She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Have you heard there is a baby? Those words are whispered throughout the village to the guests who are visiting. Have you heard there is a baby? Have YOU heard there is a baby? Have you been praying for all who are participating? Have you been praying for all we are inviting?
Mighty God, use us to share your love. Let the whispers of a baby warm our hearts and may the Good News of this one who came to save warm the hearts of all who encounter you through A Night in Bethlehem. Amen.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
One week from today, we welcome the community to experience this one that is light. They will encounter that light in a dark cave, but be pointed to the Holy through flesh and blood. A baby will be wrapped in bands of cloth and will be tended by Mary and Joseph. In a world filled with darkness, we need to point the way to the light.
Holy One, we give you thanks that you shine your light into our hearts, lives and into this world. As we the time draws near we are reminded of Mary's waiting for your love to be born. Amen.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
Today we continue our journey of Advent through the eyes of Joseph with "Whose Child is this?" There are only 17 verses that mention Joseph, but his faithfulness and "yes" to God's call are profound.
Holy One, we give you thanks for Joseph and his faithful response to your call. Make us faithful in our response to your overwhelming love. As we enter the final week of preparation, be with all who are working behind the scenes, all who are inviting, and all who have been invited. Work through our advertising and outreach this week to create interest and desire to experience your love. Amen.
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.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Many years ago I preached a sermon series on the different names and titles given to God. After I completed the series I was gifted with a poster that lists those names. What are the names you know God by? Those are mighty names in this scripture from Isaiah. We rejoice that more important than knowing all of the names for God, we have a God who knows each of us by name and has claimed us in the waters of baptism.
Prince of Peace, bring your peace to bear in our lives and in our world. We know too well conflict and strife and we long to live in the peace that you bring and give. Make us your instruments of peace. Amen
Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2Sing to the Lord, bless the name of the Lord;
proclaim God's salvation from day to day.
3Declare God's glory among the nations
and God's wonders among all peoples.
4For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised,
more to be feared than all gods
This morning Hope and "A Night in Bethlehem" are to be featured on WTOL 11 Your Day. We will have the opportunity to invite the community to come experience the hospitality of Hope and the Christmas Good News. Who have you invited? Who might you still invite? Tonight we will meet with all of the volunteers to be commissioned and meet with leaders for final preparation. If you are in the village, you will be fitted for your costumes as well. We look forward to seeing you.
Lord you bless us through our work and ministry at "A Night in Bethlehem." In only days we will get to see the wonder in the eyes and hear the response of all who come. Bless all who are working on final preparations and all who will be meeting this evening. Make all we do pleasing to you. Amen.
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
May God strengthen each of us in the proclamation of Jesus Christ as we continue to prepare for "A Night in Bethlehem."
Almighty God, you are the source of power and you send your Holy Spirit to grant faith. Strengthen us in our proclamation as we prepare to share Jesus. Amen.
The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2Clouds and darkness surround the Lord,
righteousness and justice are the foundations of God's throne.
The entire creation has been designed by God to offer praise to God. How might we rejoice because of God's reign in our hearts and lives? What does it look like to rejoice? Today we invite the media to visit Bethlehem to get the word out. How have you gotten the word out? Who have you invited?
We give you thanks and praise O God for your multiple blessings in our lives. We especially give thanks for your love incarnate in Jesus. May we be blessed in our sharing of your love and our sharing of the Good News with the world. Amen.