Worship: December 24, 2018

Zion United Church Of Christ

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

“Embodying the Love of God in Word and Action”

Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018

 Introit:    “Unto Us a Son is Given”…………………………………………………..……….……Martin       

We Gather To Worship

*Opening Hymn: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”………………………………………………………..#133

 *Call To Worship

One:            The people who walked in deep shadows have seen a great light.

All:             Those who lived in deep shadows, on them light has shined.

One:            Let us sing a new song.

All:             Let the seas thunder!  Let the trees shout for joy.

One:            Breathe deep of the starlight, the stable animals, the child.

All:             Let us ponder all these things in our heart.

One:            Glory to God, and peace on earth!

All:             For Jesus Christ is born!

 *Opening Prayer

Leader:      God, tonight we celebrate the good news of great joy; that you know what it is to be human, just like us.  We sing with the angels in awestruck glory even as we continue to hope for peace through all of Earth.  We know that we are sometimes reluctant to come and see, when you tell us about new birth.  O holy child of Bethlehem, be born in us today, erase our fears, and make us eager to welcome the light.

 Scripture: Isaiah 9: 2-7 (O.T. pg. 600)

Prayer Of Confession

Leader:      Gracious God, you show mercy from one generation to the next; you seek justice in a world that is proud and arrogant; you look with favour upon the lowly.  Your grace knows no bounds.  But we have been bounded.  We have been slow to trust in your promises.  Adversities, uncertainties, and injustices have made us place hope in ourselves and our own abilities.  We have forgotten to look to you, the one whose faith and love are steadfast, always looking to ground and strengthen us.  Forgive us, merciful God.  Break the bonds that trap us so that we might find ourselves tethered to your hope for each of us and for our communities, that we might be strengthened to view the world as you do.

Assurance Of Pardon

Leader:      Hear the good news.  Tonight, the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.  In the name of Jesus the Christ, we are forgiven!  Amen.

We Interpret Scripture Through Song (Cantata)        

                Hymn: “O Little Town of Bethlehem”……………………………………………….…..…..#121

                Scripture: Psalm 96 (O.T. pg. 520

                                       “Somewhere in that Silent Night”…………………………………arr. Martin                    

“African Hallelu”..………………………………………..…………Curry

*Hymn:  “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”……………………………………………………….…………#119

                                Scripture:  Isaiah 52: 7-10 (O.T, pg. 642

                                           “Is There Room?”…………………….……………………………Machen

                                     “There’s a New Song Ringin’”…………………………….…..…..Barrett             

                Scripture: Luke 2: 1-20 (We are reading the King James Version)

 Finale:   “A Highland Carol”……………………………………………………………..……Michael W. Smith

 We Respond To God’s Good News

 A Brief Meditation

 Hymn:  “The First Nowell”……………………………………………………….………..……#147, vs 1, 2

 Profession Of Our Faith (from the Nicene Creed)

All:             I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.  Who, for us and our salvation, came down from heaven, and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made truly human.  He will come again in glory and his kingdom will have no end.

 Prayers Of The People And the Lord’s Prayer

(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 sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.)

 Offering:   The offering will be given to C.A.R.E.S. (Combined Area Resources for Emergency Shelter), the area’s cold weather homeless shelter when no other shelter can be found. Folks are housed at local churches in Gettysburg, which have volunteered their spaces for two-week periods. Volunteers provide breakfast and a bagged dinner for the evening.

 Offertory:   Glory Hallelu!”…………..…………………………………………….…………………..Besig

 Prayer Of Dedication

All:………… God of wonder, we offer you these humble gifts, signs of your goodness and mercy.  Receive them with our gratitude that through us all people may know the riches of your love in the Word-made-flesh.  Amen.

 Candlelighting

Leader:….. The light has come into the world.  The light shines in our lives and in our hearts.  Now, as we sing about peace and light one another’s candles, let us remember to shine God’s light into every corner of the world.  Amen.

Lighting Of The Candles

 Note: Dan and Kevin will begin “Silent Night” by singing the first verse in German.  This is to observe the 200th anniversary of the composition of this favorite piece. After they sing the first verse in German, all will join in singing the first verse again, in English. The acolytes will light the worshiper’s candles at the end of each pew.  Worshipers should then share the light with others.  At the end of “Silent Night,” please extinguish your candles. 

“Silent Night! Holy Night!

                                Verse 1 (Congregation)

                                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.

                                 Verse 2 (Congregation)

                                Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight,

                        glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing

                        Allelulia; Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.

 

                          Verse 3 (Congregation)

Silent night! Holy night!  Son of God, love’s pure light,

                        Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of

                        redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord,

                        at thy birth.

 *Benediction

 *Recessional Hymn:   “Joy to the World”…………………………………………………..……….#134

 Postlude