December 22, 2019 (Advent 4)

December 22, 2019

Advent IV

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Isaiah 7:10-16

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Romans 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-25

Call to Worship
One:  We’re nearing the completion of this time of waiting!
Many:  Are we there yet?!
One:  We’re close.  We’ve been actively waiting, and it’s almost here!
Many:  Is it time yet?
One:  We’re so close!  With expectant hearts and minds, let us gather to
praise God, who continues to prepare us and the world for Immanuel.
Many:  We’ve been preparing!  We’re eager for Christ to be made known!

Opening Prayer 

God of all good gifts, today we thank you for this season of eager anticipation.  Our hearts are filled up with enthusiasm, for we know the gift of new life is yours to give.  Help us look with energy, and live with deep love, as we welcome the Christ in our hearts once more.

Moment for Stewardship  (adapted from Rev. Sharron Blezard. Used by Permission)

Listen! Can you hear the still, small voice of God calling over the clamor and din of the commercial holiday season?

Like God used Joseph long ago, God may be ready to use you to share Good News, to welcome the stranger, and to do all the good you can with what you have. Like Joseph, God may be redirecting your journey.

As we move toward the end of this calendar year, God may be calling you to use your time, talent, and treasure in new or expanded ways.  I’m thinking of two different possibilities.

One is for those who are sharing an offering today.  Will you also open yourself in these next weeks to accept the offering of open doors which may appear for you?

And for those who are not offering something of your treasure, will you take time today to consider the story of Joseph?  Matthew’s gospel describes how he was impacted by Mary’s pregnancy, deciding after the appearance of an angel in a dream, to marry this pregnant woman.

How might our lives be changed if we would be willing to offer ourselves to God?  How might our financial giving change, week by week?

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Loving God, you offered Jesus to a world yearning for a way to truly know you.  Accept our offerings this day, knowing they are symbols of our lives.
Help us, as you worked in Joseph’s life, to overcome our fears.  Open the doors to allow us to live in steadfast relationships of love for you and all your creation.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

In this season of the year, many of us send cards and letters to friends and family.  For some, it’s a time of delight as we receive these greetings in our mailboxes and our inboxes.  Yet, occasionally, there’s a greeting which comes and we cannot quite decipher the signature or remember the person whose name is on the card.

That’s not a problem here, even though we hear two names for the Coming One in the story of Joseph told in Matthew’s gospel.  In his dream, an angel tells Joseph “you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”.  Matthew also, however, quotes from Isaiah, “and they shall name him Emmanuel.”

Fear not!  You are invited to come to this table to meet both Jesus and Emmanuel.  For here, in these gifts of bread and juice, we recognize the Savior who will save us from our sins AND we recognize “God-with-us”.

The table is prepared, and you are welcome.