Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas Eve Service - Flesherton Pastoral Charge 2010

Gathering Music:

Welcome and Announcements: (Sunday School)

Call to Worship:

One: Welcome, everyone, on this holiest of nights.
Let us prepare ourselves to welcome new birth into our lives.
Let us prepare our hearts to receive
the wonders of God’s love.
Let us sing our joyful praises to God.
ALL: Come, let us worship God together!

*Hymn: Once in Royal David’s City (vs 1 & 2) VU 62

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:2-6

Lighting of the Advent Wreath – The Christ Candle:

ALL: Generous God, you have given us a time of preparation
to receive again your gift of love and joy, your gift of hope and healing. In the birth of the child Jesus, you have given new life to each of us. May we experience the presence of Emmanuel, God is with us, this day and always. AMEN

*Hymn: A Candle is Burning (ALL) VU 6

Angel Choir: “Star Child”

Prayer of Approach: (Sunday School)

One: God of love, as we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus
ALL: we thank you for the gift of new life
and new beginnings.
One: Just as a new birth brings out the tenderness
in even the hardest heart, bring out a deeper tenderness
and caring in us. Just as a new birth brings a whole family together,
bring us together as your family.
ALL: We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Childrens’ Story:Jesus’ Christmas Party” (Shawn)

*Hymn: Will You Come and See the Light (vs 1,4 & 5) VU 96

Journeying to Bethlehem: “Setting the Stage …”

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: These are the animals who welcomed in the Holy
Family, and shared the warmth of their simple farm yard home.
Voice One: Why are they here?
Voice Two: The animals are here to remind us of the importance
of humility and service. By welcoming in the lost and wandering, they set the stage for what was to come.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: This is Joseph, who guided and tended his family
on the long and treacherous journey.
Voice One: Why is he here?
Voice Two: Joseph travelling through the long and lonely nights,
helps to remind us to trust in God to see us through to a place of warmth and safety.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: This is Mary, the one who spoke with the Angel
Gabriel and was given the promises of something wonderful.
Voice One: Why is she here?
Voice Two: The young girl who left her home and through
uncertainty journeyed to a place where God’s promises were
fulfilled. She reminds us to trust in God always for the gift of new life.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: These are the shepherds who came, invited by the
Voice One: Why are they here?
Voice Two: The shepherd came as the first to see and hear what
had happened. The Shepherds stumbled through the darkness of the night to stand in the light of the stable reminding us that the promise of God’s love that is offered to all, not just to the rich and powerful.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: These are the sheep of the shepherds’ flock.
Voice One: Why are they here?
Voice Two: Following the voices and footsteps of their masters,
the sheep followed them through the darkness and arrived at the stable to be welcomed in, reminding us that all we invited, and all are welcomed.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: These are the Magi who have come from afar.
Voice One: Why are they here?
Voice Two: Listening to the ancient promises of the prophet, and
searching the heavens for a sign, they came following a star, travelling long and far. They come to remind us that that God’s promises reach to the far corners of the world.

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: These are the camels and animals belonging to the
Voice One: Why are they here?
Voice Two: Carrying supplies and bearing the gifts, they travelled
on long and lonely roads following their masters who came beckoned by a star. The camels carry the gifts of praise and glory that honour the new born king.

Hymn: What Child is This (vs 1 & 2) VU 74

Reflection: Rev. Shawn Ankenmann

(see posting at Prairie Preacher - Sermon for December 24th 2010)

Gift of Music: David Kell

*Hymn: Silent Night (Choir processes in) verse 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 they birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-33 – “Angel Gabriel visits Mary”

Hymn: Away in a Manger (all) VU 69

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7 – “No room at the inn …”

Hymn: Gentle Mary, Laid her Child (vs 1 & 2) VU 46

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-12 – “While Shepherds watched …”
Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High (vs 1,2 & 3) VU 38


There are those who scoff at miracles.
I don’t know what they make of the birth of the Child.
for that matter,
I don’t know what they make of the birth of any child.

There are those who laugh at dreams,
so they’ve never heard an angel’s voice,
nor seen any unusual light in the night’s sky,
nor felt the yearning to set out in search of new life …

There are those who do not see the Star …
I wonder where it is they go
when everyone else sets out for Bethlehem.
To those of us who believe … into every night is born a star !

Choir: “Now all the world be silent.”

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:13-20 – “Let us go and see …”

Choir: “One Small Child.”

Reading: “This year will be different – Ann Weems”

Who among us does not have dreams
that this year will be different?
Who among us does not intend to go
peacefully, leisurely, carefully toward Bethlehem,
For who among us like to cope with the
commercialism of Christmas
which lures us to tinsel not only the tree
but also our hearts?
Who among us intend to get caught up in tearing around
and wearing down?
Who among us does not long for:
Gifts that give love?
Shopping in serenity?
Cards and presents sent off early?
Long evenings by the fireside with those we love?
(the trimming devoid of any arguing about who’s going to hang what where, the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg mingling with the pine scent of the tree, and carols playing over our idyllic scene)
and the children! The children cheerfully talking about
giving instead of getting?
Who among us does not yearn for
time for our hearts to ponder the Word of God?
moments of kneeling and burst of song?
the peace of quiet calm for our spirit’s journey?

This year, we intend to follow the Star
instead of the crowd.
But of course we always do intend the best.
(and sometimes our best intentions tend to get the best of us!)
This year, when we find ourselves off the path again
(and we invariably will)
let’s not add to yet another stress to our Holiday days,
that of ‘trying to do Christmas correctly’!
Instead, this year,
Let’s do what Mary did and rejoice in God,
Let’s do what Joseph did and listen to our dreams,
Let’s do what the wise men did and go to worship,
Let’s do what the shepherds did and praise and glorify God!
For all we’ve seen and heard!!
This year,
let us approach the birth of our Lord with joyful ABANDON!

*Hymn: O Come All Ye Faithful (vs 1 & 2) HFG 193


Special Music: Renate von Dahlen Klaus (recorder)

Offertory Prayer:
May these gifts open others to the blessings you give this Christmas: the gift of childlike wonder; the gift of radiant hope; the gift of peace which passes all understanding; the gift of joy which knows no bounds. With these gifts, we bring ourselves, O God, in response to the greatest gift of all— the Babe of Bethlehem. AMEN

Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem (vs 1,2 & 4) HFG 178

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 – “The coming of the magi …”

Music/Hymn: We Three Kings (vs 1,2 & 5) HFG 206


The Christmas Story is central to what the Christian believes, but for the unbeliever or the ‘doubting Thomas’ it may seem to be a sort of fairy tale filled with wonderful, but somehow unrealistic events:
a young girl who bears a child,
angelic visitations,
a mysterious new star
angel choirs
Kings from a far land kneeling in a stable
among the animals,
a peasant child receiving priceless gifts
a baby who will bring peace to the whole world.

This text is the heart’s cry
of all who want to believe in an unbelievable story,
of all who want to believe that God
does indeed keep his promises,
of all who want to believe that on that night long ago
God’s son really did come to be with us … EMMANUEL !

And most of all, it is the heart’s cry
of the sinner, the poor, the lonely, the lost …
Of all who want to be assured that EVERYONE
is welcomed at the manger
where the new life of a child means
that we too can have new life in Him.
(Mary Kay Beall)

Solo: “Is There Room at the Stable for Me” by Mary Kay Beall

For unto us
in Aklavik
is born a child, in
Attiwapiskat Gaspé Cornerbrook Newfoundland.
And a son is given, in
Wetaskiwin Bella Coola Flin Flon.
And the future of the whole earth
is placed upon the shoulders of the daughter of
Tuktoyaktuk Tignish Swan Lake.
And the place of their birth is called Vermilion, Priceville,
Temiskaming, Kimberley, Picture Butte, Ceylon.

An angel of the Lord appears in the night sky
over Rankin Inlet, over Iqualuit, over Flesherton, saying
This shall be the sign: you will find the babe
wrapped in cast-off flannel, lying on a bed of straw, in Eugenia Ontario;
in a winter feeding stall, an open boxcar outside
Kindersley, Saskatchewan.
And sure, several hours north from Hogg’s Hollow,
just this side Engelhart,
you see a one, sleeping in its mother’s arms,
on the soft shoulder, where their car broke down.
And the dark highway shines imperishable life,
while helping them beneath these northern lights,
and driving on, through Cochrane, Kapuskasing
Hearst, past Nipigon, and onto the little town of Emo,
Rainy River Region,
least among the little dots that lie scattered as stars
and litter the map of Northwest Ontario,
where they’re expecting you,as in so many other
of these least likely dots this expectation also is;
in Miniota,Pickle Lake,Ohswekan, Feversham,
Glace Bay, and Maxwell.

For unto us.
For into all this night, is born a child,
this night bearing each,
and the places of their birth,
and nativity is given every name. AMEN

Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing HFG 184

Baby Jesus Arrives at the Stable: (Sunday School)

Voice One: Who is this that has come to the stable?
Voice Two: This is the new born babe, the one foretold by the
prophets, the one proclaimed by the Angels and the one welcomed by visitors near and far.
Voice One: Why is he here?
Voice Two: This is the Baby Jesus, the Christ Child, the Messiah,
the one we come to honour and celebrate. This is the one through whom God invites us to experience the fullness of God’s gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. This is the one we have come to welcome and greet. This is the one of whom the angels who sang and for whom the kings and shepherds rejoiced!!

Hymn: Go Tell It On The Mountain HFG 205

Choir: “A King Has Come”

May the eagerness of the shepherds,
the joy of the angels,
the perseverance of the Magi,
the faithfulness of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ child
be yours this Christmas. Amen.

*Closing Hymn: Joy to the World (vs 1,2, &4) HFG 171