United Church of Christ

Advent 4—December 22

God with Us
Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 22, 2019

Isaiah 7:10-16 •  Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19    Romans 1:1-7  •  Matthew 1:18-25

Call to Worship

Our hearts are filled with joyful anticipation, awaiting Jesus:
God is with Us.
As a family we worship and praise and look for the One who is coming:
God is with Us.
We hear the word of our Still Speaking God proclaiming:
God is with Us.
We gather here today knowing that no matter who we are
or where we are on life’s journey:
God is with us

Invocation

Present One
Today we gather with hearts full of joy.
Yet this season can also bring stress and anxiety.
Many of us are busy making plans with family and friends
while others struggle with loneliness.
We ask that you help all of us free our hearts and minds
of the planning, worry, stress, and anxiety
that takes our focus away from the coming of Christ.
During this time of worship
let your Spirit flow through this place.
May She empower us to open our hearts and minds
so that we will hear your Word
and know what you call us to do. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Creator God,
Even in the midst of a season of joy,
we must confess that there are times when we lose sight of what really matters.
We get so caught up in our own plans that we neglect to look out for others.
While we are anxiously awaiting Emmanuel
and the hope that Christ’s birth will bring,
we often neglect to bring hope
to those who are alone and hurting during this season of Advent.
We are often so busy looking for the light that is to come
that we forget to be the light for those who need it.
For these times we ask for forgiveness.

Let us take a moment to call to mind 
the places in our neighborhoods, communities and the wider world
where anxiety and pain have taken root,
and which need our witness of hope.

Assurance of Grace

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
God’s love never fails. God’s mercies are new every morning.
Therefore, take heart and be encouraged.
God is not only with us, God forgives us. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

Call to Offering and Prayer of Dedication

Everything that we have is a gift from God.
One way that we show God how thankful we are
is by giving back a portion of what God has given us
so that we can continue the work that we have been called to do.

Creator God,
we thank you for everything that you have given us,
especially for the hope that Emmanuel brings to us.
Help us to use these blessings in a way that brings honor and glory to you,
and brings hope to a people that so desperately need it.
We ask that you take today’s gifts--great or small, money, time or talent—
and use them to continue the work that you have called us to. Amen.

Benediction

We entered this sacred space today to worship.
Now we leave this place to serve.
In doing this, we not only say to the world that God is with Us,
we are proof that God is with Us.
Where there is a need, may we meet it.
Where there is injustice, may we fight it.
Where there are shadows, may we be light.
Where there is hopelessness, may we offer hope.
Where there is hatred, may we be love.
Where people forget, may we remind them that God is with Us! Amen.

God With Us, service prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, was written by Chance Martinez-Colon, Member In Discernment and Social Justice Team Leader at Spring Hill United Church of Christ, Florida Conference.

Copyright 2019, Faith Education, Innovation and Formation Ministry Team (Faith INFO), United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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