Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Readings for Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hello Everyone,

Well, enough snow has fallen here in Long Prairie today it looks like we will have a "White Christmas". I am no longer dreaming of a . . .

On Sunday, which is Christmas Eve, both churches will have two worship services. 

Grey Eagle UMC will have its regular Sunday Worship at 9:00 AM. Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Worship will be at 4:30 PM.

Peace United Church will have its regular Sunday Worship at 10:30 AM. Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Worship will be at 4:30 PM. 

And, in case you are wondering, I will be at Grey Eagle UMC for the Christmas Eve Worship and Kathy Wiire, a Lay Speaker from Hewitt, will be at Peace United Church.

We will be concluding our Worship Series "All Earth Is Waiting" this Sunday. The morning worship will focus on "The Peace of the World". Afternoon worship will focus on "God Moves into the Neighborhood."

Our lessons for the morning worship services (4th Sunday of Advent) are:

Isaiah 11:1-9 - A new leader shall be a descendant of David. The spirit of the Lord will be with him. He will be a righteous, fair judge who seeks equality for those left out of society. When this new leader reigns, enemies will become friends, and children will play freely without fear. This leader will be a child.

Isaiah 9:6-7a - This child who will lead will be called Extraordinary Councilor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The peace the child brings will be without end.

Luke 1:26-38 - An angel visits a young girl/woman, Mary, and announces that she has been chosen to carry the fetus/embryo/child/son of God whose name will be Jesus. How? she asks. By the Spirit of God. Proof? Her elderly relative, Elizabeth, is now pregnant. To which Mary replies, "Let it be as you say."

Our lesson for the afternoon worship services (Christmas Eve) include:

Luke 2:1-20 - Carefully compare this birth story of Jesus with Matthew 1:18-25. What is the same and what is different? These are not the same story. Also, compare both of these with our lesson in John 1:1-18 and with Philippians 3:5-11, another "birth" story. In our Luke story, the Emperor wants a headcount of everyone who lives in the empire. Joseph packs up pregnant Mary and they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. (Note, the means of travel is not mentioned; they may have walked.) While there, Mary gives birth to a boy, who will be named later (verse 21). As all mothers have done through the ages, Mary wrapped up the boy and laid him in a feeding trough. The Greek word translated "inn" also refers to a variety of lodgings and it could have been there was no spare guest room with the relatives (Joseph, a descendant of David would have had lots of relatives). Meanwhile, angels appear to shepherd out in the fields telling them to get to town and look for the newborn boy who will be the Messiah. They find Mary, Joseph, and the boy and were amazed. They relayed the story of the angels and returned to their flocks. Mary will remember the encounter with the shepherds.

John 1:1-18 - The Gospel of Mark has no birth story or lineage. Matthew has a birth story with Joseph as the central figure and a lineage that starts at Abraham. Luke has a birth story with Mary at the center and a lineage that goes back to Adam, the original son of God. The Gospel of John, like Mark, has no birth story and no lineage, but flatly, or gloriously, states that Jesus, the Word, was with God all along. In fact, Jesus, the Word, was God who created all things. The Word became human; God moved into our neighborhood. Yet, the neighbors didn't understand what the Word was about and they rejected this Word. Yet those who welcome the Word understand what the Word brought: grace, truth, and the knowledge of God.

There are other readings and some comments for the 4th Sunday of Advent HERE and Christmas Eve-Day HERE.

Have a great week and I will see you on Sunday! Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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