This will be the fourth and final Sunday of the season of Advent, with our Christmas Eve services following on this Tuesday, December 24 at 4 and 6pm. Not to overwhelm you, but we have both a “Preparing for Christmas Eve” blog and a “Christmas Morning Worship” resource coming this weekend. You can look out for those in your email, but let’s start by focusing on this Sunday!
Advent is the season leading up to Christmas where we celebrate the fulfilled promise of the first coming of Jesus and heighten our anticipation for His second coming—when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away.
We’ve been focusing on daily rhythms of fasting and prayer during this season. See our resources for that here, and explore our artistic accompaniment to the season over at The Christian Year. Here’s how you can prepare for our worship gathering:
1. Read through our text, Luke 2:36–38.
Throughout Advent, we’ve been considering the life of Simeon and Anna to see how they expressed their hunger for the coming of Christ and His Kingdom through fasting and prayer. In this last week of Advent, we’ll be considering an aspect of prayer that is often misunderstood or ignored among many Christians, the practice of “listening prayer.” At its core, listening prayer is about approaching our times of prayer as relational, two-way communication with God.
Certainly He want us to speak to Him, but what might He choose to speak to us?
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
CALL TO WORSHIP: Isaiah 7:14; The Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
I believe in the holy catholic (“universal”) church;
the communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (John Neale, Henry Coffin, arr. Chichi Agorom, The Christian Year)
All People Of Our Newborn King (Luke Brawner, William Henry Draper, St. Francis of Assisi arr. The Christian Year)
CONFESSION OF SIN:
Prince of Peace,
we confess we talk far more than we listen.
We walk through our days busy and hurried,
quick to pay attention to the urgent demands around us
but slow to recognize Your nearness.
Our hearts are often characterized more by chaos than by stillness.
Forgive us for taking Your presence and voice for granted!
Forgive us for not taking the time to listen.
Help us slow our hearts and our minds before You.
Give us faith to believe You actually love us and want to speak to us.
Teach us to be still and know that You are God,
that You are our Good Shepherd who delights in speaking to us,
that we are Your sheep who hear Your voice,
and that we are your beloved children.
May we walk in the communion You created us for!
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit,
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: John 1:9–13
Is He Worthy? (Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive arr. Shane & Shane)
Joy To The World (Isaac Watts arr. The Christian Year)
GREETING, SERMON, RESPONSE
Not In A Hurry (Michael Ketterer, Will Reagan)
Open Space (Kirby Kaple, Rob Kaple)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield)