All of the information normally found in our bulletin is below the video. Simply click on "Read More" to load the rest of the bulletin. You can use this to follow the service, as well as to pray our unison prayers. All joys and concerns that we know, as well as our continuing prayer list is within the Joys and Concerns. Announcements can be found at the bottom of this service.
Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful
Call to Worship
As we gather as God's children on this Sunday after Christmas, we continue to feel the excitement that comes with the arrival of the Baby Jesus. And although the presents have been opened, the greatest gift of all is here for us to enjoy all year long. As we do our best to look forward to a new year, let us take with us the memories and accomplishments from days past. On this last Sunday of the year help us to reflect on your loving guiding presence that has been with each of us, every day.
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas this year, even if it looked a little different that most years. If you did not yet see this year's Christmas Program, you can click here to see it.
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns. Take some time to think about your past week. Most notably it included the celebration of Christmas, which may have been much different this year than in years past.
Did you find any unexpected joys in the differences? Perhaps you had new insights into the core meaning of Jesus’s birth, free from all the trappings of modern Christmas celebrations. Or maybe you are mourning the season without so many traditions that have brought you comfort and joy in the past. Or maybe you have needs and concern of a whole different kind. You can share these in the comments if you would like. Then pray the prayer below, which is by the Rev. Susan A. Blain and is posted on the United Church of Christ website.
Welcome to our Christmas Eve Service this year.
Lighting the Advent candles every Sunday has always been one of my favorite things leading up to Christmas. Every Sunday becomes quiet and thoughtful. We are reminded to consider the promises made to us, the peace that we will receive, the joy we experience, and the love we share. When I thought we might not be able to meet for worship this year, I decided that I still wanted to be able to light candles at home!
We want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas. Rise above today’s chaos and diversions to enjoy your blessings and the Gift of Christmas Day! This picture was taken at one of the Christmas Eve services and oh how we miss the beautiful music and voices brought to everyone during this joyful season! Rejoice in memories and thank God for all the photos we can share and enjoy. Merry Christmas!! Kenny and Becky.
Martha says Merry Christmas too!
Children's Christmas Party
The Story of Christmas
Sunday School Christmas Program
Well, Christine and I were talking about memories that make an impression on you when you are young. And I shared these memories with her, not really thinking of our virtual Christmas Program. But later Christine asked me to write this down to share. And it seems very fitting to share now, given that Rev. Scott has gone on to the sing in the heavenly choir this Christmas! And I’ll share another little fun Christmas Eve Memory too. (There are really too many!)
I think maybe we are very impressionable around 9 or 10 or so years old, I know I was, and maybe that’s why these memories are so vivid to me. Rev. Scott always prepared a beautiful Christmas Eve Service, and to me they seemed very reverent and mystical. This one stands out in my mind very much.
For this particular Christmas Eve, Rev. Scott moved all the chairs out of the choir area, and he put three medium size fresh cut evergreen trees there, and dressed them only with small white lights. The pulpit was moved over to the right hand side. The walls were hung with antique punched tin candle holder lanterns with candles burning in them. There was just one light for the readers at the pulpit. I don’t remember that there was any light on the choir, who were sitting over to the left (where we normally put the Christmas tree now.) Rev. Scott always emphasized memorizing the music, and so maybe they didn’t need much light. He always told us in the junior choir that he wanted us to be “looking up like angels” when we sang. So I suppose that was true for the adult choir too!
The program was the entire Christmas scripture, from the prophecy through the arrival of the magi. Interwoven were lovely hymns and poems. Rev. Scott sang bass (of course), and read some of the poetry. The scripture was all read by Mr. Smith. As a child I was impressed with how well he read, and his fine deep voice. I can picture him well, with his white hair and white beard and dark suit.
In the dark sanctuary with just one light on the readers and Bible at the pulpit, the three small trees, and the hanging lanterns, it seemed that everything else in the world fell away. We could have been worshipping outside. And it seemed very easy to feel the mystery, even for a pre-teen child, the great mystery of God coming to earth that first Christmas in the person of Baby Jesus to save all of human kind. And then we passed the candle light from one to another, as we still do now, and the dark sanctuary was slowly filled with light on the faces of all our dear congregation.
And for another fun memory! Rev. Scott loved including the youth and children in so many ways, and including things any of us suggested. I remember one of the Christmas Eve Services when we sang a “brand new” recently published (1969) Christmas Hymn. We sang two verses of “Pass it On” as we lit each other’s candles and passed the Light of Christ’s love through the congregation. And then we sang Silent Night after everyone’s candle was aglow.
OK, that was fun to share! I hope you each can remember a Christmas Eve service of your own when the love and light of Christ felt so close you could wrap it all around you. God Bless you all.
