If you missed worship today because you're still shoveling out or the icy conditions make it too dangerous to drive, here's a worship service that you can use for your Sunday morning devotion. If you're with others, you can alternate the "One" and "All" parts.
Preparation: If you don't have an Advent wreath, gather 4 candles to light.
Centering: "Para dar Luz Inmortal" by Chanticleer
This beautiful piece of music was written by 18th-century Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya in honor of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.
"You are a throne, since your arms received the Christ Child
And they came together in sweet embrace with the tenderest affection;
enjoy Joseph, the ermine of this celestial flower.
You are Joseph, the clear day in angelic purity."
Lighting the Advent Candle of Hope:  Light the first three Advent candles and then recite this acclamation as you light the candle of Hope:
One: God of Wonders,
All: Awesome Living One,
One: Prince of Peace, Unending Love, Joy’s Desire, and Hope of the World,
All: Come to us!
One: Shine out in the midst of hopelessness
All: Shine out to light our way
One: Shine in our dimmest places
All: Shine through us for the world to see!
Opening Song: "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" by Jody Cross and Hiram Joseph
Opening Prayer: 
Light before us, light behind us, light under our feet.
Light within us, light over us, let all around us be light.
Christ before us, Christ behind us, Christ under our feet.
Christ within us, Christ over us, let all around us be Christ.
Hope before us, hope behind us, hope under our feet.
Hope within us, hope over us, let all around us be hope.
Isaiah 7:10-16 (CEB)
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign from the Lord your God. Make it as deep as the grave or as high as heaven.”
But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask; I won’t test the Lord.”
Then Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Isn’t it enough for you to be tiresome for people that you are also tiresome before my God? Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel. He will eat butter and honey, and learn to reject evil and choose good. Before the boy learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned.
Matthew 1:18-25 (CEB)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son,
And they will call him, Emmanuel.
(Emmanuel means “God with us.”)
When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.
Message: "Unearthing Joseph"
(This sermon was recorded at our Thursday evening worship service on 12/15/16. Note a correction regarding the reference to "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine". The hymn actually is found in The Faith We Sing hymnal.)
Response Song: "It Wasn't His Child" by Skip Ewing
Where do you see similarities in the values and behavior of Joseph and Jesus?
Who in your life has been a model of compassion and mercy?
Receive God’s gift of time to be in prayer, offering God any burdens or joys that you are aware of for yourself, others, the world. Don’t rush. Receive silence as well as words. Then join in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Closing Prayer by Larry J. Peacock
God of December darkness and Christmas light, deepen my longing, heighten my expectation, and make pregnant my hope. I know that within my heart is a Bethlehem: a place where light shines with tender memories. A place where angelic voices sing loud and clear. A place of wonder and awe, delight and calm. God of December darkness and Christmas light, journey with me during these days so that I may know and prize my Bethlehem moments. Amen.
Closing song: "Joy to the World/Shout for Joy" by Paul Baloche
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