Worship at Home for Sunday, December 24

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve. This is the day when we reflect on what a great gift God gave to us when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Hopefully, you will be able to share some hope, peace, love and joy this Christmas season.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church).

  • Thank you to everyone who rang Salvation Army Bells this year!
  • Apple Butter is still available at $6 for a pint.
  • Christmas Eve worship services:
    • 9am Worship which will include our Children and Youth
    • 11pm Candlelight worship with communion
  • There will be no Sunday School on December 24 and December 31.
  • We will have the last of our Advent Studies after worship on December 24.
  • The boys and I will be on vacation from December 25 to January 2. Pastor Jeff Remelius from St. John UCC, Bem will be covering for me.

Merry Christmas and Blessings for the New Year,
Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Isaiah 62:6-12 • Psalm 97 • Titus 3:4-7 • Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20

Reflection: Christmas

For many this season is merry and bright. It may also be a bittersweet time of year. Those who are lonely may feel even more alone as others gather with large extended families and groups of friends at holiday parties. Those who have lost a loved one recently may feel a disconnect from the happy season and the sorrows of their heart. Our blue Christmas tree in front of the church on Peters Street honors this feeling. We offer our support for those who find Christmas to be more blue than bright.

There will be no sermon this Sunday. Instead, the children and youth will present a program at 9am on Sunday. At 11pm we will let the words of the story of Jesus’ birth as told in the Gospel of Luke guide our meditations on what a wonderous gift was given to the world when Jesus Christ was born.

But the story of Christmas does not end with the stable. Jesus grew up to be a man who taught, healed, and led people. He gave up his life for us by dying on the cross and gave us life by rising from the tomb three days later. Christmas is the time for joyful celebration, but the work of Christmas begins after the decorations and celebrations are put away.

I know that I have shared it before, but these words of Howard Thurman about “The Work of Christmas” ring so true:

“The Work of Christmas” by Howard Thurman
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Go in hope, peace, joy, and love…to spread the beauty of Christmas.

Prayer: May the love and light of the Christ Child shine with love in our hearts today and always. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list for a while, Mark’ s brother Billy, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., Jesse, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Diane, Louise, Janet, Linda, Keetha, Lori’s mom Judy, Bryson, Tanner, Coleton, Carly, Mia, tornado victims in Tennessee and all who are in need about which we do not know. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know. Prayers for all the places in the world where there is war.