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Christ loved the earth, loved it as a lover because it is God’s earth:

He loved it because it was created by his Father From nothingness to be life’s temple.

Welsh Poet Donald Evans

-We Gather as God’s People-

CAROL

Once in Royal David’s City

250

CALL TO WORSHIP Let the just rejoice, for their justifier is born. Let the sick and infirm rejoice, For their Saviour is born. Let the captives rejoice, For their Redeemer is born. Let the enslaved rejoice, for their Liberator is born. Let the free rejoice, For the source of Freedom is born. Let All Christians rejoice, For Jesus Christ is born.

SPIRITUAL

Go Tell It on the Mountain

251

PASSING THE PEACE, SHARING OF QUESTIONS

HYMN

O Sing a Song of Bethlehem

179

OPENING TO GOD From the very beginning was Your Word Which spoke this world into being Your Word Which thunders from the skies Your Word Which flows like mountain streams Your Word Which whispers in morning breeze Your Word Revealed through poets and prophets Your Word Revealed through angels’ praise Your Word Revealed in humble service

Your Word Revealed through a tiny child Your Word Alive from the beginning of all things And to eternity. Your Word. Amen.

-We Listen for God’s Word-

GOSPEL LESSON In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with the Word. He came into his own world, but the nations did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God own self made them children of God. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.

John 1

Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation Enable us to be victors over sin and despair Enable us to become that which you would desire (Silent prayer) Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms Protect them in each moment of their daily lives Protect them in the decisions that they face Protect their homes and relationships (Silent prayer) Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord Circle this land with love and hope Create a desire to listen to Bethlehem’s message Create a willingness to understand and respond Create a need to reach out to the Christ Child (Silent prayer) Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation Circle our land with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation Where there is sickness and disease bring healing Where there is hunger and despair bring hope Where there is torture and oppression bring release (Silent prayer) Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation Circle this world with the light of your presence

THE LORD’S PRAYER

OFFERING & DOXOLOGY

UMH 94

-We Respond to God’s Word-

REFLECTION

Christmas (and any other) Questions

HYMN

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

206

PRAYER Circle us, Lord Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word

-We Scatter to ServE-

ANNOUNCEMENTS BENEDICTION Deep peace of the running wave to you Deep peace of the flowing air to you Deep peace of the quiet earth to you Deep peace of the shining stars to you Deep peace of the Son of peace to you

Announcements

We’ll be locking the doors to the fellowship hall when the children go to Sunday School. Please arrive by 10 am if you need the elevator. Entry will be via the front doors after that time.

Ushers & Greeters. A Sign-up sheet is going around. Please pick a week that works for you. If you have never greeted or ushered, now is the time. It’s very easy, no prior experience required.

Call to Prayer and Self-Denial Lunch at Grace UMC on Monday, 14 Jan. Please call Judy McDonald (879-1555) by 8 Jan if attending.

Calendar

All Tuesdays:

Pastor Is In @ Nest Coffee Shop 10 am - noon

All Thursdays:

Church Office noon- 2 pm Mt Mansfield Bible Study 2 pm Church Office 10:00 am- noon

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Tue, 1 Jan:

Happy New Year! No Nest, office hours, or Mansfield Bible Study.

Mon, 7 Jan:

Living the Questions ReBoot in Parlor, 7 pm.

Tue, 8 Jan:

Administrative Board, 7 pm

Mon, 14 Jan:

Monday Companions at Eve’s home, 7 pm.

Tue, 15 Jan:

Mt Mansfield- Concert, no Bible Study Trustees Meeting, 7 pm.

Thu, 17 Jan:

Food Shelf Set Up, 6:30 pm GSLC

Sat, 19 Jan:

Food Shelf Distribution, 9:00 am. January is EUMC’s

month to provide helpers for the food shelf. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, rte 15, Jericho. Park across the street at Clark’s Truck Center.

Tue, 22 Jan:

Pastor-Parish Relations Committee 7:00 pm

Essex Eats Out Schedule

Jan 4 - 1st Cong. Jan 18 - St James

Jan 11 - Holy Family Jan 25 - EUMC

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Dec 30 - Micah Lemmel-Hay, Paige Johnsen

Jan 1 - Linda Deming

Jan 4 - Joanne & Sean Hennessey Anniversary

Jan 3 - Claire Noble

Here are people, places, & concerns folk have recently lifted up. Please keep them in your prayers at home. Please call or email the church office to add to the prayer list.

