Special note: The final worship service of 2015 continued the Christmas story much in the same fashion as the annual gathering–scripture and hymns/carols. The key was to ask reflective questions and know it is time to look at our responsibility to continue telling the story as carefully as Luke did when he wrote the gospel to Theophilus. I am simply going to include the structure for Sunday’s service for review and reflection.
The Prelude: The prelude signals time to prepare for worship, lit candles represents Christ is with us, and *starred listings suggest standing if able.
Welcoming & sharing time: Birthdays, anniversaries, prayers answered or prayers needed.
Luke 1: Dedication to Theophilus (to each of us)
1 Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first,[a] to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
*Hymn Congregation will choose the hymns . . .”What Child Is This” and “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”
Luke 1 . . . The birth of John the Baptist foretold
11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
Question to reflect upon: Do you hear the message the angel brings?
Talking with God:
- Silent prayer: This is a time to talk and listen to God, privately..
- The Lord’s Prayer: UMC uses “trespasses,” but “sin” may be used.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses/sins,
as we forgive those who trespass/sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power
and the glory, forever. –Amen
Hymn Congregation’s choice. . . “It Came upon the Midnight Clear”
Kids’ Learning Time: Hearing vs Listening
Luke 1 . . . The birth of Jesus foretold
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Acts of thanksgiving:
Offering: Members pray and support God’s work; guests are here to worship.
*The Doxology: Found in the hymnal, no. 95
*Prayer of thanks: Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have provided. May these offerings continue to bless others during these difficult times. –Amen
*Hymn Congregation’s choice. . . “Away in the Manger
Luke 2 . . . The Birth of Jesus
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
*Hymn Congregation’s choice. . . “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Luke 2 . . . The Shepherds and the Angels
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[i] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[j] praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[k]
Question to reflect upon:
Do you hear the angels or do you listen to the angels?
Luke 2 . . .9 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
*Hymn 251 Go Tell It on the Mountain
*Closing benediction: Thank you for joining in worship.
The postlude: This musical benediction provides final moments for prayer and/or reflection. Please honor this time with silence.