ZION UNITED CHURCH McKEE S MILLS PASTORAL CHARGE THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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1 ZION UNITED CHURCH McKEE S MILLS PASTORAL CHARGE THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA Student Minister Betty-Jean Friedman Supporting Minister Rev. G. Boyd Butt Ministry of Music Robyn Mitton December 24, 2007 Christmas Eve O inexpressible mystery and unheard paradox: the Invisible is seen, the Intangible is touched, the eternal Word becomes accessible to our speech, the Timeless steps into time, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man! Saint Gregory of Nyssa Introit 60 O Come All Ye Faithful O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem: come and behold him, born the King of angels; O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. Greeting One: Christ is with us. All: Christ is in our midst. Announcements Centering A period of reflective silence Advent Liturgy Call to Worship (litany One/All) What are we waiting for? Christmas! Who are we waiting for? Jesus! Why are we waiting? Because God promised! Whole People of God

2 -2- Sung Response God shall fulfill the promise and bring the people peace. The first candle of Advent is lit. God shall fulfill the promise and bring the people hope. The second candle of Advent is lit. God shall fulfill the promise and bring the people joy. The third candle of Advent is lit. God shall fulfill the promise and bring the people love. The fourth candle of Advent is lit. Scripture reading Matthew One: O God, we have watched for your coming with longing and with expectation, with patience and with hope. All: Now, as the prophets promised so long ago, you have come to us once again; and with the shepherds, we are filled with wonder and amazement. Light the white Christ candle. One: Lord, you come as a tiny, fragile baby; yet we know that you are God, and you are with us. All: May the flame of this candle remind us that you are the light of the world and that if we follow you, we will never walk in darkness, but will have the true light of life. Sung Response 64 O Little Town of Bethlehem O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel! One: Come, Lord Jesus, come. All: Amen. CAROL 59 Joy to the World Prayer of Approach (unison) O God, we come filled with excitement to hear again the Christmas story, on this holiest of nights. Open wide the crowded

3 -3- inns of our hearts, that we may see with new eyes, what happened that night so long ago. Open our ears that we may hear your voice in the voices of those around us. Fill us with wonder and mystery that we may experience your presence with us now, we pray. Amen. Seasons of the Spirit Scripture Reading Isaiah CAROL Angels, from the Realms of Glory Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o'er all the earth; ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth: come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King. Scripture Reading Luke 1.11, Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 19 I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. Sung refrain Psalm 29 Glo-ry, glo-ry, glo-ry to our God! Luke In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin s name was Mary. Sung refrain Psalm 29 Glo-ry, glo-ry, glo-ry to our God! Matthew an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. -4-

4 Sung refrain Psalm 29 Glo-ry, glo-ry, glo-ry to our God! Luke 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, the Lord. Angel is placed on the crèche. CAROL 38 Angels We Have Heard on High Scripture Reading Luke 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. Joseph is placed in the crèche. CAROL 64 O Little Town of Bethlehem O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. Luke 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. Mary is placed in the crèche.

5 -5- CAROL Mary, Woman of the Promise Mary, song of holy wisdom, sung before the world began, faithful to the Word within, you carried out God's wondrous plan. Luke 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. Baby Jesus is placed in the crèche. CAROL Away in A Manger Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. Scripture Reading Luke 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, 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, praising God and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors! Angels are placed in the crèche.

6 -6- CAROL 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime 'Twas in the moon of wintertime, when all the birds had fled, that mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead; before their light the stars grew dim, and wandering hunters heard the hymn: Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria. Shepherd and sheep are placed in the crèche. Scripture Reading Luke When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us. 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. The Shepherd CAROL The First Nowell The first Nowell the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; in fields where they lay akeeping their sheep on a cold winter's night that was so deep. Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, born is the King of Israel. Prayer Anthem O, Holy Night Star is placed on the crèche.

