December 24, 2020 Christmas Eve Worship

Christmas Eve 2020

 

Welcome Church! Our Christmas Eve service will be broadcast on Facebook at 12pm with Pastor Jenn and the LUMC Praise Band.

https://www.facebook.com/LightstreetUnitedMethodistChurch

Or if you go to our website: http://www.lightstreetumc.org/ Under announcements, click on Visit us on Facebook and it will take you there. You do not have to have a Facebook account to watch the broadcast. And after the 8am hour it will be on the website for you to watch at your convenience.

 

And/or

At 7pm I will be offering a ZOOM service featuring videos of special music and readings from our church family.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81692281756?pwd=UklLSDVrbDBhWXpPZGFUQjc5Ym9BQT09

Meeting ID: 816 9228 1756

Passcode: 087979

One tap mobile

+19294362866,,81692281756#,,,,,,0#,,087979# US (New York)

+13017158592,,81692281756#,,,,,,0#,,087979# US (Washington D.C)

 

For audio only from a landline or any phone:          +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 816 9228 1756

Passcode: 087979

 

This service will be made available on our Facebook page as well, following the service.

 

Sunday Dec 27th ZOOM 9am service only:  This is a different link and different meeting ID and passcode

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430

Passcode: 279040

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,85441468430#,,,,,,0#,,279040# US (Chicago)

+19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

 

For audio only from a landline or any phone:          +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430

Passcode: 279040


Let us prepare our hearts for worship:

Opening Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Andira Dodge

https://soundcloud.com/word-rummager/o-come-o-come-emmanuel

 

Introduction: Peace video https://vimeo.com/491279624

 

Advent Candle liturgy: The Comstock Family

 

Reader 1: Tonight, we light the fourth candle of our advent wreath, the candle of peace. We light it knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent.

 

Reader 2: Yet in this season, we are reminded how God is always preparing something new. And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts, God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities with peace.

 

Light the four candles

 

Reader 3: Tonight, we celebrate that the words of the prophet Isaiah has been fulfilled.

6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders.

   and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  - Isaiah 9:6

 

Will join us in our prayer:

Thank You, God, for sending the Prince of Peace. On this Christmas Eve, help us remember and rejoice again because peace was given by You. Amen.

 

Opening song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by the LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/hark-the-herald-praise-band

 

or by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/hark-3-verses

 

1. 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 the angelic host proclaim: Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!

 

2. Christ by highest heav'n adored Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!

 

3. Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!

 

Children’s time:

Video: A very special baby- https://youtu.be/4XUJ593oRfc

or

https://vimeo.com/491280806

 

As we have been looking at Christmas traditions, tied to our faith, tonight we look at gifts. We give gifts to people when it is Jesus’ birthday because in Jesus, God gives us many gifts. Gifts of friendship. Of love. Of hope. Of joy. And of peace. I hope you get what you want for Christmas, but I also hope that we all be certain to give thanks to God for the greatest gift we could receive, Jesus.

 

Prayer: Thank You God, for Jesus. Thank You God, for Christmas. Amen.

 

Prayer time- Pastor Ron

Send, O God, into the darkness of this troubled world, the light of Your Son. Let the star of Your hope touch the minds of all people with the bright beams of mercy and truth; and so direct our steps that we may ever walk in the way revealed to us, as the shepherds of Bethlehem walked with joy to the manger where He dwelled, who now and ever reign in our hearts, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.[1]

 

Offering Invitation-This year your gifts have been able to give financial support to the homeless. This year your gifts provided brand new coats to over 50 families. This year your gifts provided scholarships to college students. Your gifts provided and served food at the local food bank. And beyond. Through paying our Shares of Ministry to the United Methodist Church, we have provided support to those in need around the world including missionaries, people affected by natural disasters, and communities in desperate need of the church’s love and grace. We thank you for your faithfulness to God and God’s kingdom.

