December 27, 2020: “On the Road to Rejoicing”

Preparing for Worship

We gather today in the warm glow of Christmas. Jesus has been born among us, our Immanuel, God with us! We also pause on this last Sunday of the calendar year to look back at the year behind us and look ahead to the new year to come. 2020 will be a year to remember! What memories, whether good or bad, will you carry forward with you? What hopes and dreams do you hold for 2021?

Because we are in the Christmas season (the “Twelve Days of Christmas”) you may wish to light up your Advent wreath again, lighting all five candles to start the service. If you don’t have a wreath you can create one simply by placing four candles around a central Christ candle.

Welcome & Call to Worship

Margie H. welcomes us and calls us to worship. Please follow along to the Call to Worship below.

Leader: Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens;

All: praise the Lord in the heights!

Leader: Praise the Lord, all God’s angels; praise the Lord, all God’s host!

All: Praise the Lord, sun and moon; praise the Lord, all you shining stars!

Leader: Praise the Lord, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

All: Praise the name of the Lord; God’s glory is above earth and heaven.
Praise the Lord!

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is HWB 201 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies,
with th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail th’Incarnate Deity;
pleased with us in flesh to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel!
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of peace! Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.
“Hark!” the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Our second song of praise is HWB 209 O du fröhliche (Oh, How Joyfully), accompanied by Joel K. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren; Christ ist geboren:
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Christ ist erschienen, uns zu versühnen,
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, O du selige,
gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Himmlische Heere jauchzen dir Ehre.
Freue, freue dich, O Christenheit!

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving even during a difficult year! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. You can send a cheque to the church office by mail, or you can give through an Access Credit Union branch or their online banking services (see the information here).

Community Life & Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the weekly email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website.

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • For the year past, that we would remember God’s love and faithfulness to us in 2020, evident in both big and small ways, even through difficult times. God is faithful, and God is love; thanks be to God!
  • For the coming year, that 2021 would be a year of greater peace in the world, filled with ever-increasing hope and joy among us, marked by an ever-expanding love for one another in acts of compassion, mercy, and justice in the way of Jesus.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges, and those among us celebrating good things. May each one know the presence and peace of Christ, and may we show the empathy and compassion of Christ as we “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
  • Us as a church on this Christmas Sunday. May we “rejoice in hope” for a new year as we walk with Christ, our Immanuel, God with us; may we “be patient in suffering” come what may, and may we “persevere in prayer” through all things and for all people. (Rom 12:12).

Margie H. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Prayer Song

Let’s continue in a spirit of prayer by singing STS 65 Open My Eyes, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
Open my ears, Lord.

Help me to hear.

Open my heart, Lord.
Help me to love like you.
Open my heart, Lord.

Help me to love.

And the first shall be last,
and our eyes are opened
and we’ll hear like never before.

And we’ll speak in new ways,
and we’ll see God’s face

in places we’ve never known.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see your face.
Open my eyes, Lord.

Help me to see.

Scripture Reading

We turn our attention to the reading of Scripture. Margie H. reads Isaiah 43:14-19 and John 20:11-18 for us today. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Story

If you have children or even teens in your household, gather them around for this lesson on “Coping with Change.” (Adults: this is good for you, too!)

Meditation

Justin M. shares a meditation for us entitled “Good Old Days.”

Song of Response

Let’s respond to God’s word to us by singing HWB 545 Be Thou My Vision, accompanied by Irene S. and Michel P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, thy child may I be,
thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.

Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight.
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower.
Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
high King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, when vict’ry is won
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Benediction

Margie H. offers this benediction for us as we leave this time of Advent worship together.

Sending Song

Let’s go from our worship together with this song on our lips and in our hearts: HWB 318 Joy to the World, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ
while fields and floods,
rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Text: Charley Wesley and others, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, alt.; Music: Felix Mendelssohn, 1840; adapted by William H. Cummings, 1855, Congregational Hymn and Tune Book, 1857); O du fröhliche (Oh, How Joyfully) (Text: Johannes D. Falk (St. 1), Auserlesene Werke, 1819, Heinrich Holzschuher (Sts. 2-3); tr. Harris J. Loewen, re-envisioned by Brian Wren, 1990. Copyright © 1990 Hope Publishing Co. Music: The European Magazine and London Review, 1792; arranged by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, 1953. Arrangement copyright © 1953, renewed G. Schirmer, Inc.); Open My Eyes (Text: Jesse Manibusan, based on Mark 8:22-25 and Psalm 51:12-14. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 2001 Jesse Manibusan and Rufino Zaragoza, OFM. Published by OCP. All rights reserved. Music: Jesse Manibusan. Copyright © 1988, 1998, 1999 Jesse Manibusan. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.); Be Thou My Vision (Ancient Irish, Translated by Mary E. Byrne, Eleanor Hull, Martin Shaw; © Oxford University Press); Joy to the World (Text: based on Psalm 98, Isaac Watts, Psalms of David…, 1719, alt. Music: Lowell Mason, Occasional Psalm and Hymn Tunes, 1836).
CCLI 491687 / One License A-714686
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