From all of us at North Buffalo ...
Call to Worship
In the midst of our waiting, God sends an invitation. The rough places are made smooth; the soft flutter of angel wings is heard. God keeps the promise; the signs are everywhere. A twinkle of light from a stable, a new bright herald star. Deep in our hearts, we must journey to Bethlehem, and kneel in worship and join our voices with the angelic chorus singing: "Glory to God."
[Pray your personal prayers here]
Help us stay focused on You, this Christmastime and always. Thank You for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, so we might truly have a very merry Christmas, even in a not-so-merry kind of world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Call to Worship
Come, and open your hearts to this season of Advent. Light the candles and hear the carols. Rest in the joy that comes with this time of year. Come and open your lives to the light of the world. We are walking toward Bethlehem and listening every step of the way for the announcement that we have found favor with God.
It is in our confession that we realize our desires for God and our hope for God’s mercy. It is in admitting the truth of our lives that we take the first step toward wholeness and healing. So let us make our confession this day.
Prayer of Confession
Loving God it is true that we do not see Your vision for life. We get stuck in the old patterns of life and can't see beyond our bad habits and limited hope. We do not look deep enough to see You in the midst of difficulty. We do not recognize You in our longing for someone or something to take away the emptiness. Help each of us to find that deep love that is offered to us by the child in the manger.
Time of Personal Reflection
Assurance of Pardon
In Christ there is no east or west,
In him no south or north,
But one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.
In Jesus Christ, there is new life.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost
and born of the virgin Mary.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead and buried.
On the third day he arose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sitteth on 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 Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Prayer of Illumination
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Hymn: What Child is This Who Laid to Rest
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Lift up your hearts
We lift them up to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give God thanks and praise
Church Joys and Concerns
If you have a joy or concern to share that is not listed below, and you feel comfortable doing so, you may share it in the comments.
Dec. 13 Nicole King, Sam Jackson
14 Sue Gregg, Addison Miklic
15 Susie Cummings
16 Lynn Kalich, Dan Kalich
18 Buc Walther, Brian Bell, Jean Westfall
Dec 15 Bill and Carol Stough
18 Mike and Debbie Durila. (50 yrs.)
Announcements: This year we will not be able to have our traditional Sunday School Christmas program. Instead, we will be having a virtual program on Sunday, December 20. Since we have been apart for almost nine months, we would like to share Christmas greetings and memories.
You could take a family picture in front of your tree or in the snow, or anywhere else that seems good to you, and include a short Christmas greeting. If you have pictures or videos from past Christmases at North Buffalo that you would like to share, please send those as well.
All pictures and messages should be sent to the church email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please send these in by December 16.
SYMPATHY: The Family of Carolyn Grimes
We added Debbie Kelley to our prayer list this week and Rick McFeeley will be going to Allegheny General for another operation on his knee to clean out the infection. His father, Dick McFeeley fell and is in Senior Care. Daron Wood is back in the hospital. Seth Cummings (3 yrs. old) will be having dental surgery at Children’s Hospital on 12/31, his father Dave has had multiple surgeries on his arm and will be off work 6 months.
Continued prayers for Roma Grose, Ruth Hampe, Susan Schively, Jimmy Davis, Judy Donaldson, Margo Johnson, Melissa Pedigo, Aaron Blake, Lisa Phillips, Mickey Gubitti, Chip Rogers, Dixie Avoila, Virginia Coffield, Dennis McWreath, Chuck Warlow, Chuck Dicks, Randy Moore, Margaret Knabenshue, Janet Schively, Mary Ann Durila, Patty Nagey, Dr. Craig Fox, Karen Eisiminger, Kelley Gump, Mary Ann McFeeley, Ed Horne, DonnaWest, June and Keith McGill, Dianna Donaldson, Chuck Montecello, April Hincy, 3 yr. old Hayden Dijean, Glenn Miles, Dave Cummings, Ken Jackson, Doug Ward, Mark Knabenshue, Rick McFeeley, Dick McFeeley, Ricky Amos, Deron Wood, Susan Alberti, Bryan Dunn, Dana Wilson, Marge McWreath and Marlene Huffman.
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord's Prayer
Hymn: The First Noel
Charge and Benediction
We're so glad that you decided to join us this morning!
As these past few weeks have been rough, I thought I might share a thought for the day with you all. I still get emails from my church in Flagstaff, and the letter from the pastor was quite appropriate for this time. Just click here to read the message.
Call to Worship
This morning we are on a path to our God. Winding through the ordinary, weaving through the busyness, overcoming roadblocks and detours. A way to go home, leaving the past in the past and moving from darkness to light. Advent is a path to our God that provides an opportunity to hear God's voice.
We're so glad you decided to join us today!
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Call In The New Testament