December 15, 2019

The ABC’s of Christmas

Passage: Matthew 2:9-11

Today is our Family Christmas Service. With the help of the Sunday School children, parents, grandparents and teachers we will spread the special message of Christmas with the ABC's.

Christmas is all about love, and a great joy;
Because of the birth of a special boy.
That baby so gentle, so sweet, and so small
Came as a gift, and he came for us all
His message tells us, as it does every year;
Christmas is more than presents, or good cheer;
it’s loving each other as he first loved us,
And caring for neighbours without due fuss.
God made us a promise; to you and me,
With a covenant that can set up free.
God reminds us he loves us – our faults and all,
And his signs every Christmas? A babe in a stall.

Call to Worship

Today we have the baptism of Benjamin Zubatuk and a special service that all our Sunday school children will be helping with today. At Christmas time especially it is a perfect reminder of the gift that children bring into the world as we remember the birth of Jesus. And it also reminds us how each and everyone of us is special in God’s eyes and we are each brought here with our own gifts to provide to the world.
Let us sing our call to worship found as an insert in your pew.

Musical Call to Worship

Lighting of the Advent Candle for Joy

Now we will sign Joy to The World

Baptism of Benjamin Burnell Zubatuk

Scripture - Jen Feeny
Matthew 2:9-11 Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

The story of Jesus’ birth is told every year to remind us of the miracle of God’s abilities and promise to us. Our children today will be telling the story of Jesus’ birth with the ABC’s.

We will call all the children up to the front now to help us lead this story.

Childrens Story: Heather Pemberton

ABC Service

Jen Feeny - A - G
A is for ANGEL. The ANGEL Gabriel began the story by telling Mary,
Luke 1:28-33 “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you…. Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.”

B is for Bethlehem, where our story takes place. People traveled from far and wide to get to Bethlehem, which was not a very big village.

C is for Census, which means an official counting of all the people. The reason so many people came to Bethlehem.

D is for Donkey. A donkey carried the family on their long journey. Mary and Joseph had to travel 107 miles along the Jordan River to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

E is for Exhausted. That’s how everyone must have felt when they arrived. It would take about 36 hours of walking to go that far. That’s three days in a row of doing nothing but walking.

F is for Family. Mary and Joseph and their new baby Jesus created a new family, one that would bless the whole world.

G is for the Good News about to be shared with all the earth. This classic Charlie Brown video summarizes this good news delivery so well.

Charlie Brown Christmas Video:

H-M - Melissa Theriault

H is for Hope. Hope is knowing that good news is coming, even when things look bleak. Jesus is the source of our hope.

I is for Imagine. If we close our eyes and imagine the scene, we can see the beauty and wonder of the ANGELS proclaiming good news to all men and women. We can see the SHEPHERDS, first terrified, but then overcome with joy as they hear the good news.

J is for Joy. Today we lit the Advent candle of Joy. Joy is a kind of happiness that comes from God. It cannot be dampened, and is always shared.

K is for King. Though Jesus would be King, he was not the kind of King people were used to. Most kings are born in palaces, surrounded by servants. He was born in a stable, surrounded by dirty, smelly SHEPHERDS. Most kings rule with power and fear. Jesus rules with mercy and love.

L is for Lost. When Jesus grew up he told a lot of stories, and three of them were about lost things that were found. He loved to find lost things, and when you are with Jesus, you will never be lost. He is the good SHEPHERD, who does anything to find his lost sheep.

L is also for Love. Jesus summarized his ministry by saying “Love God…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
M is for Manger. A manger is usually used to hold food for animals, but this time it held the baby because he had no crib.

Our children and choir now have a very special song they have prepared to sing for us called “Dear Little Stranger - Away in a Manger”

N-V - Ken Feeny

N is for Noel. Noel is another word for Christmas. It means new birth, and that’s what happened in our story. That’s what happens every year at Christmas time. That’s what happens every time we decide to follow Jesus – he is born anew in us.

