Solo: O Holy Night https://youtu.be/oOiEtZwP1H0
Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem https://youtu.be/LRuXdOb6TrA
Gathering litany: may be read all together, or alternately with people in your home.
P: It is you, loving God, who lights our path with truth. All: Your Word, Jesus, is truth.
P: In his light, draw all to the manger All: to gather in wonder with the shepherds
P: In his light, draw all to the manger All: to kneel in reverence with the wise ones.
P: In his light, draw all to the manger All: to sing for joy with the angels.
P: In the brightness of his life All: cast away the darkness of injustice, poverty, and hunger in the world.
P: It is you, loving God, who meets us on our way. All: In the light of Jesus, show the world the way of life. Amen.
Hymn: Silent Night https://youtu.be/GPANBPHEjwo
(leader) The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them light has shined. We have beheld Christ’s glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Psalm 96 – Please join in reading the psalm.
1 O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honour and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
Luke 2: 1-7
Hymn: AWAY IN A MANGER https://youtu.be/r_wRmxQmU_o
THE SHEPHERDS AND THE ANGELS
Luke 2: 8- 12
Hymn: The first Noel https://youtu.be/0u5UvnKlCTA
Reading: Luke 2: 13- 20
Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing https://youtu.be/KmuCt8yTAgg
Message: Hello dear friends; I’m sitting at my desk, looking at the snowdrifts half way up the screen, but that doesn’t matter, because I can’t see across the street anyway, so I’m thinking “this isn’t quite the way I had planned to spend my day” – and this isn’t the message I had planned to share with you either.
But things turn out anyway.
So, peace to you this day as we open our hearts from the Advent longing and waiting and grasp on to the love that is given for you and for me this night.
Our service began with the beautiful hymn O Holy Night, and as I sit, isolated, somewhat sad and alone, I hear the words in that hymn “Till He appeared and our souls felt their worth”. The gift of the babe in Bethlehem is to stir our souls to feeling the value of each of us – alone or together, we have value and are treasured. Our souls have worth, WE have worth! This is a beautiful gift of Christmas.
Next, we shared in the words of the hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem, and heard the words “The Hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” Of all the years, these past few years have seen fear, anxiety, and even some dashed hopes – so how do those words of “hopes and fears of all the years” hit us as we realize this Baby in Bethlehem is God, taken on human form to walk with us in our disappointments and in our celebrations; This child knows our sadness and anxiety, and still chose to become manifest and walk through all that mess with us – that alone is joyous!
Two more hymns speak to me this evening: Silent night with the promise of peace on earth – the silencing of warring weapons and distressed people; the silence of the hungry people in our communities as they were fed Christmas dinner last week at Trinity Lutheran Church in Walkerton; and in the midst of the silence at that dinner, we heard the quiet laughter of a little child eating there with their mom. Peace does not come from silencing the voices of those in distress: Peace is when those voices are satisfied with the necessities for daily living and can gently laugh!
As we realize that the Christ Child is born for us we also see – especially this year – that he is born for me – who is sitting here alone – ME! As we realize that the gift is personal we also take on the responsibility to personally live in ways that bring peace to everyone. This is an individual task, and together with Jesus it is all possible.
Finally, the last hymn which I would like to highlight is not even listed in the Christmas section of the hymnal. Joy to the world is an advent hymn, but it is sung as a Christmas hymn. It could also be an Easter hymn, and a funeral hymn and a baptism hymn, because it is the joyful promise of God, sent to us in a baby in Bethlehem, sent to us in the risen Christ, and in the waters of Baptism, bread and wine and in the promise of eternal life. Joy Joy Joy! We need wait no longer. Christ is born in Bethlehem, Let the world rejoice.
GOD’S PROMISE COMES TO ALL HUMANKIND
John 1: 14 – 18
Hymn: Joy to the World https://youtu.be/VDmIddF7DfQ
Presentation of Gifts:
It was a night of gifts. Let us present our gifts.
Offertory Prayer: God of abundance, Receive and bless these gifts we have offered. Join our hearts with the song of the angels and gather us at your table of celebration. Strengthen us to share with all the world the abundance of your grace upon grace, poured out in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Amen
Blessing: God bless you and keep you
+ Jesus grant you grace and truth
And the Spirit send peace upon your hearts
Now and forever. Amen
Hymn: Go Tell it on the Mountain https://youtu.be/rN1s5RYV08Q
Dismissal: Christ the Savior is born- Go in peace and proclaim the good news.
R/ Thanks be to God.
South Grey Bruce Lutheran Parish – an ELCIC community of churches
St Paul’s Lutheran Church Neustadt: 379 Adam St Neustadt Ontario N0G 2M0
St Matthew Lutheran Church Mildmay: 21 Absalom St E, Mildmay, ON N0G 2J0
St Paul Normanby: P.O. Box 66, Neustadt, ON N0G 2M0