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December 27, 2020 Worship Service
The Rev. Thérèse  Samuel
The Rev. Thérèse Samuel
Sunday, December 27, 2020
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December 27th, 2020 1st Sunday of Christmas ~ Christmas Morning Carol Service

For the order of service click here, then find this week's service.

Leading us today in Worship
Minister: Rev. Thérèse Samuel
Music Director: Dr. Christopher Burton
Lay Leader:  Phyllis Fleming
Scripture Reader:   Bonnie Hammond    

~ Leader: regular font ~ All: bold font ~ Sung words: bold italics  

PRELUDE  

WELCOME      

CALL TO WORSHIP
Jesus Christ is born today! Hallelujah! Praise be to God. Our Saviour, a gift of love for all the people. Hallelujah! Thanks be to God. We celebrate good news of great joy: a Saviour who is the Messiah. Glory to God in the highest. Let joy ring out for all the world to know: Christ is here today.  

OPENING PRAYER  
Triumphant God, we lift up our voices in praise and adoration of your presence in our lives and in the world. We sing out in joy and thanksgiving for all you have given us, for your unfailing love and compassion. We shout to the rooftops, echoing the delight and wonder of your Christmas promise to us, that a saviour is born for us, Jesus, the Son of the Most High. Holy is your name, O Lord.  Hallelujah. Amen.

HYMN   VU 76 See amid the Winter’s Snow  
1. See amid the winter’s snow born for us on earth below, see, the tender Lamb appears,  promised from eternal years.
Refrain Hail, thou ever-blessed morn; hail, redemption’s happy dawn; sing through all Jerusalem,  Christ is born in Bethlehem.  
2. Lo, within a manger lies God who built the starry skies, Who enthroned in height sublime sits amid the cherubim.
Refrain Hail, thou ever-blessed morn; hail, redemption’s happy dawn; sing through all Jerusalem,  Christ is born in Bethlehem.  
3. Say, ye holy shepherds, say what your joyful news today;  wherefore have ye left your sheep on the lonely mountains steep. 
Refrain Hail, thou ever-blessed morn; hail, redemption’s happy dawn; sing through all Jerusalem,  Christ is born in Bethlehem.  
4. “As we watched at dead of night, lo, we saw a wondrous light,  angels singing ‘Peace on earth’ told us of the Saviour’s birth.” 
Refrain Hail, thou ever-blessed morn; hail, redemption’s happy dawn; sing through all Jerusalem,  Christ is born in Bethlehem.  
5. Sacred infant, all divine, what a mighty love was thine,  thus to come from highest bliss down to such a world as this! 
Refrain Hail, thou ever-blessed morn; hail, redemption’s happy dawn; sing through all Jerusalem,  Christ is born in Bethlehem.  

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION God of hosanna and hallelujah, of whoops of delight and joyous shouts, open our hearts to the overwhelming magnitude of your love for us. God of silent nights and tender care, quieten our excitement—just a little—so that we may hear your word this day. God of astounded shepherds and praising angels, lift up our hearts to glorify you this morning as we receive the stories of scripture. Amen.  

SCRIPTURE  1 After all the excitement of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, we hear now how he is received into his family and community:     
Luke 2:22-40 (NRSV)
22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." 33 And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed--and a sword will pierce your own soul too." 36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.  

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
In our contact with family members and friends far from home, your love, O God, is down to earth. In our remembering of those who must work in this holy season, and during lockdown, especially the front line workers in essential services, your love, O God, is down to earth. As we are in touch with those who are sick, sorrowing, and troubled within our faith community, your love, O God, is down to earth. As we reach out to meet neighbourhood needs for food, friendship, and shelter, your love, O God, is down to earth. We give thanks for your “down-to-earth” love, a love we know in Jesus, and ask that we might be inspired to find new ways to share this “down-to-earth” love. (time of silent reflection) In Jesus, we know that your love, O God, is down to earth.

WORDS OF ASSURANCE
In our ability to celebrate with wholehearted Christmas joy, God’s love will be our love. In our ability to leave what is past in the past, God’s love will be our love. In our ability to face up to discord and distrust, God’s love will be our love. In our ability to work with others and for others, God’s love will be our love. No hostility, no grudges, no hidden fears, no unspoken resentment, God’s love will be your love; God’s peace will be your peace! Believe it, act on it, for in Jesus, God is with us; God love’s is “down to earth.” Thanks be to God. Amen.