 

Special Music: by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/relientk

 

Offering Prayer: Holy God, as we gather this evening, all our attention is focused on a poor Baby, lying in a manger bed. As we present gifts to You, we pray that they might reach those in the greatest need, that they might lift those in the deepest despair, and that they might bring peace and compassion to those who find themselves amidst conflict. We pray this in the name of that Holy Child, Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer! Amen.

 

Song of Preparation: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by 11/29 10:30 service

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/it-came-upon-church

 

1 It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.

 

2 Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.

 

3 And ye, beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!

 

4 For lo! the days are hastening on, by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

 

Sermon: Coming Home to Peace

 

Video- a place for you https://youtu.be/cDEvPYyDwd4

Or https://vimeo.com/491281337

 

If you are a first-time visitor with us, we do welcome you. If you notice the poster behind me, you will see it offers the invitation: A Place for You This Christmas. When I ordered all those signs and posters my thinking was, we live in a chaotic time that has unfortunately made us question our place.

 

Because of COVID our students and teachers have had to find the safest place they could teach and learn. Sometimes it’s online, other times in rooms with dividers. Our businesses have had to force their workers to smaller shifts even though larger workloads continues. Sadly, some businesses have closed leaving many jobless. And currently our hospitals are so overcrowded that finding a room for the sick is almost impossible.  

Finding our place in this time is uncertain.

 

It was the same for Mary and Joseph, some 2,000 years ago when they were about to usher in the birth of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace. Receive our lesson taken from Luke 2.

 

Scripture Lesson: Luke 2:1-20 The Birth of Jesus 

2 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[
c]

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

It certainly was not a silent night, some 2,000 years ago when the birth of Christ took place. And it did not involve key players of the time. If there would have been Instagram or Facebook social medias, I would believe none of these characters would have had an account. Mary was probably too young. Joseph would have been too busy as a carpenter, and as for the shepherds, well, they honestly couldn’t have afforded cell phones.

 

No, the people God chose to be part of this timeless story were nobodies and outcasts. People who barely had their place in society’s make up. In fact, on this very night, we could even say they were all homeless. Mary and Joseph were forced to come to Bethlehem due to a Roman census. That does not mean they had a home to come to, they were to travel to the husband’s hometown to be recorded by Roman soldiers so the Emperor could properly tax its subjects.

 

At this point Joseph and Mary would have been settling in her hometown, Nazareth, because that is where Mary was from, where she would have family support to assist her and the new baby. And yet right before she is about to have this child, she and Joseph had to go to his hometown to be counted for taxes.

 

As did everyone at that time, thus there was no room at the inn. Meaning no place for Mary and Joseph to rest and welcome the Christ child, other than a stable.

 

And the shepherds, well, they would be homeless, too, because shepherds lived and wondered with their sheep, out in the fields.

 

All the characters of the original Christmas story had no place to call their own, because they were considered insignificant by society’s standards. Nobodies.  

 

Seems to me that is why many of our beloved Christmas programs display people like that too. Characters like Rudolph rejected for his red nose. Frosty exiled for being a snow man. Even Santa Claus cast off for being a kind man in a world with evil leaders. Not to mention Charlie Brown, who complains that no one sends him a Christmas card. And how do all those stories end? The outcast finds their place, just like God invites all outcasts to find their place too, in the story of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus was not born in a palace, He did not come in any grand splendor, but on a dark night, Jesus came into this world in a manger, born to two young, inexperienced, and homeless parents. And the first ones told of His arrival, were homeless shepherds.

 

What is so amazing about this story are the key players that God chose, because God does not look at reputation, nor does God pay attention to culture’s labels, instead, God opens the Divine self through this Baby in a manger to everyone.

 

Those who did not have a place, found a place with God.

 

God has a way of doing that. Where humans have a tendency to judge one another, to delegate us into class systems, and to influence us to believing we are unworthy, or possibly make us question our place, God is always claiming each of us as important. Important to God’s narrative, and story for the world.

 

Think of the people in the Bible who were cast out in some way, and how God’s faith in them prospered and led them to His glory. I am thinking of Noah, ridiculed for following God’s will, but God saved him and his family.

