Invitation to Worship: written by Ann Siddall, read by Cherie only
In the midst of frenzied shopping and end-of-year weariness, we spread out a purple cloth, (a purple cloth is spread over the communion table) read again the ancient stories, (a Bible is placed on the table) and light candles in the darkness, (a candle or an Advent wreath is placed and lit) to celebrate a visitation.
Gathered here we declare our intention to live as if the greatest gift in the world were about to be placed into our hands (a wrapped parcel is laid on the table), and as if the Giver has understood our deepest needs, our most heartfelt prayers.
Like Mary, may we be surprised by our calling; like Simeon and Anna, may the years increase our faith; like sleepy shift workers on a hillside, may our eyes be opened; like Joseph may we listen to our dreams; for this season requires our creative imagination.
There is a Presence in our world that asks to be seen, who will stay awake? There is a coming to our world that seeks a welcome, who will offer hospitality?
Even now Jesus Christ is moving towards us. Our worship this evening will include some quiet spaces, space after the Scripture is read, space during the offering of our prayers, and space before the Benediction. In the spaces you are invited to watch and wait, look and listen.
Opening Prayer: by Lisa Frenz
O God of love, you have brought us together tonight and blessed us with your very self. Open our eyes to the light of Christ which glows in the darkness of a world engulfed in apathy, pain and loss; a world separated from you. Speak to us now that we may hear the good news of your salvation. Bring us into the wonder of your presence. Fill us with that light and carry it out with us into our lives. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12
Message: The Gifts of Christmas