SCRIPTURE 2           Let us listen to words from a Letter of Paul, words about the gift of Christ that we celebrate this week. Galatians 4:4-7   I am reading from the New Revised Standard Version.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

SERMON   “Law and Grace”  

HYMN  VU 57 Oh, How Joyfully
1. Oh, how joyfully, oh, how hopefully, waits the world on Christmas Eve. Love comes healing, God revealing. Friends, be joyful and believe!  
2. Oh, how joyfully, oh, how peacefully, sleeps the world on Christmas Night! Sins are covered, grace discovered. In our darkness shines the light!  
3. Oh, how joyfully, oh, how thankfully, Wakes the world on Christmas Morn! God has spoken, death is broken. Hallelujah! Christ is born.  

PROFESSION OF FAITH A New Creed
We are not alone, we live in God’s world.   We believe in God: who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.   We trust in God. We are called to be the Church: to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus,    crucified and risen,    our judge and our hope. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.  

CHRISTMAS PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE We are in the Season of Christmas, so let us pray a Christmas Prayer:
O God, during this season, we celebrate your birth amongst us as a human child. Renew your church as the Body of Christ. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. In this holy season Christians the world over are celebrating Christ’s birth. Open our hearts to faith. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. On the first Christmas, there was no room in the inn. Protect with your love those who have no home, and all who live in poverty. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. Your Christ came as a light shining in the night.  Bring comfort to all who suffer any kind of pain or sadness in our world. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. Shepherds in the fields heard good tidings of joy.  Give us grace to share the gospel of love. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today. Angels sang, “Peace to God’s people on earth.” Strengthen those who work for your peace and justice in all the world. O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us today.  

THE LORD’S PRAYER (Spoken, traditional words, VU 921) As a child turns to a loving caregiver who watches over them, we turn in prayer to you, O God, who are our heavenly parent, our mother, Our Father, who art in Heaven…  

PASSING THE PEACE OF CHRIST The Peace of Christ be with you.          And also with you. MUSIC for PASSING the PEACE  

OFFERING  We  honour all the ways we give as we dedicate our offering.
INVITATION TO OFFERING We sing our invitation to the offering: VU 55 In the Bleak Midwinter, v 4
What can I give him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb, If I were a wise one I would do my part, Yet what I can I give Him — Give my heart.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION
And we pray: Inspire us, Empowering God, to give with joy, gladly offering our time and treasure to serve you. Cherish us, Patient God, encouraging us to give in hope, trusting your presence in our lives. Work through us, Resolute God, to transform our communities with your peace. Work in us, Redeeming Lord, so that your love shines out in our lives, for all those around us to see. Amen.   A single stone placed in the offering plate honours all our gifts.  

SENDING HYMN   VU 60 O Come, All Ye Faithful  
1. 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;
Refrain O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.  
2. God of God, light of light,  lo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb;  very God, begotten, not created: 
Refrain O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.  
3. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,  sing, all ye citizens of heaven above; glory to God in the highest:
Refrain O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.  
4. See how the shepherds summoned to his cradle, leaving their flocks draw nigh with lowly fear; We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;
Refrain O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.   
5. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory give; word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: 
Refrain O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.  

 

BLESSING Go in the presence of God who has come to be with us and the whole world.       Go in the love of God who breaks the boundaries of  race and creed, of nation and tongue. Go and share this presence, and this love: share it confidently, share it boldly. And in your moments of need, in this pandemic time, may the tender and warm love of the Christ Child fill you and still you.

SUNG SENDING O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.  

POSTLUDE             

LITURGY SOURCES: The following are used with permission:
- Call to Worship and Opening  Prayer   by Gill Le Fevre, from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021p36 - Prayer of confession and words of assurance by David Sparks  from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p38 - Prayer for Illumination and Prayer of Dedication by Gill Le Fevre, from Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2020-2021 p38 - Sermon, Blessing written by Thérèse Samuel, 2020  - Affirmation of Faith: “A New Creed,” The United Church of Canada, General Council 1968, alt. 1998 - Prayers of the People, from  Celebrate God’s Presence, p 118,  

HYMNS and SUNG VERSES
VU 76 See amid the Winter’s Snow Words: Edward Caswall 1851 Music John Goss 1871 Public Domain   VU 57 Oh, How Joyfully Words: Brian Wren Music: Sicilian melody, 18th century Words copyright 1983 Hope Publishing Company Used by permission, One License #608577    VU 55 In the Bleak Midwinter, v 4 Words: Christina Georgina Rosetti ca. 1872 Music: Gustav Theodor Holst 1906   VU 60 O Come, All Ye Faithful Words: Latin John Francis Wade ca. 1743  English translation. Frederick Oakley 1841 Music: attrib. John Francis Wade ca. 1743 Public Domain.  

SCRIPTURE PASAGES Scripture Passage from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ  in the United States of America. Used by permission.

 

Prelude Away in a Manger R. Jacques
Passing  of the Peace  O Little Town Walford Davies
Postlude Torches Joubert
All Oxford University Press, used by permission OneLicense #608577