O is for Offering. The WISE ONES gave gifts to the baby, and we can offer our gifts every day. We give our time, our talents, and our treasure to God, and pray that as a Church, we are good stewards of all that is entrusted to us. So we share our gifts now.

P is for Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and is the source of the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding.

Q is for Quiet. We begin a time of prayer in quiet, allowing God to speak to us, and joyful when the quiet is broken by small voices.

R is for Revealed. Revealed means “showing us something that was once hidden.” God revealed to us what love looks like by giving us Jesus. Jesus is love, and reveals to us the way to love one another.

S is for Star. One special star guided WISE ONES to come to see the baby. They were mysterious, and they lived far away, but they brought gifts to Jesus because they knew that he would grow up to be a King.

T is for Table. When Jesus grew up he invited all to his table. He gave his friends bread and wine, and told them to remember him always. When we gather at the Lord’s Table today, we call it Communion because we come together.

U-Z - Carol Zubatuk

So at this table, we also remember the next letter:
U is for Unity. Unity is a time when all people can come together and be one. Just as many grains come together to form one bread. We, who are many people, come together to be one body of Christ.

V is for Vulnerable. Vulnerable means, “able to be hurt.” Every baby is very vulnerable, and so are we when we love one another. God became vulnerable when Jesus was born, and we are called to be vulnerable when we love our brothers and sisters.

Each year at Christmas time, and throughout the year, we support the vulnerable in our own community at the Naomi House. The Naomi Family Resource Centre in Winchester has providing service in our community for over 30 years. It provides confident, safe and secure emergency shelter for women with or without children who has been physically, emotionally, sexually or financially threatened or harassed in the Stormont, Glengarry and Dundas Counties of Ontario.

NAOMI House Collection - Children collected donations for the Naomi Centre from the congregation.

Father God, as we bring these items to Naomi House Family Resource Centre, we pray for the women and children in our community who are vulnerable and I need of your hope, your justice, your peace and love. We thank you Lord for we are able to give generously to those in need. In your precious name we pray, amen.
NAOMI House Collection

W is for Wonder. Like the WISE ONES, we stand in awe and wonder of the newborn King.

X is for Christ. X is the Greek letter Chi, the first letter in the word “Christ.” The X is one of the most ancient symbols of Christianity. People have been using the letter X to stand for Christ for centuries. And now we light the Christ candle, symbolizing the coming of light into the world. Jesus is born.

Y is for You. You ANGELS. You WISE ONES. You SHEPHERDS. You sons and daughters.You mothers and fathers. You friends and strangers. You are all here to worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Z is for Zeal. Let your zeal for Christ burn brightly. As we light any candle, know that the light of God burns much, much brighter. Though these lights will die out, the light of God is steadfast, and endures forever.

Song – Go Tell It On The Mountain

Announcements (Kathy)
Prayer& Benediction (Jen)
Gracious God, you have opened your hands and filled our lives with many gifts – family, friends, food, education, work, worship and the ability to help others.But more than these you have offered in Jesus, born in Bethlehem, your love and grace in which we find forgiveness and new life.
We thank you Lord for the many reasons we have been given a Merry Christmas. And we rejoice for each blessing. Thank you for bringing us all here today to remind us about the gift of life and the power of your graciousness.
And although we have many reasons to rejoice today, Lord, we also know December 25th can be not-so-merry for a whole host of reasons. We pray for those who are experiencing loss with Christmas: relationship, financial, spiritual and physical. We pray your blessings upon their lives and love to surround them. We know you are around us always, but sometimes we can feel fearful and lost. We pray for your constant guidance and message of hope over our lives.
Lord, we ask you to grant us peace. Peace in our homes, peace in our churches, and peace in our hearts when the world around us spins out of control. Help us stay focused on your this Christmastime and always. Thank you for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, your son.
As we go out this church today to continue the rest of our day and week, may we be reminded that your spirit is with us always and that we can call on you in prayer anytime we need the feeling of your presence.In Jesus’s name.Amen.
Closing Song – Angels of The Realms of Glory