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Worship Sheet for Sunday 20 December – 4th Sunday in Advent – Expect the unexpected.
Was it more of a shock than a surprise for Mary to get the news that she was going to give birth to God’s Son? In any event she trusted God and went along with his plans. We can trust him too.

Call: We come today in joy for God calls us in love: we are blessed and favoured. We come today with hope for God calls us to a new way: we are blessed and favoured. We come today in faith for God calls us by name: we are blessed and favoured. Let us answer God’s call to worship.
Candle We light our 4
th advent candle - Jesus said Anyone who does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother or sister or mother. I am the servant of the Lord, let it be according to his word.
We sing: Mary’s gift, beyond all telling, was to give Christ room. Timeless God as human dwelling in a mother’s womb. Who could guess the final story? – cross and glory; empty tomb.

Mini Service Video https://youtu.be/E2SOJohlNxI
Read or Print the Mini service by clicking on this link  
Listen to the Mini Service by clicking on the Sound bar below

Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray- Lord, it is sometimes nice to get a surprise, though none of us like shocks. But actually, most of us like to know what is happening and we tend to be wary of uncertainty. Perhaps that is partly why 2020 has been so tough – there’s been so many changes, so much uncertainty. Remind this Christmas season that you want to bring GOOD news and that the coming of your Son can still bring great joy to the world, a world that is so full of darkness and uncertainty. Lord grant us the faith of Mary who, for all her questions, was willing to go along with your plans and ready to serve as you made her able. Show us how we can truly be your servants in our day. Forgive us when we are slow to respond, all too ready to want things nailed down, but not so eager to follow your lead. Show us how we may latch on to your purposes that we may share in bringing good news to all the people. Together we pray as Jesus taught us: Our Father…

Read or print the Passage for the week by clicking this link:
Luke 1:26-38. A message for Mary.
Listen to the passage by clicking on the Sound bar below
Sermon Video https://youtu.be/PgBUlVbGMak  
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Listen to the Sermon by Clicking the Sound Bar below

Thought- Shock or surprise – the difference is usually that the unexpected happening is usually a good one for the latter but not so great for the former. This year has seen uncertainty and the unexpected to an unprecedented degree and that has taken its toll on us. We desperately want to know what is happening. Mary reminds us that sometimes we must be willing to press ahead without having all the detail before us. Faith concerns what we hope for, not what we can see. It isn’t blind, it is grounded on the promises of God., Humanly speaking we don’t know what the future holds, but trusting in Jesus we can be sure that our future is secure. His promise is sure and rests on his life, death and resurrection. The Christmas story does concern a baby born at Bethlehem, but more than that – it is the assurance that God loves us so much that he gave his Son – and he hasn’t taken him from us. He continues to be Immanuel – God with us, always. Mary had many questions, she didn’t know everything that was to happen or even how Joseph would react – but she was sufficiently persuaded of the truth of the angel’s message that she was willing to trust God and fall in with his plans – a marvellous response and a wonderful example to us. What does 2021 hold for us – hopefully more freedom from the virus, but hopefully too opportunities to trust in God and share in his service.

Praise: CH4 287 No wind in the window v 1,2 & 4 (Tune 312 Cradle Song : Away in a manger)
Read or Print Hymn CH4 287 by clicking this link
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray- Christmas is almost here – even amidst the darkness in which the world find itself, may we take encouragement from Mary’s readiness to embrace your plans and be eager to commit to serving you in a world that desperately needs to hear the good news of Jesus and experience his love in action. There would be plenty for us to moan about, but we know that we are closer to your purposes, and more likely to effect change for the better, if we embrace your love and live and proclaim the presence and blessings of your Son – no longer the baby in Bethlehem, yes Lord in heaven above but also ever present God with us! We commit into your loving care and keeping those whose hearts are heavy, who are up through the night caring for loved ones, worried about them, weeping when society is pushing for joy and celebrations. May they know that he feels for their sadness as much as shares in people’s gladness. May your church’s efforts to reach people with the good news, however different this year, be effective. In our prayer walk we remember those in Palmerston Street and Railway Place. SILENCE
Lord hear our prayers spoken and unspoken and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Blessing May the Lord bless you. Amen.