December 18, 2022 (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

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Call to Worship  (in one voice)  

On this fourth Sunday of Advent 
  we step ever closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus, 
  whose very name means “he saves”
We gather to praise God,
                to be restored, 
crying out with the Psalmist: 
   “restore us, Lord God…let your face shine,
    that we may be saved.”

(one Advent hymn to use is CH #142 People, Look East”

one possible contemporary song to use is “Shine, Jesus, Shine”,vid:gi1Ubff5XoY)

Opening Prayer  

We rejoice in your love, Creator God,
and gather with thanksgiving today as we anticipate
“Love, the Lord, is on the way”.

Stand with us in these days, 
difficult for some who feel alone or discouraged,
hectic for some, whose “to do” lists outnumber the hours of the day,
peaceful for some, 
       breathing in the candle-light, the long hours of dark, the anticipation…
Fill us with your presence in this hour, and send us out to share your love,


Moment for Stewardship 

The relentless bombast of commercials, the frenzy of big sales, and the exhaustion of those trying to find exactly the right gift for a list of family and friends means it’s all the more important to re-direct our eyes, our hearts and our minds, to the reality of Jesus.

Remember, it’s about love.  
God’s love for us and for all of God’s own creation.
God’s love made visible in Jesus, whose very name means “he saves”.
God’s love which fills us, and overflows, blessing those whose lives we intersect.

So today, let’s take a deep breath (do this, yourself)
And another! (breathe in, and breathe out)

And focus on this moment of opportunity to share our financial resources, and commit to sharing our time and our talent,
as we give thanks for the love which is the foundation on which we all exist.

Bring your gifts!  Share what has first been shared with you, remembering 
“all good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above”.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
move from the invitation to a vocal or choral prayer, using “All Good Gifts”)

All Good Gifts

Song by John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz

… We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand..
He sends us snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain…
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain…
All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love…
We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seedtime and the harvest, our life our health our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts
But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!
All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above..
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love..
I really wanna thank you Lord!

Invitation to Communion  

Consider using CH #420, I Come with Joy as your communion hymn.

Friends, we’re invited to this Table, not because we’re perfect, nor wealthy,
nor wise.  We’re invited because God’s love binds us to God and to one another.  We witness this every time we gather around the Table, “in remembrance” of Jesus.

So come to the Table, just as you are.  
Bring your frustrations, your loneliness, your joy.  
Bring your fears for the future and your sadness from the past.

Come!  This table is set with symbols of God’s love made visible:
  bread, reminding us of Jesus’ body, and
  juice, calling to mind his life-blood.
Eat … drink … be comforted and challenged!