CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: In the deep shadows of the night, the Light of the World shines forth.
People: In the midst of despair, hope arrives.
Leader: Out of the tyranny of oppression, a Liberator is born.
People: Amid the poverty of a stable, the Prince of peace comes.
Leader: From our struggle in the wilderness, the Way is revealed to us.
People: In the midst of the world’s voices, God’s Word has become flesh and lives among us.
HYMN As with Gladness, Men of Old Ken Heischman
As with gladness men of old Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright;
So, most gracious Lord, may we Evermore be led to Thee.
As with joyful steps they sped, To that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before Him whom heav’n and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet Ever seek Thy mercy seat.
As they offered gifts most rare At that manger rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy, Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to Thee, our heav’nly King.
Holy Jesus, ev’ry day Keep us in the narrow way,
And, when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds Thy glory hide.
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Gracious and merciful God,
in the beginning Your Word echoed across creation
and spoke newness into the world.
Yet, rather than faithfully listening to Your voice,
we have often been guilty of selective hearing,
pursuing the path of discipleship only when it accommodates our lifestyle,
and obeying Your word only when it is convenient.
Have mercy upon us, and give us ears to hear,
so that we may communicate Your life-changing word with all people,
and we may share Your transforming message delivered to us through
Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray.
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS (adapted from Psalm 72:12-14)
Leader: The LORD delivers the needy when they call, as well as the poor and those who have no helper.
People: God has pity on the weak and saves the lives of the needy; from oppression and violence God redeems our lives.
Leader: Friends, believe the good news of the gospel:
People: Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
HYMN Fairest Lord Jesus Ken Heischman
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O thou of God to earth come down,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.
Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine, Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
SCRIPTURE John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave powerto become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
MEDITATION “The Word in the World”
HYMN All Beautiful the March of Days Ken Heischman
All beautiful the march of days, As seasons come and go.
The hand that shaped the rose hath wrought The crystal of the snow,
Hath sent the hoary frost of heav’n, The flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent loveliness On hill and wood and field.
O’er white expanses, sparkling pure, The radiant morns unfold;
The solemn splendors of the night Burn brighter through the cold.
Life mounts in ev’ry throbbing vein, Love deepens round the hearth,
And clearer sounds the angel hymn, “Good will to all on earth.”
O Thou, from whose unfathomed Law The year in beauty flows,
Thyself the vision passing by In crystal and in rose,
Day unto day doth utter speech, And night to night proclaim,
In ever-changing words of light, The wonder of Thy name.
PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE
INVITATION TO GIVE