December 19, 2021

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Advent 4

Micah 5:2-5a

Luke 1:47-55 

Hebrews 10:5-10

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

The last Sunday of Advent gives us opportunity to focus on Mary, and on her “Magnificat”.  There are many musical settings for this song of praise.  Even if you have special music planned (vocal or instrumental), you might also use a recording of the Magnificat for prelude, offertory or during communion.  

If you’re continuing to add decorations to the sanctuary, this might be the Sunday to add blue banners (traditionally the color for Mary), or bring out the creche with an empty manger (or one with straw, but no baby), animals in place and Mary/Joseph figures set “on the way” moving toward the creche.  (You could invite your children to tell you who is “on the way” toward the stable, and give them the job of finding a place in the sanctuary for Mary, Joseph, a donkey, shepherds, sheep, and magi/camels FAR away).

Call to Worship  (in 1 voice)

God is GREAT!
Let’s sing our praise, for God is doing amazing things.
God, the Holy one, reaches from age to age in mercy.

We’re on our way toward Bethlehem … rejoicing with Mary.
So let’s sing our praise, for God is GREAT!

(after this call to worship, a joyful song of praise is appropriate, from the choir, a soloist or the congregation)

Opening Prayer  

Merciful God, 
Surrounded by sounds and sights of this season, we listen anew to Mary’s song of praise.  Thank you for this young woman, and for her eager expression of praise for all you are doing through her.  
In this last week of Advent, we want to center our lives in praise for you and in anticipation of the world-changing birth of Jesus.  So help us stand aside from the commotion of commercialization, keeping mindful of Jesus’ message of love so we, too, might magnify your name and live mindful of your mercy.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Luke’s Gospel gives us a remarkable Magnificat.  We often only hear the first line, but Mary’s total song declares God’s radical actions.  
Beware, all who use their power to put down the lowly!
Rejoice, all who are hungry, for God will fill you with good things! 

What about your song?  What brings you to voice the greatness of our God and support the radical call of God on our lives?

One way is through our giving.  So many of us work hard to give wonderful gifts to those we love … even when someone already has every gadget known to humankind (smile!).  Today is one opportunity to imagine what gifts we can give to the Creator of the universe.

Your generous sharing of your financial resources allows this congregation to ______________ (describe what you’re able to do for your community, your larger Church or for your mission partners).  

Today, we’re receiving not only our regular gifts to support the budget, but also our special Christmas offering and ______________ (this is your moment to lift up specifics).  

Let your love of God and your desire to offer gifts of love find expression in the joyful sharing of your financial resources!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Receive these gifts, God of Love, as signs of our desire to offer you our praise in tangible form.  Inspire us to generosity, and to faithful use of each gift.  Let the whole creation be lifted up and the hungry be filled with good things as this offering is put into action.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

For so many of us, December is a time of big meals, abundant treats and marvelous desserts.  Some of us share our favorite cookies, others prepare traditional family recipes, and many make sure we have a bowl of candy at-the-ready for anyone stopping by our desk, lounge or home.  A whole season of feasting!

Coming to this Table provides a welcome change; a simple alternative.  
Here we grasp a radically different sense of “feast”.  Just as Mary’s Magnificat proclaimed a distinctive shift from what was the norm (where power gives might and wealth eases every challenge), so this table proclaims a shift from our December tsunami of treats.

For this is the table of love, hosted by Jesus, the Christ.  
The elements before us are simple.
So is the radical invitation:  ALL are welcome here.  

This bread and juice provide a tactical awareness of love as we remember Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. 

The table is set, the feast is prepared, and there is a place for you.