Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
December 23, 2012
Worship 10:00 am          Sunday School 11:10am

Fourth Sunday of Advent 

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…

(Luke 1:46-47)

   Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)      "Love came down at Christmas"   208
  Prelude                                 "Away in a Manger"              Kirkpatrick/Murray

 Call to Worship                                                                       (back of bulletin)

*Hymn                          "Morning star, O cheering sight!"                             214

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                   Psalm 80:1-7

  For Children                    "Let your face shine"

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings                                              Micah 5:2-5a

  Offertory                          "Sheep May Safely Graze"                        J.S. Bach
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Response                    (vs. 3) "O little town of Bethlehem"                            191


  Anthem                            "Who would send a baby?"                               Beall

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                 (please be brief, and aware of God's listening presence)

  Hymn                         (vs. 4) "O little town of Bethlehem"                             191

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                   Luke 1:39-56

  Message                       Reclaiming “Christmas”  (includes mp3)

*Hymn                          "My soul proclaims with wonder"                            181


*Postlude                       "Go, Tell It On The Mountain"       Afr.-Amer. Spiritual

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Read at end of announcements before Prelude:

             Jesus came to bring eternal life (John 3:16), that we might experience abundant life (John 10: 10). Jesus came to save the lost, the sheep that have gone astray (Matt. 18: 11). Jesus came to save us, to rescue us from a life of sin. He came for us. His presence is the gift we are to unwrap this year. Life in Christ is full, rich, and free. What are you waiting for? Open yourself to Jesus this season. He is the gift of a lifetime.

(this, the Call to Worship & the Opening Prayer
are on the back of the bulletin)
by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Call to Worship

Turn to the back of your bulletin
and join in the “Call to Worship” found there…

 One:    Come to us, Lord Jesus. Come to save us. We need new life,
             life only you can give-abundant, eternal, and free.

 All:     Come, Lord Jesus ... come into our lives.

 One:    Jesus, your presence is such a gift. May we be ready and willing
             to unwrap the gift of salvation, that eternal gift only you can give.

 All:     Come, Lord Jesus ... come into our lives.

One:     Come to us, Lord Jesus. Come to save.

As we light the candles for the four Sundays of Advent, today being the last, please rise in body or spirit and, instead of the hymn suggested on the back of your bulletin, sing “Morning Star, O cheering sight!” #214. This hymn from the Moravian tradition begins with one voice singing a phrase, which is then repeated with harmony by the congregation. What then follows is a playful interchange between this leading voice and all of us. It ends with everyone inviting Jesus to enter our lives. Let’s follow the leader and sing our praise!

(wait until they begin singing, then light first the candle in the front,
then the one to the left, then the pink candle, and finally the back candle)

words to the Call to Worship
written by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"






Opening Prayer

             Jesus, what a gift your presence is to us! Shine your face upon us. The gift of salvation comes from you alone. Through your salvation may we experience life as you promised-abundant and free. May we know life as you intended-life eternal. May your gift transform each one of us this Christmas. Amen.

by Sandi Evans Rogers, associate pastor
Frederick (MD) Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

For Children
"Let your face shine"

             A long time ago when I was a boy scout, we went on a bike hike along the old C & O Canal. I was the leader of a group of other boys called a “patrol,” and my father went along with us as what they called an “assistant scoutmaster.” We biked along the trail, and he drove to meet us along the way.

             One of the boys in my patrol was a good friend of mine. His name was David. His heart was not very strong, so we had to take it a little easy. Late in the afternoon he started to get really tired. Finally, he just had to stop. After a spell, we started up again, but he went slower and slower. I told the rest of the boys to go on ahead and meet my father at the next place we planned to meet him. I stayed with David.

             Finally, he could not go any further, so we stopped. I didn’t know what to do. It got dark, and then it started to rain. There was a wooden bridge over the canal nearby, so I helped David to get underneath it with our bikes. Then I went up to the trail and, with sticks and stones, made some signs on the path that I hoped my father would see. Then I joined David and we waited.

             It was cold and dark, and we were a little scared. What if we weren’t found? What if someone found us who wasn’t friendly? After a while a light shined near us, and under the bridge came my father, along with a park ranger. I was so glad to see his face. I knew we were now safe, and could go home.

             I thought of my dad when I heard the scripture from Psalm 80 that Robin just read. Twice it cries out for God to “let your face shine.” When you are lost, and it is dark and cold and scary out, the face of someone who loves you deeply is what you want to see. And that shining face will lead you home.

             Our living tree needs one more thing. It needs something at the top. Our church secretary found this star that I think would be perfect to put there. What do you think? Let’s do it. When we look at this tree and see what’s at the top, we can think about the star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to the baby Jesus. How about we also think of God’s shining face when we see this star? God is at the top of our tree. God’s face shines out over everything. And when we are lost, and it is dark and cold and scary out, God – who loves us deeply – will lead us safely home. That is what God sent Jesus to do.


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

Listen to the prophet Micah:

             “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.  (Micah 5:2-5a)

          "How silently the wondrous gift is given," we will sing of what happened in that "little town of Bethlehem" long ago. Let’s respond now, with our tithes and offerings, to "the blessings of the heavens" which God has given and continues to give. Will the ushers come forward?


          O prince of Peace, our shepherd, enter in. We receive you. Receive now our gifts. Help them be put to wise use in the work to which you have called us in this "little town of" Long Green. Thank you, Creator of heaven and earth, for caring about the smallest, the least, the lost, and sending your Son for all the "little" places and people. In his name we pray. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

written closer to the time (if not at the moment)


Luke 1:39-56
(for three female readers: 1 is narrator, 2 is older and is Elizabeth, 3 is younger and is Mary)

1 -

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry,
2 -

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
1 - And Mary said,
3 -

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
1 - And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

from the New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Go now and “reclaim” Christmas.
      Appreciate the old traditions,
            but also be creative in making new ones.
                  In them all, seek Christ, who is there.
      May you be filled with wonder.
      May your spirit be restored.
      Rejoice and be glad!


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources

Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

International Lesson:
International Bible Lesson
a weekly column by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
in "The Oklahoman" newspaper
also found

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2012 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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