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Dec242017

Call to Worship – December 24, 2017

We gather in worship on the day before the day which brings the greatest joy and satisfaction to young children, the greatest stress to young parents, and the greatest nostalgia to old people. Christmas is upon us, and Advent is ending. We bow before the God who sent a helpless baby into a world which had prepared no room for him. We thank God for His gift, and praise Him for bringing us to Himself by means of that gift.  Therefore, let us with Christmas confidence, worship God!

 

Pastoral Prayer

 

 By Thy grace, O God, and by it alone, have we been brought to another Christmas. We thank Thee for what Christmas has meant to us in the past, and what this Christmas means to us now. We ask Thee to open our minds and hearts to new insights about the one whose birth we celebrate once again. May the light which Jesus shone into the world shine within us. May the truths he taught his contemporaries also inspire us. May his proclamation of Thy kingdom on earth move us to become more conscientious and committed subjects in that kingdom, as we seek to reflect Thy laws more fully in our daily lives. Assist us to become more effective agents for Thy transformation of a world greatly in need of new directions from the ways we so willfully and even foolishly follow.

 

We pray for all Christians everywhere who are celebrating Christmas in their own individual ways: for people who have been lifelong members of some sort of Christian fellowship and who thus are collectively praising Thee for sending Jesus into the world; for those who have never been part of any ecclesiastical group and yet consider themselves Christians; for those who question whether they are Christians at all but who still feel spiritually moved by the annual commemoration of a baby born far away to whom, nonetheless, they feel close. May all Christians of all kinds everywhere join together this Christmas in recognition of the one who came into the world with little actual fanfare, but for whom the Church created its own fanfare as time inexorably passed. We pray that Jesus may truly be Jesus to us, and that Thou, Lord God, may truly become God.

 

We pray for our nation in the passage of a major piece of legislation. There are two completely competitive and conflicting interpretations of what this new law portends for our future. Those vastly different understandings of reality clearly display the polarization of our politics. Open the hearts of all Americans to the leading of Thy spirit among us, that together we may seek to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of our citizens. Forgive all of us for the parochial interests we so carefully nurture, and help to find a more amicable way forward, so that in truth as well in theory there may be peace on earth and good will to all our people. These and all our prayers we make in the name of the one born in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Now we pray together as he taught us, saying, Our Father….  

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