Note to the reader: Because the Christmas service for the children was cancelled in December due to bad weather, this service combined the New Year service and part of the December service for the children.
CALL TO WORSHIP:
A new year has begun and we want to start with a feeling t joy,
laughter, happiness and renewal.
Open our hearts and our lives to the voice inside us, that tells us we are loved, that we are important, and that we can make a difference.
Speak to us Lord, that after our time together here this morning, we
may leave, filled with Your love and wisdom.
You give us tongues to speak comforting words to those who
are weary. Each morning You awaken us to the words of new life. Throughout the day Your graciousness accompanies us each step that we take. When we retire, we reflect on Your mercy and how it sustains. As we sleep, You nurture us with Your untiring care. We are lifted high by Your benevolence and gather together now to praise You and worship Your name.
Let us pray together: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is 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, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
ADVENT 4 SKIT: Note to reader. There will be a complete copy of the entire advent skits on another post ....coming soon!
Summer Johnston I Heard The Bells The First Nowell
Grace Sutton Up On The Housetop & Silent Night
Loving God, we present now what we have brought to You.
Thank you, God, for providing us with this place of belonging. In response, we bring our own gifts to use in Your church, and as we do, we want to say how grateful we are to You, that You have given us such friends. Out of gratitude we give, for You have given us so much. Amen
UNDAY SCHOOL: Shining Like The Stars
We want to take this moment to thank Debbie Baxter who has done a tremendous job taking care of everything related to the Sunday School for many years. We owe her a debt of gratitude for all the services rendered. Debbie will now be able to attend a service from beginning to end.
Epiphany is observed on January 6, twelve days after Christmas. It is
a time to remember the kings who came to worship,. tie Jesus, and who brought Him three gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh —following the divine birth.
Matthew 2:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THE MYRRH
This story was written by Shirley Robinson. I couldn't find any background information about her, but I'm sure you will enjoy her beautiful story.
"The listening silence held its cold, sparkling arms about them, bringing Heaven close to the three travellers who, in spite of the excitement and wonder of the last few hours, had fallen asleep on the ground before the ebbing fire.
Upon each countenance sleep carved a deep calmness, a serenity, a radiance which might be explained only by one who recognized the three as sages from the East, who had come from worship of the newly born King of the Jews.
Now they were on their way back to the king's palace to bring Herod news of the Child and of the place of His birth.
Beyond the hill a shimmering white light began to appear slowly, steadily. As it became brighter, its radiance seemed to spread, illuminating the surrounding countryside. With a start, the travellers awakened and sat up as they heard a voice saying, 'Behold!'
Blinded by the brilliance and gasping with the glory of the man in the lustrous white robes, seemingly suspended on the path of light extending from the heavens, they uttered a cry of fear as of one man, and fell upon their faces.
Now in a gentle but penetrating voice, the angel spoke again, 'Fear not, for behold! I come to you from the Father on High who has seen you this night in your worship of His Son, the Christ. I bring to you His message: Do not return to Herod with the news of that which has just come to pass, and which you have witnessed; for he is seeking the young Child — to destroy Him!'
As suddenly as it had appeared the light began to tremble and fade, and the angel rose into it and disappeared.
Now Herod waited many days for the return of the wise men. When he saw that he was being mocked by them, he became exceedingly angry and sent forth his messengers to seek the Child themselves.
While they sought diligently for the Child, Herod ripped his clothes and tore his hair in wrath and jealously. He was now an old man, and knowing that his days upon the earth were numbered, he called together his chief priests. Suppose the throne should pass into the hands of this unknown 'King of the Jews?' what would become of him in his last days and of his heirs?
By this time, Joseph, the father of Jesus, had been warned in a dream to take the Child and His mother and flee into Egypt to remain until Herod's death.
Vainly seeking the Christ Child or word of Him, the messengers soon became weary and returned to the king only to be sent forth again into all parts of Bethlehem and the coasts thereof with the command to slay every child of two years and under, according to the time at which Herod had first inquired of the wise men where the King was to be born.
In this manner, surely the Child's destruction would be assured!
Before the return of the commissioners, however, Herod in his great wrath fell violently ill upon his bed and died, leaving the throne to his son.
And when Joseph had received this word from God, he took the Child Jesus and his mother into Galilee, making their dwelling in a place called Nazareth that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.'
The threatening silence closed in about them, bringing Heaven close to the crowd thronging about the hillside. Out of the silence a sudden cry of unimaginable anguish escaped the lips of One hanging from a rough-hewn cross at the crest of the hill.
Upon his countenance even pain carved a deep calmness, a serenity, a radiance which could be explained most fully, perhaps, by an old man who, slowly, haltingly, made his way through the mocking crowd to the foot of the hill where he laid his gift of myrrh. Then he fell down, trembling, in worship of 'his King.
The crowd moved back in silence as the heavens grew darker and darker, and a deeper peace settled over the face of the One hanging from the cross as he parted his lips for the final time....'Father, unto Thy hands I commend my spirit.'
The old man, tearfully, quietly, made his way back to the place where his camel waited.
Remembering that night years before, he thought of his two companions who had some with him to worship the Babe in the manger. What would they have thought if they could have witnessed the scene which he had just witnessed? Perhaps they had....and were even now preparing their gifts of heavenly gold and frankincense for the day when they would soon worship Him again."
This poignant story moved me deeply, and I hope it has touched your hearts as well. The Magi were looking for Jesus to bring Him gifts to worship Him. They were willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to honour Him.
We know that before Jesus came to earth, people's sins were forgiven through animal sacrifices. But now, because of Jesus' death on the cross, we don't have to kill animals to be forgiven. Romans 12: 1-2 says; So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him. This is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world. Instead, be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you. And you will be able to know what is good and pleasing to God and what is perfect.
In this passage from Romans we are told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices as opposed to dead animal sacrifices. Being a living sacrifice involves giving you entire life — your heart, your mind and your willpower to God. To be a living sacrifice means obedient service to God.
As we celebrate the New Year, let's ask ourselves, "What gifts will I bring to Jesus this year?" Will you give Jesus your heart? If you've never done so, you can do it right now by admitting that you have sinned and need Jesus to save you and forgive you. Will you give Jesus your mind? You can do so by reading His word everyday and thinking about those things that please God. Will you give Jesus your willpower? You can by asking Him to transform your will to be like His.
The best New Year's resolution would be "Because Jesus is the King of my life, I will__________________
- you fill in the blank!
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
Dismiss us with Your blessing, Lord. Help us to feed upon Your word. Forgive us our faults and let Your truth live within us.