O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Call to Worship
Listen, children of God, the Lord shall give you a sign: a bright star shall be made to shine over Bethlehem, marking the place where a young woman shall bring forth a child, the very Son of God.
His name shall be called Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Come, children of God, come and follow the star to Bethlehem. Come and adore Christ the newborn King.
Lighting of the Advent Candles
The Bennett Family
Opening Hymn No. 140
Once in Royal David’s City
Call to Confession
Jesus was born to set us free, to calm our fears and forgive our sins. To give us hope and joy and courage. To renew all creation. But sometimes we forget this. Let us come together and marvel at the good news of Christmas, first in silent prayer.
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, thank you for the good news of Christmas. Thank you for Mary and Joseph. For the curious magi, the awestruck shepherds, the chorus of angels, the shining star. Most of all, thank you for loving us and showing us who you are in Jesus. Like the best parent in the world, you want us to grow up and flourish in your world. You want us to help you realize your dream - a world of kindness and justice and shalom, a world where none of your children are hungry or lonely or picked on. To do this, we need truckloads of grace and strength. Please give us everything we need. Keep us going until the job is done. We are yours. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
Friends in Christ, hear this good news! God could not love you any more than God loves you at this very moment. You are that beloved. Now let us trust that love, its grace and forgiveness, and share that love with everyone we meet.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
Prepare the Way Jacques Bertier
Prepare the way of the Lord,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
And all people will see the salvation of our God.
Peace of Christ and Our Common Life
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
“Everything is Different”
Responsive Hymn No. 136, verse 1 - Zoe Hedstrom, Rose McGrath, Maeve Scott
Go, Tell It on the Mountain
Affirmation of Faith (drawn from the Iona Abbey, Scotland)
We believe that God is present in the darkness before the dawn; in the waiting and uncertainty where fear and courage join hands, conflict and caring link arms, and the sun rises over barbed wire. We believe in a with-us God who sits down in our midst to share our humanity. We affirm a faith that takes us beyond a safe place: into action, into vulnerability, and into the brokenness of our world. We commit ourselves to work for change and put ourselves on the line; to bear responsibility, take risks, live powerfully, and face humiliation; to stand with those on the edge; to choose life and be used by the Spirit for God’s new community of hope. Amen.
Prayers of the People and The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in 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, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Call to Offering
On this day, we are invited to participate in the kingdom emerging all around us. May we offer ourselves to God this Advent with glad and generous hearts, freely giving our tithes and offerings to the ministry of our congregation. In lieu of passing the plate, we invite you to give through our church website, our smartphone app, by texting the word “Wilmette” to the number 77977, or by sending a check to the church office. As we gather our gifts together and offer them to God, may we do so in gratitude and praise.
Doxology No. 606
Prayer of Dedication
Sending Hymn No. 110
Love Has Come
Charge and Benediction
Rev. Jeff Lehn, pastoral liturgist
Rev. Laura Sherwood, pastoral liturgist
The Bennett Family, advent candle lighters
Zoe Hedstrom, Rose McGrath, Maeve Scott, hymn soloists