Order of Service Christmas Day 2011

CALL TO WORSHIP: (from the rear of the church)

CAROL: 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.

Sing choirs of angels,
sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above,
“Glory to God
in the highest”:
O come, let us adore him…

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given:
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore him…     C/A

CANDLE-LIGHTING
We  have waited all through the season of Advent; waited,  not because we do not know the story of Jesus’ coming into the world, and not because we do not know that God is already and always here.
We waited,  because to wait is to expect something more;
to expect that the Christmas story might enter our hearts and
our world in new ways, to bring the change for which we long.

In the stillness of  the night, we sensed the first stirrings of Christmas joy and knew the wait was over.

[The Christ-Candle is re-lit.]

WELCOME

OPENING PRAYER

CAROL:  224 Joy to the World

STORY-TIME: Chi-Wee’s Special Present

CAROL: Come to This Christmas Singing  (Tune: WOV 245)
Come to this Christmas singing!
come to a birthday, bringing
gifts from our country’s treasure,
beauty of shell and stone:
wisdom the old have taught us,
laughter the young have brought us,
love to surround a manger,
making this Child our own.

Wealth of our land and water,
riches of race and culture –
these be our gold and incense
offered for Christmas Day:
where we make peace, declare it,
where we have much, let’s share it,
aroha warm our hearts, and
aroha be our way.
Here where the sheep are grazing,
where summer sun is blazing
harvests for others ripen –
food for the world can grow:
Christ of a cold December,
quicken us to remember
poverty in a stable,
need, like the sting of snow.    © Shirley Murray (CoC)

READINGS: Isaiah 9: 2-7 (Beverley) & Luke 2: 8-20 (Bruce)

REFLECTION

CAROL: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas day
their old familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet the words repeat
of peace on earth, good will to all.

And thought how, as the day had come,
the belfries of all Christendom
had rolled along the unbroken song
of peace on earth, good will to all.

Till ringing, singing on its way
the world revolved from night to day,
a voice, a chime, a chant sublime
of peace on earth, good will to all.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to all.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth, good will to all.”    C/A

OFFERING
May these gifts enable others the blessings we receive this Christmas; the gift of childlike wonder, the gift of a radiant hope, the gift of the peace which passes all understanding, the gift of joy which knows no bounds.
With our gifts we bring ourselves, O God, in response to the greatest gift of all – yourself in the babe of Bethlehem.  Amen.

CHRISTMAS GREETING

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

CAROL:  Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic  host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Hail, the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays His glory by,
born that we no more may die;
born to raise us from the  earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.       C/A

THE BLESSING

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