"To Us, From Us"

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    December 26, 2021                                                                                                                                                  11:00 a.m.



    PRELUDE ||| Mary Ann Wenzelman

    CALL TO CONTINUING WORSHIP ||| [Read responsively]

    What happened yesterday?

                    A baby boy was born!

    Many baby boys were born yesterday. Where was this baby boy born?

                    In the small town of Bethlehem in Judea in a common stable!

    What is so special about this baby boy?

                    God’s angels announced the birth of this baby boy and even specified his name—Jesus!

    Is there anything else we should know about Jesus?

                    Jesus is the promised Savior from God!

    Then let us give thanks and praise and worship God!

                    Praise be to God!

    HYMN 121 ||| O Little Town of Bethlehem  ||| St. Louis


    We’ve been rushing, O God, to be ready, to celebrate, and in the middle of it all to welcome you anew into our lives. Grant us the rest you give to those who serve you. Help us not to pack you away with our ornaments, decorations, and crèches. Help us to keep you in the living and dining rooms of our lives. Give us the eyes to see you in the small places, the ears to hear you in the voice of others, and the hearts to warmly enfold you.  ||| (silent prayer) |||  Amen.


    Hear the good news! This statement is completely reliable and should be universally accepted: Christ Jesus entered the world to rescue sinners. If a man is in Christ, he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. Friends: Believe the good news of the gospel:

                    In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!



    Holy God, Word made flesh, let us come to this word open to being surprised. Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment. Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears; penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word. We know that you can, we pray that you will, and we wait with great expectation. Amen.

    FIRST SCRIPTURE READING ||| Isaiah 63:7-9 ||| CEB

    7I will recount the Lord’s faithful acts; I will sing the Lord’s praises, because of all the Lord did for us, for the Lord’s great favor toward the house of Israel. God treated them compassionately and with deep affection. 8God said, “Truly, they are my people, children who won’t do what is wrong.” God became their savior. 9During all their distress, God also was distressed, so a messenger who served him saved them. In love and mercy God redeemed them, lifting and carrying them throughout earlier times.

    SPECIAL MUSIC ||| Mary Ann Wenzelman


    8Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. 10The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger. 13Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14”Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” 15When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them.  
    The Word of the Lord.
    Thanks be to God!

    HYMN 145 |||  What Child Is This? ||| GREENSLEEVES

    CHRISTMAS GREETINGS ||| "To Us . . .From Us" ||| Christmas Cards to the Church

    Prior to the year 1843, there was no such thing as a Christmas card. History tells us that the very first Christmas card was created in 1843 by a very socially prominent Englishman who was just attempting to clear his desk of a pile of unanswered correspondence. In English society of that day, the modern postal system was in its early years, and written letters and correspondence were expected to be answered. Our English gentleman was a widely traveled businessman, and he had many, many business and personal contacts who would write to him. He fell behind, way behind. He had an idea for responding to all his pen pals without actually answering their letters. He contacted an artist friend and described a happy family scene of a Christmas gathering around a table, and also showing on either side small panels of less fortunate souls being served. When the artist was finished, one thousand copies were printed on heavy paper stock. Most were mailed just with an address and the gentleman sender’s name. Thus began a tradition, and a correspondence backlog was solved.

    The practice of sending Christmas cards is well established today. Our Christmas card list of names and addresses comes out of storage every December. We like to stay in contact with friends and relatives, even if we do it with extra notes and letters included. We wondered what would happen if we asked our members and friends to send a Christmas card to their church family as a whole. We promised to share the cards we received with everyone in this worship service. As promised, here are the cards and their messages, including any extra notes you enclosed. To us . . .From Us

    (Card readers will read from the separate script, and images of the artwork on the front of the cards will appear on the screen. Multiple card readers can participate by reading just a few cards, then stopping and the next reader continues.)


    CHANCEL CHOIR SPECIAL MUSIC |||  Worship Christ, the Newborn King

    AFFIRMATION OF FAITH  ||| {Hymn 821 read and not sung}

    My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation.

    I hear the clear, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.

    No storm can shake my in-most calm while to the Rock I’m clinging.

    Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?


    Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.

    It finds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

    No storm can shake my in-most calm while to the Rock I’m clinging.

    Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?


    What though my joys and comforts die? I know my Savior liveth.

    What though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth.

    No storm can shake my in-most calm while to the Rock I’m clinging.

    Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?


    The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing!

    All things are mine since I am his! How can I keep from singing?

    No storm can shake my in-most calm while to the Rock I’m clinging.

    Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

    HYMN 821  "My Life Flows On: How Can I Keep from Singing?"


    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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.



    OFFERTORY |||  Mary Ann Wenzelman

    DOXOLOGY 606

    Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

    Praise him, all creatures here below;

    Praise him above, ye heavenly host;

    Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


    As we have given gifts and cards to each other, and as you have given us many gifts, we now offer you gifts not just of our wealth but also of our hearts. Amen.


    HYMN 133  ||| O Come All Ye Faithful   ||| ADESTE FIDELES

    PRAYER OF BLESSING  ||| from St. Patrick

    We arise today through the strength of heaven,

    Light of the sun, Splendor of fire,

    Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind,

    Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,

    Firmness of the rock.

    We arise today through God’s strength to pilot us;

    God’s might to uphold us, God’s wisdom to guide us,

    God’s eye to look before us, God’s ear to hear us,

    God’s word to speak for us, God’s hand to guard us,

    God’s way to lie before us, God’s shield to protect us,

    God’s hosts to save us afar and anear, Alone or in a multitude.


    Christ shield me today against wounding.

    Christ with me, Christ before me,

    Christ behind me, Christ in me,

    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

    Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

    Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

    Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

    Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.

    We arise today

    Through the mighty strength of the Lord of creation. Amen.

    POSTLUDE |||  Mary Ann Wenzelman

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