December 24, 2021

Bell PreludesO Come, Little Children, setting by Michael Helman
    On Christmas Night All Christians Sing, setting by Douglas E. Wagner

Call to Worship                    Abingdon
L: Rejoice and sing.
P: A child is born!
L: Sing songs of praise.
P: Christ is born! Hallelujah. Amen.

Advent Reading
L: This night, is a night to remember. A night when we were not forgotten or alone or abandoned. This night is the night when here and there became one, when past and future combined in a breathless present. This is a night when we are home, in ourselves, in this family, in the God who loved us enough to walk beside us.

Pastor: We gather in the night to proclaim the light. We shrug off despair and embrace hope. We set aside conflict and choose peace. We push away despair by claiming joy. We overcome hate by rising into love. Because this night we know, even in the shadows of our doubts, we know that we are loved. That’s what it means to be home.

L: We light these candles, hoping to become the light, hoping to radiate light by how we live. We light these candles to create a space called home in this place, in our place, in inner places. We light these candles to declare that unto us a Savior is born, who is Christ the Lord. Welcomed home by angels singing and shepherds kneeling. Welcomed home by those like us who have worshiped for thousands of years. Welcomed home again tonight, right here, right now, in us.

Pastor: It’s time to be home.

Hymn             Angels we Have Heard on High                     UMH 238
1. Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains. Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

4. See him in a manger laid, whom the choirs of angels praise; Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise. Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Opening Prayer         Abingdon                                                       
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, be born in our hearts this night. Shine your light into the darkness of our world, that all the earth might know your glorious presence and that all people might find hope in your love and grace. In your glorious name, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession                         Abingdon
When the shadows of sin and sorrow surround us, shine on us with the light of your comfort and your grace. When the despair of the world overwhelms us, lift us with your promise of hope. When we forget the good news of your presence, cry out with your message of love, that we might hear and remember anew. Christ is born. Christ is with us. We are not alone. In your beloved name, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Hymn             O Come, All Ye Faithful                      UMH  234 v.1,3, 6
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; O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

3. Sing, choir of angels, sing in exultation; O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory to God, all glory in the highest; O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

6. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory given. Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

First Reading – Psalm 96                             
1O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. 4For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. 5For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth. 10Say among the nations, “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.” 11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

Reading – Choir Anthems       Ding-dong Merrily on High                   Kevin’s Carol

Tithes & Offerings – Can be sent to 329 N. 5th Street; Reading, PA 19601  Or online HERE

Chancel choir – Reading:  O Come To Him, Suzanne Patterson

Offertory Prayer       Abingdon                                           
Beautiful Savior, we are so grateful for your birth so many years ago, and we are so joyful to have your presence in our lives this night. In gratitude, we offer our gifts, however humble they might be. Transform our gifts with your glory and grace, that our gifts might become grace and love, and light and hope, for a world in need of you. Amen.

Hymn              Away in the Manger                UMH 217
1. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

3. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray; bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Pastoral Prayer 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Reading Choir Anthem                    O Come to Him 

Second Reading – Luke 1:39-55
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph 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. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And 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. 8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And 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!” 15When 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.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Sermon                                                                                   Rev. Mandy Miller

Hymn              Silent Night                             UMH 239        Tom Wettach – Guitar
1. 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.

2. Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight; glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

3. 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, the Lord, at thy birth.

4. Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light; with the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King; Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Hymn             Joy to the World                      UMH 246

1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing [and heaven and nature sing], and heaven and nature sing [and heaven and nature sing], and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

2. Joy to the world, the Savior reigns! Let all their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy [repeat the sounding joy], repeat the sounding joy [repeat the sounding joy], repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

4. He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love [and wonders of his love], and wonders of his love [and wonders of his love], and wonders, wonders of his love.

Benediction     

Organ Postlude:   Noel, Dacquin


Hymns and Prayers used under CCLS# 2049575 / Hymns and Prayers for Streaming CCSL #20468685/ Bible readings from New Revised Standard Version.