Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 – First Advent Service

Welcome and Greeting

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (English carol, 18th cent.)
God rest you merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray;
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heav’nly Father, a blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.

“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “let nothing you affright;
this day is born a Savior of a pure virgin bright,
to free all those who trust in him from Satan’s pow’r and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.

Responsive Reading of Jeremiah 29:10-15
Leader: For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
People: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Leader: Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
People: I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
All: Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’

Hope Explained

Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming (German hymn, ca. 1500)
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter, when half-spent was the night.
Isaiah ‘twas foretold it, the rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright
She bore to men a Savior, when half-spent was the night.

This flow’r, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness ev’rywhere.
True man, yet very God;
From sin and death he saves us and lightens ev’ry load.

The Lighting of Hope Candle

Musical Offering:
Breath of Heaven (Song of Mary) (Chris Eaton, Amy Grant, 1992)
I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary, with a babe inside.
And I wonder what I’ve done; Holy Father, you have come
And chosen me now to carry your Son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer;
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone, must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now…

Breath of heaven, hold me together, be forever near me, breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven, light in my darkness, pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy, Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder as you watch my face if a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong, help me be, help me… (Chorus)

Scripture from Isaiah 11:1-10

Message: Hope of the Coming Messiah

O Holy Night (John S. Dwight; tune, Adolphe Adam)
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining; it is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope—the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in his Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; let all within us praise his holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise his name forever!
His praise and glory evermore proclaim!
His praise and glory evermore proclaim!