Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Day - B

Texts:  Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-12; John 1:1-14

Call to Worship
L:    Wonder of wonders,
     God has come to us!
P:    Not as a judge, but a Savior,
     not in power, but as a servant.
L:    Wonder of wonders,
     God comes to us!
P:    Not in silence, but in the Word made flesh;
     not in the shadows, but bringing Light.
L:    Wonder of wonders!
P:    God is with us!

Prayer of the Day
Angels sang their anthems
at the midnight hour
to awaken a sleeping creation;
shepherds came to worship you,
and went away rejoicing;
wise one gave their hearts to you,
so they could dwell in yours.
O Immanuel,
we adore you!

You came to us as a baby,
to hold us in your grace;
you came to us in a stable,
so we would have no trouble finding you;
you came to us in poverty,
to enrich our lives.
O Beautiful Messenger of Peace,
we adore you!

You play with us
in the streets of the kingdom;
you build your home
deep within our souls;
you walk with us
in the winter of life.
O Wisdom from on high,
we adore you!

God in Community, Holy in One,
all the faithful lift their songs of joy to you,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father. . .

Call to Reconciliation
God became one of us, so that we could see the face of love, hear the voice of peace, be touched by the hand of grace, know the heart of mercy.  God comes to us, offering us forgiveness and peace.  Please join with me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You came in weakness, Mighty God:
  forgive our grasping for power.
You came in humility, Prince of Peace:
  forgive us
  for wanting more than others.
You came in poverty, Everlasting One:
  forgive us
    when we do not see your family
   sleeping in our streets.
You came in gentleness, Wonderful Counselor:
  forgive us
  for the anger we speak
  and the pain we cause.

Child of Bethlehem,
be born in us today:
 forgive us,
 heal us,
 make us new;
then we will join the angels in singing your praises
 this Christmas Day
 and all the days to come.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    Break forth into singing, children of God:
      for the Babe comes to comfort us,
      like a mother rocking her son to sleep,
      like a father wiping away the tears
      of his daughter.
P: (sung)    Joy to the Word, 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 heaven and nature sing.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:    May the Child of Bethlehem be born in you.
P:    And in your heart as well.
L:    Children of God, lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift them to the One who came to us that first Christmas morning.
L:    People of God, give thanks to the One who is always with us.
P:    O come, o come Immauel, to feed us at your Table.

When you were weary
of chaos as your companion,
Everlasting God,
you whispered to the Word
who sang Creation's song:
mountains sprang to attention,
rivers and oceans splashed your feet,
and the dust from the Carpenter's table
was gathered up and shaped in your image.
Spirit breathed life into us,
that we might dance with you forever.
But when we looked beyond your glory,
and saw the decorative temptations
the world dangled before our eyes,
we rushed to embrace sin and death.
Yet you looked past our rebellion,
seeing the people we could become,
and so sent Isaiah and Hannah,
Simeon and Anna as your faithful witnesses.
When we continued to turn up
the world's volume
to drown out your pleas,
you sent the Word of hope
in the silence of a stable.

Therefore, we join with the angels
of Bethlehem's skies,
and all those who sing of your steadfast love,
in every time and place:

P:    Holy are you, God of Christ-filled mornings.
     All creation remembers your steadfast love and faithfulness,
          breaking out in joyous song:
     'Hosanna in the highest!'

     Blessed is the One who brings us the victory of God.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Mighty God,
and blessed is the One who comes in your name,
our Lord and Savior, your Gift to all the world.
You would not keep the Word to yourself,
but sent him to tell us
of your hopes for us.
You did not cling to the Prince of Peace,
but poured him out to end
our enmity and violence with one another.
You could not hold your Heart
in your hands,
but allowed him to be broken
on the tree of Calvary
that we might be made whole forever.

So, as we celebrate his birth,
his life, his death and his resurrection,
we remember the faith which he models for us,
and gives to us as our inheritance:

P:    In the beginning, Christ was with you, creating life;
     on the cross, Christ died with you, defeating death;
     from the empty tomb, Christ rose with you, bringing salvation;
     from glory, Christ will come again with you, the Light which
          could not be overcome.

As we gather at your Table,
send your Spirit upon the bread and the cup,
and upon us, your children.
As you sent Jesus to be born of Mary,
may we bear the burdens of others;
as you became One with us in the Child,
may we live at peace with all people;
as you have brought us out
of the shadows of our sin,
may we carry the Light of the world
to all who live in the darkness
of oppression and injustice.

Then, when we gather at your Table
prepared for all people in your kingdom,
we will sing that new song
first caroled at creation
and echoed through Bethlehem's hills:
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth, peace,
goodwill to all."

(c)  Thom M. Shuman