 

Psalm 80:1-7

Hebrews 10:5-10

Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

 The fourth Sunday of December, Advent IV, means our journey of preparation is nearly complete. 

We continue linking the call to worship, opening prayer and lighting the fourth candle of the Advent wreath, the candle of LOVE.  

Call to Worship and opening prayer  

(linked to lighting the Advent wreath candle of LOVE)

One: We gather today around the wreath, nearly completing our journey of

Many:We come, remembering the hope, peace and joy which already light
           the path. 
(either have 3 candles already lit, or light them now)

One:Because the loneliness of the world and our longing for connection fill
         us with yearning,
Many:  because the light of life and love help push the shadows away, today
          we light the candle of Love.
One: May God’s abundant love shine brightly,
Many:  May God’s love in Jesus Christ come to enlighten the world!

One: And together we pray: (unison)

All:God, we pray this day you will break into the world like dawn coming
        to light a new day.  Fill us, and fill the world, with the true light of your
        love, made known most clearly in Jesus the Christ.  AMEN

All: Sing verse 1, “God’s Love Made Visible”, CH #171

Stewardship Moment   (in response to Mary’s Magnificat)
So  much of this Advent/Christmas season centers on giving.  For some, this is a joyful time, with excitement building in anticipation of a day with family and friends, fine food and the flurry of packages exchanged and enjoyed.

For others, it’s a difficult time, filled with unease and disappointment, perhaps because of age, health, difficult relationships or a sense of lack and loss.

But as we share this hour of worship, turn with me to the song of Mary, known as the Magnificat.  Here’s a young woman’s song of love for “the Mighty One (who) has done great things for me”.

And Mary’s response is thanksgiving for all God has done:  providing mercy, showing strength, lifting up the lowly, helping Israel…

Today, we, too, can focus on all God has done for us, and respond in gratitude.

Let’s share signs and symbols of thanksgiving with our morning offering.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Might One, you have done great things not only for Mary, but for us!  Receive these gifts as one way to demonstrate our gratitude
flowing over,
pouring out,
providing for the work of ministry through this congregation.  AMEN 
Invitation to Communion (from Micah 5)
The prophet Micah used language so similar to the words from Isaiah which we hear in “The Messiah”:  “he shall feed his flock”.

 These two 8th BC writers drew an image of the One who is coming, which we hear expanded in the New Testament description of Jesus.  In the 21st century, as we gather this last Sunday before celebrating the birth of Jesus, hear this description: 
         “he shall stand and feed his flock…
           and they (we) shall live secure,
           for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;
           and he shall be the one of peace.”

Come, friends, for the Good Shepherd invites us to be fed, to be secure,
and to know true peace.