Focus: “She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines. But she is with everyone and in everyone, and so beautiful is her secret that no person can know the sweetness with which she sustains people, and spares them in inscrutable mercy.” ― Hildegard von Bingen
The Community Gathers: Experience God’s presence in the assembly. Please greet one another with joy and welcome new friends into our community of love.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
– Galatians 3:27-28
Holy Living One, You who are our Joy, Give us the strength we need to face the sorrows of the world and meet them with as much compassion as we can. We give you thanks for the and prepare ourselves for the work we will commit to in this next year, offering love and hope in all we do.
Tonight we offer the Lights of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to illumine the Door of Welcome.
And we add the brightest light of all… the Light of the Newborn Jesus. It shines bright like the star that rose over Bethlehem.
May this light also shine in our hearts, in our lives, and in our church. May this light awaken us to possibilities and lead us to greater hospitality.
There IS room in this Inn, a House for the Holy.
Welcome: This has been an Advent season of prophets: Jeremiah, Baruch, Isaiah, Micah. And now the prophet is Mary–the woman who was the original home for the holy. With all her heart, she proclaims that the lowly are lifted, the hungry are fed, mercy reigns. Like Mary, we must envision, must see, must prophesy and act on that vision for the world that God continues to call us to co-create. What is the view from the room that God has prepared?
Joy has a way of working its way from the inside out. When our lives are filled with joy, the symptoms are unmistakable. A twinkle in the eye. A ready smile. A skip in the step. A song in the heart. Joy lends a glow to the face and a lilt to the voice. Joy is contagious. It is also the birthright of every believer, but rainy days have a way of distracting us from that fact.
May this light shine in our hearts, in our lives, and in our church. May Peace awaken us to possibilities and lead us to greater hospitality.There IS room in this Inn, a House for the Holy. Peace waits for us at Advent. Peace waits for us to rest. Peace waits for our acceptance of the truth that we are blessed. Peace is born in us each day.
Focus: The church is Advent. The unwrapping of God’s greatest gift is near. God will take away the tinsel and decorate our human hearts in hope so that Christians can sit laughing in the rain, knowing that the Lord is going to shine in upon their being. For no matter how long the darkness, God will send the Light. In spite of the cursing and violence and the massacring of human dignity, we will dance in the streets of Bethlehem for He will be born. …Ann Weems
Focus: “When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.” —Tecumseh