PRELUDE:  Christmas Carol Trilogy by Glen Rudolph; George Bullock, cello

CHORAL:  Such a Child in Such a Place by Gaudeamus Pariter, John Horn/arr. by Daniel Kallman; Scott Reese, flute; Emily Lacina, piano

Gentle Mary laid her child lowly in a manger.  There he lay, so pure and mild, to the world a stranger:  such a child in such a place, “Can he be the Savior?” ask the saved of all the race who have found his favor.  Angels sang about his birth; wise men sought and found him.  Heaven’s star shone brightly forth, glory all around him: shepherds saw the wondrous sight, heard the angels singing.  All the plains were lit that night, all the hills were ringing. [Joseph Simpson Cook]

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

CALL TO WORSHIP:  O Come, All Ye Faithful [Adeste Fideles]                                 

PRAYER

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH:  Christ Candle

INVITATION:  Light of Light (Coventry Carol)

Quartet:  Light of Light, we humbly pray; shine in our hearts today.  Dispel the gloom and dark of night; fill all the world with love and light.

Congregation: Voices cry out from a world in grief; prayers of those who seek relief.  End their darkness, hear their call for peace on earth, goodwill for all.

 RESPONSIVE LITANY:  Light of Light

Leader:  Light of Light, shine in our hearts and renew our hope.

People:  Joy to the world, Emmanuel has come.

Leader:  Light of light, shine in our hearts and grant us peace.

People:  Joy to the world, Emmanuel has come.

Leader:  Light of Light, shine in our hearts and bring us true joy.

People:  Joy to the world, Emmanuel has come.

Leader:  Light of Light, shine in our hearts and fill us with love.
People:  Joy to the world, Emmanuel has come.

CANDLE LIGHTING

All singing:  Voices cry out from a world in grief; prayers of those who seek relief.  End their darkness, hear their call for peace on earth, goodwill for all.

Quartet:  Peace on earth, goodwill for all.

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE LESSON:   Luke 2:1-20

HYMN:  The Snow Lay on the Ground [Venite Adoremus]

SERMON: “The God-Baby That’s No Baby God”

ANTHEM:  What Strangers Are These?  Scottish folk song/Arr. Dan Forrest; Scott Reese, flute; Emily Lacina, piano

What strangers are these that wander through the town?  Hush, ‘tis Joseph and weary Mary.  And what does he seek so hopeless and in vain?  He is seeing shelter for Mary.  For she is the blest and chosen of the Lord, who will bear to us a goodly King.  And who is this King of whom ye proudly sing?  Know ye not the Christ, Jesus the Savior?  What wee child is this that in a manger lies?  Hush ‘tis Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, fair maid is this whose joy is mixed with awe?  O ‘tis Mary, mother of Jesus.  O these are the shepherds and these the magi kings who have brought Him their gifts of gold and myrrh.  But why kneel in homage here before a babe?  They adore their King, Jesus the Savior.  Who are these that march from death unto life?  These are they who love Jesus the Christ Child.  And how do they triumph over the gates of hell?  Through the grace of Him, Jesus the Savior.  He is born to redeem mankind from sin and strife, to bring peace, joy, love and brotherhood.  O where shall I find Him?  Where shall I seek?  He is here and now, Jesus your Savior. [Old Scottish Carol]

LITANY PRAYER:  Born in the Night, Mary’s Child [Mary’s Child]

PRAYER

Clear shining light, Mary’s Child, your face lights up our way;

Light of the world, Mary’s Child, dawn on our darkened day.

 PRAYER

Truth  of our life, Mary’s Child, you tell us God is good;

Yes, it is true, Mary’s Child, shown on your cross of wood.

 PRAYER

Hope of the world, Mary’s Child, you’re coming soon to reign;

King of the earth, Mary’s Child, walk in our streets again.

PRAYER

HYMN:  Silent Night [Gloria]

BENEDICTION

BENEDICTION RESPONSE:  O Little Town of Bethlehem  St. Louis/arr. by Dan Forrest; Scott Reese, oboe; Emily Lacina, piano

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.  Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.  Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.  For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.  O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth, and praises sing to God the King, and peace to all the earth.  How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!  So God imparts to human hearts the blessing of His heaven.  No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.  O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray! Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.  We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell!  O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel. [Phillips Brooks]

Just as you joined this worship service on-line, you can join the ushering in of Christmas on-line at 11:56 p.m. (on Christmas Eve).

If you prefer, you can join your faith family in welcoming the arrival of Christmas by going to meet.google.com at 11:45 p.m. where people can greet each other and watch the Courtyard video together at 11:56 p.m.  — visit Meet.Google.com, & enter the meeting code: goeumjnwgq or join by phone by dialing 1-209-781-9485 & enter this PIN: 443 527 177#.

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