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GOOD MORNING!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent

Hanging of the Greens

 

 

 

Welcome: Pastor Cheryl

 

Announcements: Pastor Cheryl

Wednesdays - December 2, 9, 16, 23 - Advent Bible Study @ 6:00 PM

Friday, December 4 - Fellowship Meeting @ 9:00 AM

Wednesday - December 16 - Missions team meeting @ 4:30 PM

Saturday, December 19 - Breakfast with Santa Claus @ Union UMC - 8:30 am - 10:30 am.

Thursday, December 24, 2020 - Joint Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Service with Union UMC - 7:00 PM and Facebook Live

 

Call to Worship: (responsively) Worship Lay Leader

Leader: How shall we prepare this house for the birth of Jesus?

Congregation: With branches of cedar, the tree of excellence and strength.

Leader: How shall we prepare this house for the eternal Christ?

Congregation: With garlands of pine and fir, whose leaves are ever living, ever green.

Leader: How shall we prepare this house for the prophet of Galilee?

Congregation: With wreaths of holly and ivy, telling of his passion, death and resurrection.

Leader: How shall we prepare our hearts for this revelation of God?

Congregation: By hearing again the words of the prophets and the promises of God.

Leader: For in the story of Jesus we see revealed the transforming power of God

We are reminded anew of God's vision of wholeness, justice, and peace for all of creation.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

 

Opening Prayer: (in unison) Worship Lay Leader

Loving God, as we enter this Advent season, we open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ. Show us the creative power of hope. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen.

 

Affirmation of Faith: (in unison) Worship Lay Leader

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

Tithes and Offerings: Pastor Cheryl

 

Joys and Concerns: Pastor Cheryl

 

Pastoral Prayer with the Lord's Prayer: Pastor Cheryl

 

The Meaning of the Service: Pastor Cheryl

Almost 2,000 years ago, the story goes, a clutch of sleepy shepherds were watching over their sheep on a star-brightened hillside in Palestine. It was a still, uneventful night. Suddenly the darkness was filled with a strange light. The stillness was broken by angel voices singing "Glory to God in the Highest, on earth peace, goodwill to all." So begins Christmas, the most beautiful and meaningful celebration of the Christian calendar.

 

Christmas actually begins with Advent, the season through with we are moving. Both the seasons of Advent-the season of "going toward" the birth of Christ-and Christmas have a long history. These seasons and their customs have developed through many centuries and many countries. Old customs and observances are refined, renewed, replaced; new ones are added.

 

This morning our church building will begin to wear its Christmas apparel. For the first time our Christmas tree stand in the sanctuary. This day for the first time its lights will shine for us. As we make ready for the birth of the child by preparing this sanctuary, we make ready ourselves and the sanctuary of our own hearts. We are mindful that, although it is not Christmas yet, it will be here soon, very soon.

 

As we decorate the church, not only will we explain the history of the symbols of these special seasons, but we will rededicate these symbols-and ourselves-to the service of God.

 

Advent Wreath Introduction: Pastor Cheryl

Advent is a time of expectation, and this is symbolized not only by the four-week period of preparation, but also by the lighting of an Advent candle on each Sunday of the season. The four candles provide us with a visual way to count off four Sundays of this season. The flame of each new candle reminds us that something is happening, but something more is still to come. The Advent season is not complete until all four candles are lighted, with the central Christ candle also burning brightly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

 

The tradition of the Advent wreath is traced back to an old Scandinavian custom that celebrated the coming of light after a season of darkness. In that day, candles were place on the edge of a horizontal wheel. As the wheel was spun around, the lighted candles would blend into a continuous circle of light. Today we use a circle of evergreen to remind us of the continuous power of God, which knows no beginning nor ending.

 

There is also symbolism in the colors of the candles in the Advent wreath. The three purple candles symbolize the coming of Christ from the royal line of David. The pink candle is lighted on the third Sunday of the Advent season. This candle symbolizes joy; its use goes back to the Latin Church, which asked the worshipers to fast during this period of time.

 

Isaiah 64:1-9 NIV Pastor Cheryl

64 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

 

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.

 

8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.

 

The Gospel of John speaks of Christ as the true light coming into the world. In commemoration of that coming, we light candles for the four weeks leading to Christmas and reflect on the coming of Christ. It is significant that the church has always used that language-the coming of Christ-because it speaks to a deep truth. Christ is coming. Christ is always coming, always entering a troubled world, a wounded heart. And so we light the first candle, the candle of hope, and dare to express our longing for peace, for healing, and the well-being of all creation.

 

First Advent Candle Lighting Reading - Readers ???

Reader One: If ever there was a year we needed Advent, this is the year. We hardly know how to describe the year we have lived through. We hesitate to reflect on all the mess around us in 2020. All we know is that nothing seems right, nothing seems like it used to be, nothing. We need Advent!

 

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah cried out for us, "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down ... To make your name known ... so that nations might tremble at your presence." So, tear through the mess, O Lord, and come down to us again. We long to be your people, a people of hope.

