Good morning! This page is intended to both serve as a continuing worship option for those participating in our worship service from home, and to serve in place of print resources during our in-person worship. Following the worship service on Sunday, one or more video recordings from the service will be placed on this page, including the sermon. This may take several hours, due to the time needed to process the videos. We will email the congregation when the recordings have been posted. If you would like to be added to our congregational email list, please contact email@example.com.
- Pastor Rebecca will be out of the office this week, December 26 through January 1. If you have any needs, please contact your Deacon, or in the case of an emergency, Jon Garber.
- There will be NO Sunday School Sunday, January 1!
- GIVING ENVELOPES FOR 2023. If you have previously ordered weekly giving envelopes, your box of envelopes, for 2023, is in the church narthex. If you do not wish to continue with weekly envelopes, or if you have not previously used these pre-assigned envelopes for tracking your giving and would like to start, please contact me. Look for your Year End Giving Statement by January 10th: you will receive it via email or your church mailbox. As always, please call me with questions and/or concerns. Thanks for your continued support, Sharon Reich
- Get your hightops and Jordans laced back up! Pleasant Valley is back at it again for 2023………an Adult Men’s Basketball Team. Games will be played twice (2x) a week from March through May at Eastern Mennonite High School. If interested, please contact James Hall by February 1st, 2023 at the following firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (540) 569-6263.
- Backpack Pals are in need of pudding cups, ramen noodles, and we ask that you continue to donate your plastic grocery bags. Thank you!
We come from different walks of life as we gather in this place on this most holy night. Some of us come from various traditions, and others of us were born and raised in this very church. However we come, great God of love, here we are.
Help us approach the manger as the shepherds, who came to see this wondrous thing of which they had been told.
Lead us to the manger with the steadfastness of Joseph who heeded the words of the angel and obeyed God.
Guide us to the manger with the love of Mary who responded to extraordinary words with absolute faith and wonder.
Show us the way to the manger like the three wise men, who left their lives and followed the star into mystery and discovery.
O God of great love, let these lives of courage and faith kindle hope in our hearts that we, too, might kneel in gratitude to worship the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace, who came that we might know what a life of love looks like. Amen.
Welcome & Announcements
Reading Isaiah 9:1-6
But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Carol O Come, Emmanuel
Sharing of Praises and Prayer Requests
In Prayer Together Homiletics Adapted
Joy of the world, God of the cosmos, we come with thankful hearts this morning-
Christ is born! Alleluia!
Emmanuel, God be with us, we have prayed for so long,
and now you are here.
Yet, even when there is light, there is still shadow. You did not promise to cast away all shadow, but to walk with us in the shadow so that we can keep our eyes on you. When grief and loneliness come, when candlelight does not seem sufficient for the joy of the evening, when the darkness gets too close,
fill us with a peace only you can bring.
Hear our requests in this silence.
The Christ child
came not only to redeem the world,
but to walk beside each of us and all of us in times of darkness.
So, we celebrate this time with exuberance or with quietness
– because the Word is among us and we are given the gift of Light.
In the surprise of a Child,
in the wonder of two young parents,
in the wisdom of sages and the humility of shepherds,
in innkeepers who make room when there is no room,
in all these narratives and more,
we know your presence among us.
Help us not forget, as papers and ribbons clutter our living rooms,
what we know here and now.
The ultimate gift is your Son:
Christ is born in Bethlehem, wrapped in the normal blankets of a normal child,
yet containing deep within the genetics of joy, the seeds of peace, the DNA of salvation.
Bless our own gift giving that it, too, may be marked with joy and filled with peace.
May our gratitude to others show, and come straight from our gratitude for you.
In the name of the Christ Child.
Reading Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Ministry in Music
What Child is This
Reading Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Ministry in Music While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks
Carol Away In a Manger
Reading Luke 2:8-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Carol Angels We Have Heard On High
Reading Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Carol We Three Kings
Sharing our Gifts
Invitation to Give
Reading John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Carol Oh, How Joyfully
Reading Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Carol/Choir Go Tell It on the Mountain
A Christmas Prayer from Howard Thurman: adapted
We will light candles this Christmas
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all my living.
Candles that will burn all the year long.
May we go home and into our communities with the light of Christ burning within each of us and shining brightly for all the world to see.