7 -7- Christmas Litany and Candle Lighting One: On a night like this 2000 years ago a child was born in hope to change the world. One: Tonight somewhere a child is being born in hope to change the world. One: Tonight somewhere someone who is ready to do harm pauses and remembers a child from long ago and chooses hope and peace instead of violence. One: Tonight somewhere someone who is lonely and afraid is comforted by a stranger and knows a moment of hope and love. One: Tonight somewhere someone who is hungry or naked receives the gift of food or clothing and knows hope, feeling full and warm. One: Tonight somewhere someone who has been a prisoner is released and knows hope and freedom. One: Tonight here and there people choose to act with peace, with love, with generosity, with mercy and Christ is born again in hope. Seasons of the Spirit The light of the Christ Candle is passed throughout the congregation as we sing. Carol Silent Night Silent Night! Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. Silent Night! Holy Night! Shepherds quake at the sight: glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah, Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born. -8- Silent Night! Holy Night! Son of God, love s pure light

8 Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Candles are extinguished Commissioning Go,Tell it on the Mountain Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born. Benediction Amen AMEN. Postlude (seated) We are truly blessed to have such fine musicians in our congregation. By our reflective silence we honor and partake of their gift to God. ANNOUNCEMENTS A warm welcome is extended to everyone who has joined us in worship this Christmas Eve. We have been giving praise and glory to God within these walls for 113 years. Our Christian life is sustained and grows because of your presence. It would be our pleasure if you come, as you are able, to worship with us again. If you are a guest with us today, please sign our guest book in the Vestibule. Texts for Sunday: Christmas 1 Isaiah ; Psalm 148; Hebrews ; Matthew GeT ConNecTed with our church The United Church of Canada Wonder Café Maritime Conference Betty-Jean Friedman GeT ConNecTed with our church Betty-Jean Friedman, Student Minister telephone:

9 A Christmas Letter from our Moderator Greetings, friends, in this season of Advent, anticipation, and longing. I hope that this message finds you encountering God s new birth among us in ways that inspire you and your passion for living the Way of Christ in the world. Let me tell you a short story about an experience that inspired me and builds me up at this time of year. It was the usual busy week leading up to Christmas hospital visits, communion for those who are shut-in, delivering Christmas hampers, and carolling. Christmas Eve brought the hot crush of visitors and many wired-up children for worship. By Christmas morning, I was feeling the kind of tired that many people in ministry feel on Christmas. I arrived at the sanctuary early and was enjoying the sun slanting in through the windows and the silence of the big, empty room. I set up a small table at the front of the sanctuary, laid a tablecloth on it, and set out the ceramic crèche from the altar and put the Advent wreath beside it. I knew there would be a small group this Christmas morning, and by 11:00 o clock there were 9 or 10 of us gathered around the table. First the children told the Christmas story to us in their own words using the ceramic figures, moving the cows and shepherds, Mary and Joseph around the space. We sang familiar Christmas songs and gave thanks to God for Jesus birth among us. Then we used a liturgy that was written by a young man who had grown up in our congregation who was now a minister elsewhere. The liturgy invited us as we lit each Advent candle to some activity or to answer some question. We lit the candle of hope, for example, and went around the circle and talked about the places in the world where we find hope. When we got to the fourth candle, the candle of love, the invitation was to go around the circle and say to each person by name, I love you and God loves you. It s quite an experience to have our friends say to us, David, God loves you and I love you. It s a powerful experience to say to my brothers and sisters in our little church community, Cindy or George I love you and God loves you. Well, when it became time for Sarah, a young mom, to go around the circle, she did like the rest of us. We went around and there were warm tears and friendly laughter after each turn. She came to Matteo, her seven-year-old son, and she said, Matteo, I love you and God loves you. And here is the breathtaking moment for me. Matteo simply said, I know.

10 I don t know when it is that we forget or stop trusting that we are beloved. I do know that that is part of the promise of the birth story that we hear at this time of the year. A reminder that God loves us and that we are beloved. And we come to church, we come into Christian community, to be reminded of that and to learn how to live that love in the world. My prayer for you, and for the strangers who will worship with us on Christmas Eve, and for those we reach out to in the world is that somehow you and they will hear through the voice of The United Church of Canada, God loves you and we love you. And that it will be said and enacted through our life together with such truth that they will be able to respond simply, I know. Because there begins the journey of faith with God with the story of our belovedness expressed through the birth of a small child born in a manger. Peace be with you. Amen. The Rev. David Giuliano, 39th Moderator ( )

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