December 30, 2018

December 30, 2018
Center for Faith and Giving 
worship resources, Christmas 1

Christmas 1                                                              December 30, 2018

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Psalm 148

Colossians 3:12-17

 Luke 2:41-52

Call to Worship   
(from Psalm 148)   (consider giving rhythm instruments to aO small group – choir?  Children?–to play at the end of each line in this call)

  One:  Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise the Lord all angels!
For God commanded, and all the sun and moon, 
                     stars and heavens, 
                     were created.  
Give glory to God, animals and flying birds!
   One:    Praise the name of the Lord, for God’s glory is over all.
   Many:  Praise the Lord!

Opening prayer  
God, we do give you glory and praise for all you have done.
       We come together to rejoice in your goodness and in your creation.
       So accept our praise this day, for the heavens are telling your glory
           and we join the firmament in proclaiming your handiwork!
       Renew in us a sense of JOY which we know because of Jesus’ birth. 
        Hear our gratitude as we worship you in song and prayer.  AMEN

Stewardship Moment
This is the last Sunday of 2018!  We’ve gathered for worship for 52 Sundays, and each time, we’ve passed offering plates to receive the gifts, tithes and offerings of those gathered for worship.

We know some worshipers made an offering when they came; perhaps an animal sacrificed, or coins dropped in the box.  We know there were some who made a show of their offering, and others who slipped in and tried to remain “under the radar” of anyone who might be watching.

Today, I invite you to think back on the ways you have offered your gifts this year.  Have you carefully prepared a check or envelope each week?  
           Have you avoided contributing any money?  
      Have you shared your time?  
     Have you resented even coming for worship 
            and dodged those who might ask you to help?
      Have you lovingly offered your talent as a vocalist, musician, dancer,
           artist, property manager, baker, cook?  (use whatever categories fit)

        Or have you hidden your talent and declared you had nothing to offer?

As we wrap up this calendar year, how might you offer back to the God of all creation some of all that has been given to you?  

Let this be a time not only to share what you’ve brought…but a time to commit yourself to generously share your financial worth, your time and your talent so this congregation may grow in our ability to be a sign of God’s love in the world.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Today, our prayer comes fromHoward Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.  We give thanks to God!

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

The poem “The Work of Christmas” is from Howard Thurman’s The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations

Invitation to Communion 

Jesus says “Come, all who are weary, and I will give you rest”.
Here is a simple meal, here is an open table.
All who desire to follow Jesus on the Way, 
        and share life with other followers,

Jesus, born in a manger, teaching and preaching as a traveling rabbi,
       betrayed by his own followers and crucified as a common criminal,
Jesus, dead, buried and mourned,
      is now ALIVE and among us, raising us to new life.
And we do remember!
So COME to share in these gifts of bread and cup, that we may be empowered to do the work of Christmas!