Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas; star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead, love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus, but wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token; love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and neighbor, love for plea and gift and sign.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: God of all creation,
today we remember the promise we have heard
from your prophet Isaiah:
Voice 1: The people who walked in gloom
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep shadows,
on them has light shined.
Voice 2: For to us a child is born,
to us an heir is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder:
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Leader: We gather as your community, O God,
waiting again for the sign that you are among us.
All: Give us a fresh vision of what it means to be your body
in this time and place.
Maranatha — come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: As love becomes flesh to live among us,
we learn what it means to love our neighbors.
People: Yet we forget to comfort those who are suffering;
and refuse to offer a helping hand
to those who are carrying more than they can bear.
Leader: We pray for your coming reign of justice and peace.
People: Yet when we see injustice taking place before us,
we keep our indignation silently in our hearts,
rather than defending those who are mistreated.
Leader: Even as we feel guilty about our many failures,
we are quick to become smug
about our spiritual successes.
All: Holy Lover, forgive us
when we fail to be love made flesh.
Leader: Stars and angels are signs of love incarnate,
reminders of God’s forgiving grace,
endlessly poured out for us
and for the healing of the world.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way. We open our hearts to you and your creation in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader: Go into the world in peace.
Have courage; hold onto what is good;
return to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak;
help the suffering; honor all people;
love and serve God,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.