Call to worship
Let us go with the poor in spirit:
to find the Glory of God born in a stable,
and placed in a feeding trough.
Let us go with friends and family, with neighbours and strangers,
to find the One who comes to lead us home to God’s kingdom.
Acknowledgment of country
As we begin, it is appropriate to recognise that this great land has been home to our first nations peoples for many thousands of years. Let us also acknowledge those Aboriginal peoples who are the first inhabitants of the regions in which we dwell, and honour them for their care of the land.
Lighting the Advent candles:
Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent, the time when we prepare once again for the coming of Jesus into the dark places of the world.
The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,
for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
[You might like to light a candle at this point in the service]
We light this candle today to remind us that God is love. We thank God for the forgiveness and hope we receive, and for the love shown in Christ.
‘Once in Royal David’s city’, courtesy of, ‘It’s Christmas’. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Come, God who bears the name Emmanuel, ‘God with us’, as we anticipate your incarnation, open our eyes so we may see more of your goodness. (pause)
Open our ears that we may hear more clearly your call upon our lives. (pause)
Stretch our imagination that we might begin to understand fully what it means to be in this intimate relationship with you.
From the Bible
The Bible reading for today is from Matthew 1:18-25. The words of the reading are below. There is also a video of a dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading underneath.
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. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Dramatic readings from Lumo
Here is the dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading by the Lumo group. If you have trouble connecting you can go directly to YouTube at:
The message is brought to you by Annie Baker from the Saltbush Community. Advent is a time to ponder the birth of Christ and what it means for us. Annie Baker asks us to consider a couple of questions about how God is incarnate in our lives. Have a Happy Christmas!
What does it mean for you to be an adopted child of God? How do we live as a reflection of God’s love?
Before a time of prayer you may like to spend some time in silence sitting still. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Simply be still and open to God. You may prefer to do this while listening to the ‘Optional reflective music’ below.
Optional reflective music
“Breath of heaven” (Mary’s song), sung by Amy Grant. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Prayers for Others
Let us pray.
Loving God, you invite to spend times pondering what the coming of Christ into the world means to us and others. For the world we bring to your our prayers. We pray for people where the powerful suppress those who call out for equality and justice for all.
Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for those who have lost hope and find no good in their circumstances.
Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for the earth, our mother, struggling to sustain all of life, may we care for all you have created.
Lord hear our prayer.
Loving God, may we find moments in our days to ponder your love and what it means for us to be your children. In Christ we pray. Amen.
Go on your way rejoicing at the one who comes among us in humility, yet overflowing with grace and truth.
And as you go, may grace, mercy and peace, from the Creator, Saviour and Redeemer, be with you now and always.
Based on the carol, ‘Angels from the realm of glory’, courtesy of Skylight. If you have problems connecting, go directly to YouTube at:
‘O Holy night’, courtesy of Celtic Music. If you have trouble connecting, go directly to YouTube at:
Optional extra postlude
Here is an American country version of ‘Joy to the World’, with swing, southern accents, slides, fiddles – the works. I hope you enjoy this ‘different’ interpretation of this classic carol. If you have trouble connecting, go directly to YouTube at:
Messy Family Fun Psalm 23
There are many fun activities at HomeFaith based on the theme of the ‘Good Shepherd’ at:
Pentecost Flames Salad Spinner Art and Prayer Ideas
Get a cheap salad spinner and use it to create some spinner art! It’s brilliant: quick, clean (because the spinner sits in its own bowl) and each piece is unique! The process of making the art really lends itself to Pentecost themes so here’s an idea to help celebrate the occasion. Go to the following link:
The opening prayer and ‘prayers for others’ are based on content in the Saltbush service for this week, which can be found at: