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Good morning! Watch this opening welcome for some news about a local mission opportunity coming up soon.
Today in children’s time, we are talking about the importance of taking time to rest.
Last week, I introduced some hymns that might’ve been new to many. This week, I think both our hymns should be familiar. I hope the videos I’ve found on Youtube can be as worshipful and God-centered in your house today as they were in mine last night.
Good morning! Since I spent most of the week recovering from COVID, which basically meant sleeping a whole lot, a clergy friend of mine, Pastor Pam of the North Georgia Conference, will be our guest preacher this morning.
This is not our usual welcome video. In light of this past week, and recognizing that today is Baptism of the Lord Sunday in the Christian year, we are remembering the covenant of baptism and praying for our community and nation.
In Children’s Time today, we are talking about the promise God makes to us at our baptism.
Well, that hymn is about baptism. The other is about the light of Christ. In Advent, we search for light in the darkness. In Epiphany, we see what the bright light of Christ illuminates all around us. This particular hymn is really more of an Advent hymn, but it feels appropriate today, too. (This one might be new to you, but that’s one of the great things about worshiping online: We can learn new hymns or just listen to them, and we never have to worry about whether or not enough people can sing them!)
Take some time to worship God through music today! As we are celebrating Epiphany, the coming of the magi, this week, our first hymn goes without saying. (The proper date for Epiphany is January 6th, so if you really want to get into the liturgical year, sing this one on Wednesday!)
Today in children’s time, we are talking about star words that God can use to guide us closer to Jesus. These are a great practice, not just for kids! If you’d like to learn more about star words or want some other ideas of what words could be good star words, I found this blog to be a good resource.
This morning’s Scripture is Matthew 2:-12.
Our vision statement at Cheriton UMC: “With God’s help, we are becoming a community church with a place at Christ’s table for all people of every generation.”
Our wonderful organist is continuing to provide a bit of local music while we’re worshipping at a distance. Today, you’ll hear a song that is often requested here for Christmas Eve. Since the Christmas season lasts until January 6th, we have a little more time to include those favorites.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
We’ve got plenty of darkness this year. So light a candle or some glowsticks, or turn on your Christmas tree lights, and let’s take this time to worship Jesus, who laid in that manger so long ago to bring us the best hope of all.
Unfortunately, our local xylophonist had too much on his plate (or maybe his xylophone?) this month, but we still have some special music for tonight.
As we read Scripture together, I encourage you to have your nativity scene nearby or pay attention to the one in the video. If you have children with you, invite them to point out the different characters when they show up in the Bible story. The Christmas story can be found in Luke 2:1-20. (There’s also a version of it in Matthew, but we’ll talk more about that one in a couple weeks.)
If you would like to just spend some time with your family talking about what Jesus means to you, do it! But I’ve also recorded a short reflection of my own about how I’m hearing the good news of Christmas this year.
And finally, I’ve learned that it’s not Christmas Eve at church unless we light lots of candles and sing Silent Night in the darkened sanctuary. This will look different this year, but the powerfully hopeful image of light shining in darkness can still be here for us.
Whether you light the night with candles or glowsticks, with traditional Christmas lights or fiber optic trees; whether you sing with joy in 4-part harmony or hum off-key, may hope greet you this night, and may your light and your song share the hope of Jesus with the world.
It’s almost Christmas! The gifts are prepared (or at least, the ones we collected for Lighthouse Ministries and the Pregnancy Center are.) The tree is up, the house is decorated (maybe?), and we’re all trying to figure out what Christmas looks like this year. And no matter what sort of chaos or challenge may come, on the 24th we will take time to remember and celebrate that Christ is born and that God has not left us to face this world on our own.
But in the meantime, we have one more Sunday of Advent.
Don’t skip over the Introit today! This video includes pictures from y’all’s homes, in Cheriton and beyond. Let’s celebrate this season together and share in the joy of trees and lights and beautiful nativity scenes (and one awesome dog who is slightly embarrassed by festive attire.)
Our Advent wreath lighters this week are some of the children of our Light-Up Club!
For children’s time today, we are talking about messy rooms. (Uh oh! But don’t worry, there’s good news too!)
Don’t skip the music today! (It’s December and this is when we get to hear sacred music at its best, so I really hope you haven’t been skipping the music at all.) You may not know the hymns this week, but I promise they’re good, whether you sing along or just listen.
Canticle of the Turning – These lyrics are based on our Scripture for this morning, which is Mary’s song (commonly known as the Magnificat because that’s the first word of her song in Latin.)
People, Look East – This one is going to come up a LOT in the sermon today. And, it’s the best Advent hymn that isn’t O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Our Scripture reading this morning is Luke 1:46-55.
This Christmas week, may God bless you with reminders of love everywhere you look, and may you have the chance to be that reminder for someone else.
NOTE: There will be a special Christmas Eve worship post here later. If you’re looking for a simple way to have a holy moment with your household or on your own on Christmas Eve, check back here that day. You may want to have candles (or glowsticks) on hand for when we sing Silent Night.
Good morning church! (Or afternoon or evening, depending on when you’re joining us!)
Just in case you skipped that first video (or in case you need a written reminder), send me pictures of your Christmas decorations! And if you’re not local, I invite you to include your hometown so that I can share where in the world we are as we all worship together. But first, as you let our wonderful organist’s musical offering prepare you for a time of worship, enjoy a glimpse of how Advent looks in our sanctuary this year:
Maybe you recognize the lovely family lighting our Advent wreath today. (It was a joy to see them for a few minutes while we recorded this!)
Here are a couple hymn videos that have brought me joy this week:
This is the Adventiest Advent I’ve ever Advented. We’re really getting into the spirit of waiting for good things to come this year! Our congregation was worshipping in person for a couple of months, but with the rise in local cases, we have decided to go long-distance again for a while.
Please listen to this beautiful carol, played by our own amazing organist, as you prepare for this time of worship.
I invite you to take some time to sing or listen to a hymn. I’ll be honest, this Advent, I’m going all in on the Christmas carols, but you can choose your own hymns if you prefer! Here are links for a couple Youtube recordings I’ve enjoyed and prayed and sang with this week: