December 18, 2022 – Fourth Sunday in Advent – LOVE – Christmas Play Sunday
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, December 18, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, December 18.
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Lighting of the Candle of Love
Reader 1: We are people of love.
Reader 2: God has loved us so much that God has chosen to come as Immanuel, the God who is with us.
People: We are free to love others, because God first loved us.
Reader 1: The fourth candle of Advent invites us to reflect God’s love in our lives.
Reader 2: We light this candle so that we can see who we are called to love today.
(Light the candle of love)
Reader 1: Let us pray:
People: Holy One, help us to know we are deeply loved and to share that same unconditional love with others. May our lives reflect the warmth and wonder of this flame. Make your church a place of love and acceptance in our community. Amen.
“It came upon the midnight clear” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 148). Words (1849) by American minister and author Edmund Sears (1810–1876). Music (1850) by American composer Richard Storrs Willis (1819–1900). Words and music public domain.
Prayer of Approach, Confession & Lord’s Prayer
Emmanuel, God with us, we praise you for your presence throughout the amazing universe you have made. The shining stars sing your praise which echoes in the depth of space. The smallest snowflake and a baby’s tiny fingers reflect your intricate love for the details of each and every life. In Jesus Christ, you were born among us, one of a kind, yet one with a kind, to show us how your great love is lived out day by day. Inspire us with your loving Spirit as we move through Advent toward Christmas Day, so that our celebrations of love made flesh in Jesus will share the presence of your love with those who need it most. So may we live the praise we offer to you, Emmanuel, God with us, now and evermore.
Lord of love, we confess we sometimes find your love daunting. You called Joseph to honour his love for Mary, even when custom called him to break his engagement. We confess custom has a hold on us, too, and challenging expectations for love’s sake makes us nervous. You call us to love our neighbour, but we resist your call if our neighbours annoy us. You call us to love our enemies, too, but that seems impossible in these contentious times. Forgive us for loving only in the safest situations. Dare us to love as Jesus loved so he will be born again in us.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Assurance of Pardon
Receive the Good News in love. With great mercy, God forgives what we have confessed and offers us new life in Christ. Know that God’s steadfast love is yours this day, and share that love with friend and enemy alike, so that the power of such love can change the world.
Exchanging the Peace of Christ
The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Guildwood Junior Choir Presents
“Gesù Bambino”. Italian words and music (1917) by Italo-American organist and composer Pietro Yon (1886–1943). English words (1917) by American journalist and writer Frederick Herman Martens (1874–1932). Arrangement (1994) by American composer, arranger and conductor Robert “Bob” Loren Krogstad (1950–2015). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1994 Hal Leonard Corporation; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.
Dedication of our Gifts
Prayer of dedication
God, our Judge and our Joy, receive our gifts as seeds of gratitude for your gift to us in Christ Jesus. Bless these seeds with growth so that joy will blossom for people depleted by challenges, and places overwhelmed by scarce resources. Be their justice and their joy, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
Come, Christ Jesus, be a guest in our hearts and our homes this Christmas. Enter our lives today with your blessing. We are grateful for the wonder you bring into a world so full of complaint and criticism. Draw near to us in friendship and faithfulness, so that in this season of celebration, we may know your presence and can sing with all your people:
Come, Christ Jesus, be our guide through the darkening days and the chill of winter. Show us the way to wisdom and gratitude. We are thankful for the kindness we know in friends and good neighbours, in warm houses and warm smiles. Encourage us to reach out to those who need your embrace and ours, so that together we may sing of your presence:
Come, Christ Jesus, be our hope in the uncertain times in which we find ourselves. Touch us with your healing and grace. We remember before you those we know and those known to you alone who are living with loss or illness this season, those who face depression or discouragement, and any who will find it hard to be merry this year.
Come, Christ Jesus, be our king and claim your rightful place in our hearts. Our world is struggling for the justice and mercy you bring. Draw near to all leaders and all citizens working for peace and justice. Encourage honourable action and co-operation on all sides. Give hope to people under oppression and those who live with fear or hunger day by day. Hasten the day when the world’s peoples will live as neighbours, reconciled in your truth and freedom With voices united in love and loyalty, we offer our prayers.
Christmas Play: You Can’t Keep Jesus In the Nativity Scene
Isaiah 9: 2–3a
read by Samuel
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 165). Words (1868) by American clergyman and author Phillips Brooks (1835–1893). Music (1868) by Brooks’ collaborator, American musician Lewis Redner (1831–1908). Words and music public domain.
“Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 139). Words by English Methodist founder and hymnwriter Charles Wesley (1707–1788) first published in 1739; adapted in 1754 by Methodist founder George Whitefield (1714–1770); and further adapted in a 1782 edition of the Tate and Brady psalms. Music by English organist William Hayman Cummings (1831–1915), adapted by him in 1855 from the composition “Festgesang” (1840) by German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847). Words and music public domain.
Luke 2: 1–7
read by Lukas
Luke 2: 8–20
read by Iain
“Joy to the World” (Book of Praise 1997 Hymn 153). Words by English minister and hymnwriter Isaac Watts (1674–1748), based on Psalm 98. Music (1848); tune “Antioch”) by American music director and banker Lowell Mason (1792–1872). Harmony by organist Henry Rosevear (1902–1982). Words and music public domain. Harmony copyright © estate of Henry Rosevear.
Changing the Light (the Candle of Love)
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
And may the all-forgiving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-inspiring love of God, and the all-embracing communion of the Holy Spirit be yours this day and in each day to come, now and evermore. Amen.
- Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
- Performed by Rachelle Risling (keyboard) and the GCPC Senior Choir. Audio and video production by Rachelle Risling.
“O come, all ye faithful”. Words and music attributed to many sources. Follow the linked title to the Wikipedia article on the hymn for more information. Arrangement (2022) by Rachelle Risling. Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 2022 Rachelle Risling; used by permission.
Copyright © 2022 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2022-12-20 00:05– Added Postlude information.