Christmas Eve Bulletin December 24, 2021

WELCOME TO

ST. JOHN’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH   45817

December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve

Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009)  Church (419-358-5641)

E-mail:      blufftonstjohnsucc@gmail.com

Website:    www.blufftonstjohns.com

Pre-Service Music                                      Sue Hardwick, organist

Greeting and Call to Worship

One:  Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy, for all people.  To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

Many:  There is nothing in death or life, in things present, or things to come, nothing in all creation, that can separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

One:   Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!

Many: Thanks be to God! Amen!

*Hymn     “Angels We Have Heard on High”                  P. 188

*Prayer: “God of Peace,” A Gathering Prayer (unison)

God of peace, you hold the nations in your hand, yet know and love us all.  By your Spirit, you gather us; in Christ, you make us one.  As we come together, show us who we are, what we can be, and where we should go, through Jesus Christ, our Rescuer, Partner, and Friend. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle

One:   Christmas is a time of wonder-the wonder of Jesus; God-with-us; the Promised One, the light of the world, the Holy One of God.  On this holy night we light the Christ candle, and we wonder:

Many: Is Jesus really here?

One:   We light this Christ candle, and we wonder:

Many: Jesus is really here!

One:   We light this Christ candle, and we know

All:      God is with us, the Promised One has come, the light of the world breaks through the shadows, the Holy One of God brings peace, hope, love and joy.

Hymn  “Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates”                P. 176

(vs. 1, 4)

Who Is This Child?

Introduction

Hymn             “What Child Is This?”                                   P. 184 

First Reading: Glory Revealed to All (Isaiah 40:1–5)

The prophet Isaiah promises that God’s glorious love

will be revealed to all humankind:

Hymn             “Still, Still, Still”                                             P. 214

Second Reading: A Servant with Gentle Strength

(Isaiah 42:1–4)

The prophet Isaiah proclaims God’s chosen One, whose gentle strength will put things right.

Hymn   “Angels, from the Realms of Glory”        P. 189 (vs. 1, 4)

Third Reading: Equal, Beloved, and United

(Galatians 4:4–7 and 3:27–28 )

The apostle Paul tells us how Christ makes us God’s children,

equal, beloved, and united:

Hymn             “What Child Is This?”                                   P. 184 (vs. 2)

Why Lies He in Such Low Estate?

Introduction

Fourth Reading: A Servant of Peace Is Born (Luke 2:1–7)

Against the backdrop of an imperial, occupying power counting its subject population in order to levy taxes, a servant of peace is born:

Hymn “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”           P. 228

(vs. 1, 2, & 3)

Introduction to the Next Hymn and Reading

Fifth Reading: Adored by Outsiders (Luke 2:15–21)

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,

the shepherds said to one another:

Hymn  “O Little Town of Bethlehem”                   P. 180 (vs.1, 3)

Spoken Poem: “Her Baby, Newly Breathing”

Sixth Reading: Taking the Form of a Slave (Philippians 2:5–11)

How can the fullness of the divine, far beyond our imagination, be expressed in the confines of one human being, one human life—

“Unstinting, unprotected prepared for nail and thorn, constricted into maleness, and of a woman born”?

A poem by the apostle Paul tells the story:

Hymn  “O Come, All Ye Faithful”                                      P. 182

Let Loving Hearts Enthrone Him!

Introduction: “The Reign of Christ,” An Affirmation of Faith

One:   The reign of Christ comes not by conquest, domination, and

manipulation, but by gracious love, gladly given, and willingly received.

The reign of Christ comes near wherever people covenant together and say,

All:      Christ, we are your body: live in our hearts. Christ, we are your people: govern our lives. Christ, we are your witnesses: send us out in your name!

Hymn             “What Child Is This?”                                   P. 184 (vs. 3)

Seventh Reading: Royal Robes for a Rescued People

(Colossians 2:6 and 3:12–15)

Paul reminds us that the story of Jesus is not just a tale to be told

but a new way of living. 

Hymn             “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”                 P. 185

Eighth Reading: A Jew for All Peoples (Luke 2:25–32)

Luke tells us how Jesus, the Jew, came to his own people, to reach out to all the world.

Holy Communion

Invitation to the Table

Consecration of the Elements

Sharing of the Elements

Prayer of Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer

Lighting of All Candles

*Hymn           “Silent Night, Holy Night”                P. 186

“Come to Me,” A Call to Prayer

“Christ Among Us,” A Petition

Ninth Reading: Love’s Living Word (John 1:1–13, 18)

The first chapter of John’s Gospel invites us to ponder the

Wonder of Love’s eternal mystery, touched, and seen in the flesh:

*Hymn           “Joy to the World!”                           P. 179 (vs.1, 2, 4)

*“Go in Peace!” A Blessing

Postlude                   “Gloria”                                   Humphrey Turner

*Please stand if you are able.

Readers:  Jenny Bracy, Nancy Yeager, Penny Kindle

Benevolent Offerings from the Sunday School Classes

GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) Class             $400.00

Challenged Champions Equestrian

Center, Ottawa, Ohio

Pastor’s Sunday School Class                              $  65.00

            Crossroad Child and Family Services

Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Board of Christian Education                               $400.00

           Crossroad Child and Family Services

           Ft. Wayne, Indiana

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