December 27, 2020 (Christmas 1)

December 27, 2020
Christmas 1

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3

Psalm 148

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:22-40

On this first Sunday of Christmas, one possibility is to focus this service on Christmas carols.  For many, these are some favorite pieces of music, which are not heard very often except during December.

If your congregation is meeting virtually, this is a great opportunity to encourage folks to sing out!  Tell the story of the carol, tap into solo voices or a recording of your congregation singing last year, and delight in the opportunity to sing, safely dispersed.  Consider adding a video, like this:
to bring a contemporary feel to the declaration of Jesus as the one who saves (Simeon declares “for my eyes have seen your salvation”).

If meeting in person, but not singing, use your own musicians or music online with a different person reading the words of each first verse, or invite the congregation to read the words on the screen (or in a bulletin).

If you’re leading a traditional service, here are Christmas 1 resources:

Call to Worship 

One:  We rejoice in the birth of Jesus, born to set all people free!
Many:  Gathered with one heart, we pour forth our praise!
One:  Glory!  All glory in the highest!
Many:  Let’s come, joyfully come, to worship God,
who sent Jesus, a light for revelation to all!
One:  Offering our praise and rejoicing in every Simeon and Anna among us,
Many:  we shout our acclamation: Glory!  All glory in the highest!

Opening Prayer 

Spirit called.
Simeon and Anna came forth.

Call us, too, O Spirit.

Let us recognize Christ, our brother,
now born among us.
Help us find him in all people,
in all of creation,
in our midst
here and

Teach us
above all else, how to love
as you and the Father and the Son love.

Make each and every one part of your Holy Family,
that we might claim our inheritance in Jesus, AMEN

Adapted from

Moment for Stewardship 
(from Galatians 4)

Do you remember green stamps?  A LONG time ago, grocery stores gave out green stamps for every dollar you spent.  You could accumulate the stamps and take the full books of stamps to redeem them for items in the Green Stamp store.  That was the way many people learned the concept of “redeeming” or “redemption”.

Paul, writing to the churches of Galatia, identifies Jesus as the one God sent “to redeem those …under the law, so we might receive adoption as children.”

2000 years later, we still reap the benefits of having been “redeemed”!  That’s a Christmas gift we’ll never match.  We’ll never be able to respond in kind.  Rather, we are called to live in gratitude, claiming our inheritance.

When we pause to recognize how amazing it is not to be slaves, or servants, or “less than” others – but to be the fully claimed adopted children of Almighty God – that’s when gratitude overflows into generosity!

Today, you’re invited to share your gratitude in the offering you make.  It’s the last Sunday of the calendar year; a great time to wrap up this giving year with signs and symbols which acknowledge your identity as a “child of God”!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Abba!  With gratitude we offer to you these gifts.  We ask you to accept them, as a good parent accepts even the most simple of gifts from her child.
Allow this congregation to use this offering well, and to put this money and each of us to use, that we might know ourselves to be fully redeemed in Jesus Christ.   AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

Christmas has become such a time of gift-giving!  Many of us spent time and money over the last month/s, trying to find the perfect gift for each person on our “list”.

Yet when we look back at our Christmas celebration, it may be the time spent (either in person or virtually, on facetime or Zoom) with loved ones around a table which bring the biggest smile to our faces.  Some people took food and dropped it at the door.  Some may have sent their best Christmas treats through the mail because people did not travel.

Now, we may be sharing time at this Table in person, or looking at the computer screen.  A simple plate of bread or crackers.  A simple cup of juice (describe your own setting).

Here we are drawn to a simple Table to find the wonder, across time and space, remembering and re-connecting
to the Christ who came,
the Spirit who draws us close today,
and the Christ who will come again.

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!  Hail the Sun of righteousness…
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”