“Follow, follow, rise up, shepherd, and follow, follow the Star of Bethlehem, rise up, shepherd, and follow.”
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Colossians 3:15, 16
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Prayer Wild Goose Worship Group, Iona, Scotland, 1997, ed.
In the face of the Gospel,
let us ask God for a good Christmas:
…that no powerful nation should tax the poor or uproot them;
…that no unmarried mother should be put away in disgrace;
…that no door will be shut on those who need to find it open;
…that shepherds and sheep and all of nature need not be afraid;
…that barbed wire and angry soldiers may not be found in Bethlehem;
…that wise men and wise women might appear in China,
…that children may be protected from those who would abuse them;
…that this Christmas,
worship may become a manger
and the church a stable,
and the rumor become a reality
that Christ has come among us.
And this we pray in Jesus’ name.
Hymn of the Day
Auld Lang Syne, by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Revelation 21:1-5
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID-19 and by its side effects in our world. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day, for Denie and her husband Francisco, who is home from the hospital after over a month; for Brandon Jantzen and his family; for David Lewallen’s son-in-law; for Debbie Battisse-Kleinman, pastor of the Indian Presbyterian Church in Livingston, and her family; and for Rev. Scott Harbison, pastor of St. Luke’s Presbyterian; and for Lizzie Downs. Please pray especially for Susan Smith's brother-in-law John. John has been in the hospital for five weeks, has suffered extensive organ damage, and is currently intubated. No one is sure about whether he will recover from this illness. His family is naturally distraught, especially with the limitations on visiting him. Pray today for those who have hurt you deeply, that God would heal your wounds, and that some day, in some way, reconciliation would be possible. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the love of the Creator
The joy of the Spirit
And the peace of the Christ-child
Be with you this Christmas, and evermore. Amen.
Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.