 

The enslaved Israelites in Egypt who were giving up on any joy in living, God freed them.

 

And then the other shepherds God called upon for his work. Shepherds named Amos and David whose abilities were questioned because of their occupation.

 

We all have witnessed or even experienced a time of rejection because we have to prove our merit and justify our place in this society. But the message of Christmas is this, God has claimed you for something wonderful and special. God wants to share joy with you when nothing else seems to make you happy. God wants to show you hope when your life may seem dull and lifeless. God wants you to know Him through this Christ Child, to know that you are loved, for being you, because you matter to Him, and you belong to Him. And in that knowledge, God invites you to come home to peace.

 

A peace that is not visible in our outer circumstances, but rather in how we endure those circumstances.

Through the Christ Child, God will be the avenue for peace as we learn His peace-making practices to those around us. Such as reconciling with brother where there is anger, loving our enemy, praying for our persecutors, and acknowledging the log in our own eye rather than putting all the blame on the other.

 

You see with Jesus; God offers peace that surpasses all understanding. It does not matter our skin color, our age, our gender, our socioeconomic status, our IQ, it does not matter how much religious background we have, God offers a place for each one of us, and in trusting that truth, we will find peace.

 

So tonight, no matter the worries you have, may the hope of God calm you.

Tonight, no matter the fears, may the joy of God lift you.

Tonight, no matter the doubts, may the love of God fill you so that you may hear the angels’ song of good will to come home to God’s peace.

 

Prayer: Loving God, we seek to hear Your voice this night. We confess we are anxious over many things, and our hearts are heavy. We long for the joy of Your kingdom and the peace of Your presence. As You offer us the Christ Child, may we open our hearts, our minds, our lives to Your will, to discover our place, claimed by You. Amen.

 

Christ candle liturgy: The Sitler and Megargell Family

 

Reader 1: Receive the words from Micah 5:2-5a

2 *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. 3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. 4 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; 5 and he shall be the one of peace.

 

Reader 2: There is good news! Unspeakable joy! A great light has burst forth, overcoming the darkness!


Reader 3: A child is born for us—a son has been given! Bringing a kingdom of endless peace.
 

Reader 4: We shall call him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God!
 

Reader 5: We light this candle to celebrate what the Lord has done. (light the white center candle)

 

Unison: Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace, and goodwill to all!

 

Turn on the lights and Sing: O Little Town of Bethlehem

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/o-little-town-4-verses  by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

 

or https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/o-little-town-pb  by LUMC praise band

 

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 men on earth

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings 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 to us today
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us our Lord Emmanuel


 

Pastor: In the darkness came a light, the light of unconditional love, hope, joy, and peace. And with that light, comes a calmness this holy night.

 

Silent Night

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/silent-night-4-verses by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

 

or https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/silent-night-pb   by the LUMC Praise Band

 

1 Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

 

2 Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar; heav'nly hosts sing "alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!"

 

3 Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

 

4. Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light.

With the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King.

Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.

 

Prayer with Lord’s Prayer: Jesus, Lord at Thy birth, we welcome You this holy night and we offer our faith and trust in You by praying together the words you taught us… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

 

 

Turn on lights, turn off candles

 

Closing Song: Angels we have heard on High

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/gloria-4-verses By Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

 

or https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/angels-we-have-heard-on-high by the LUMC Praise Band

 

1. Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night,
and the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains.

 

Refrain:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria in excelsis Deo.

 

2 Come to Bethlehem and see Christ whose birth the angels sing.
Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King. [Refrain]

3 See him in a manger laid whom the angels praise above.
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise. [Refrain]

 

Verse 4 included in organ/piano rendition

4 Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see? What glad tidings did you hear? [Refrain]

 

Benediction: In John 14:27 Jesus says, 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. May the peace of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless you this night and always. Merry Christmas. Amen.

 

 

[1] #278 UM Book of Worship

 
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