 

Reader One: We light this first candle as a sign of our hope. Hope that you can meet us, even in the mess of our world. Hope that you still see us, though we feel we are lost in the rubble. Let this light be the guide that brings us to Emmanuel once more.

 

Reader Two: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. (Lights a purple candle)

 

The Legend of the Poinsettias: Pastor Cheryl

The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor but always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing.

 

One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service. On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course other children teased them when they arrived with their gift, but they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today. [Note:These paragraphs are posted on several internet sites.]

 

Poinsettias in Memory of / in Honor of: (no particular order) Worship Lay Leader

In Honor of Thomas and Barbara Moon - Given by Bill Moon

 

In Loving Memory of Frederick and Ruth Witschonke ; Gilbert C. Nagle, Sr.; Freida Woitko and her sons, Andrew and Peter Woitko - Given by The Nagle Family

 

In Loving Memory of Allen Eugene Racine - Given by Edith Racine

 

In Loving Memory of Eddie... Always in our hearts - Given by Doris Rhodes

 

In Loving Memory of Jerry L. Webb; Bernard and Harriette Doordan - Given by Tracy Webb and B. Patrick Doordan

 

In Loving Memory of my Parents George and Alice Marie Husfelt, Grandson Lee, and Nephews Georgie and Ira - Given by Carol Young

 

In Loving Memory of our Parents Carvel and Betty Warren, and Sterling and Maude Snyder - Given by Pastor Cheryl and Eugene Snyder

 

Evergreen Branches and Wreaths:

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 Pastor Cheryl

2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

 

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

 

Have you ever wondered why we talk about the "hanging of the greens?" Or why an evergreen is called an evergreen? And why Christmas greens are traditionally used to emphasize the nativity? Green represents renewal, new life, freshness, and rebirth. Plants such as pine, fir, holly, ivy, and mistletoe are called evergreens because they do not die; through the seasons of the year, they remain ever-green. Ever-alive. It is no wonder then that we deck our sanctuary and halls with evergreens during this Advent season. Advent is the season of preparation for the ever-coming  Christ, God's gift to us of renewal and transformation.

 

Because the needles of the pine and fir trees appear not to die each season, the ancients saw them as signs of things that last forever. Isaiah tells us that there will be no end to the reign of the Messiah. Therefore, we hand this wreath of evergreens shaped in a circle, which in itself has no end, to signify that the kingdom of God, to which Christ so eloquently testified, is also without end, and is realized wherever truth, justice, and peace prevail.

 

Hang the Wreath

 

Christmas Tree Decoration, Dedication and Blessing:

Scripture Reading: John 1:1-5, 9-14 NIV Pastor Cheryl

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Decoration - We will only have one family/single person at a time come up to place a Christmas decoration on the tree.

 

Dedication: Pastor Cheryl

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, the Light of the World, we light the Christmas tree. During this season of Advent, whenever you see a lighted Christmas tree, let it call to mind the One who brings light to our darkness, healing to our brokenness, and peace to all who receive him. (Light the Christmas tree)

 

Blessing: (in unison) Pastor Cheryl

Loving God, we come with joy to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose path of justice and inclusivity lights a path for all who follow him. May this tree, arrayed in splendor, remind us of the life-giving cross of Christ, that we may always rejoice in the new life that shines in our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.

 

 

The Nativity:

Scripture Reading: Luke 2: 10-12 NIV Worship Lay Leader

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

 

Pastor Cheryl - One of the most heart-warming expressions of Christmas is the Nativity. The Nativity speaks of the mystery of God's wisdom. Why God chose to send his son into our world as a baby of humble birth, born in common surroundings, we do not know. What we do know is that God reached out to all people including the poor and wealthy, the simple and the wise, the powerless and the powerful. All who found him knelt in humility before him. Knowing God is possible because he came to us, at our level. Whenever we see a Nativity, we find ourselves with Mary and Joseph; with the Shepherds, and with the Wise Men; bowing before the manger, overwhelmed by God's expression of love in coming to us.

 

Placing the Nativity on the Communion Table during the reading.

 

 

 

Closing Prayer: Pastor Cheryl

O God, you have caused this world to shine with the illumination of the true Light. You have given us your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Him to reveal to us your glory and grace. As you have given this gift in love, may we receive it with hope and joy. Grant that we, being regenerate and made your children by adoption and grace may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit. Grant us, we pray, that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth, so may we also reflect that light to a darkened world; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 

Benediction: (responsively) Pastor Cheryl

Leader: Take time, in the busyness of this season, for quiet reflection-For the light of God's love is discernible everywhere.

Congregation: We will let ourselves be surprised by wonder, and set aside time to offer quiet thanks.

Leader: The good news of Advent is this: Christ is coming. Christ is always coming.

Congregation: We will welcome Christ into our hearts. We will let ourselves be guided by his ministry. We will go forth from this place in hope.

 

 

  

   

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