Ongoing Prayers Arlitha Callie Anne Kennison Gloria McKeen Mary Willard Norma Strickland Judy & Diezela Matthew C. Elissa & Leif Greg Paula DeMichele Don Strickland Ellie Uckele Cole Harley Gordon Mitchinson Susan Tim

Ongoing Prayers, cont Lenore Michael Parker Keenan

Lifted Up Last Sunday Fred - Molly, lupus issue

Midge - Dawn

Jennifer Lehauk

Nancy - family of Eileen Fleiter, who passed away

Nancy - Nick, diagnosed with liver cancer

Judy - brother, Bob, pneumonia

Jody - friend, Peter, health issues

Barb - sister, struggles after divorce

Barb - parents, worries for sister

Craig - Elyse, baby born 12 week early.

Essex Center United Methodist Church

tel. 878-8304

www.essexumc.com

Ministers: the entire congregation

Lay Leader: Joshua Knox

Equipping Pastor: Rev. V. Mitchell Hay

cell tel. 881-3268 (feel free to call)

Office Manager: Heidi Evans/Elissa Johnsen

Organ: Kathryn Parker Song Leader: Dana Thomas

Piano: June Packard Projection: Sam Evans

Greeter - Bob McLane Ushers - Craig & Heidi Evans, Judy Wright

Bob McLane Ushers - Craig & Heidi Evans, Judy Wright Essex Center United Methodist Church First

Essex Center

United Methodist Church

First Sunday of Christmas

Celtic Prayer for the Week

In the beginning, Lord

I was alone

Like the earth before your Spirit moved over the waters.

I was formless and empty

and darkness filled the depths of my heart.

Then, it was as if you declared ‘Let there be Light’ and out of the darkness

I began to see hope

like a shimmering ray of love breaking through the parting clouds at the conclusion of the night.

In the beginning, Lord I was alone

but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid. You held out your hand and though I had a choice

I had no choice

because to refuse was to embrace again the darkness. In the beginning, Lord I was alone now I am again a part of your creation loved, wanted, needed, family.

In the light of your presence

I hold out my heart that others

might glimpse through it your reflection and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced into the light of your sunrise the brightness of your face.

Lord Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world Be the centre of all that we are, and the life that we lead.

Questions About Christmas (or anything else)

Celtic Prayer for the Week

In the beginning, Lord

I was alone

Like the earth before your Spirit moved over the waters.

I was formless and empty

and darkness filled the depths of my heart.

Then, it was as if you declared ‘Let there be Light’ and out of the darkness

I began to see hope

like a shimmering ray of love breaking through the parting clouds at the conclusion of the night.

In the beginning, Lord I was alone

but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid. You held out your hand and though I had a choice

I had no choice

because to refuse was to embrace again the darkness. In the beginning, Lord I was alone now I am again a part of your creation loved, wanted, needed, family.

In the light of your presence

I hold out my heart that others

might glimpse through it your reflection and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced into the light of your sunrise the brightness of your face.

Lord Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world Be the centre of all that we are, and the life that we lead.

Questions About Christmas (or anything else)

Celtic Prayer for the Week

In the beginning, Lord

I was alone

Like the earth before your Spirit moved over the waters.

I was formless and empty

and darkness filled the depths of my heart.

Then, it was as if you declared ‘Let there be Light’ and out of the darkness

I began to see hope

like a shimmering ray of love breaking through the parting clouds at the conclusion of the night.

In the beginning, Lord I was alone

but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid. You held out your hand and though I had a choice

I had no choice

because to refuse was to embrace again the darkness. In the beginning, Lord I was alone now I am again a part of your creation loved, wanted, needed, family.

In the light of your presence

I hold out my heart that others

might glimpse through it your reflection and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced into the light of your sunrise the brightness of your face.

Lord Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world Be the centre of all that we are, and the life that we lead.

Questions About Christmas (or anything else)