WASHINGTON STREET UMC WILL NOT HAVE WORSHIP AT THE CHURCH ON CHRISTMAS DAY (SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25). In lieu of worship at the church building, you are invited to join in worship as you gather with family, friends, or neighbors on Christmas Day, no matter where you may be around the world, using the following order of service. The readings may be read responsively or led by one individual. After you conclude worship, you are invited to respond in the comments section below, sharing with the community at large where you are worshipping today, who are you with, and your favorite Christmas Day tradition!

Order for Worship

Call to Worship 
    Christ is born! Alleluia!
    Jesus is among us! Alleluia!
    The Word has become flesh! Alleluia!

Opening Hymn

Joy to the World (Vs. 1 & 4)
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Scripture Lesson – John 1:1-14
    The Word of God, for the people of God.
    Thanks be to God.

Christmas Message:  A New Beginning

   Hear the words of our Gospel writer, John, using the language of the Genesis creation story to open his account regarding Jesus Christ. “In the beginning,” he says, as if audaciously re-writing the Biblical story from its start. Perhaps that is exactly what John is intending. John offers that the child to be born, the work God will do in Jesus Christ, is offering a new beginning. John is calling to our attention that God is making a new way, offering a new beginning, not just for the world around us, but even for US! 

    To help provide a new beginning, John says that the Word became flesh. Think if you will about ‘the Word.’ In our world, words are very important. Some people speak too many; some speak far too few. Words can be hurtful, and they can be very profound. Words are what allow us to express ourselves to others. They are the tools we use to communicate, to celebrate, and to cooperate. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus becomes the way God communicates to the world, speaking to us directly through life, death, and resurrection.     

     And what is God saying? In the teachings and example of Christ, God is speaking a new message of great and eternal love. Christ’s witness, as an example of God’s profound message, spoken through word and deed, offers the everlasting promise that there’s nowhere God won’t go, nothing God can’t overcome, and nothing God won’t do to ensure that we know we are God’s beloved children. So rejoice this day for new beginnings, and for the eternal Word, for that Word offers light in the darkness, hope in the hurt, and joy in the struggle. May the coming year be a year we can rejoice in the good news of great joy together, as we proclaim and share the news that Christ is born, alive, and at work in the world. Amen. 

– Pastor Thomas

Community Prayer

On this day, Gracious Lord, you come to us as Word, as light, as flesh. Teach us to know you so well that our lives may befriend this world you have made. On this glad new day for all the earth we are grateful for giving hearts made joyful in the gift of your Son. For you, O God, are generosity itself. Bless our lives in the service of sharing your love in the world; through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. 

Closing Hymn                  

O Come, All Ye Faithful
O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Christmas Benediction
God’s Word has come to earth to bring us together in love. May we live in peace to love and serve Christ. Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleulia!

If you’d like to give to the Christmas Offering, which helps provide early childhood education opportunities for low-income families in Alexandria, go to wsumc.com/give and choose “Christmas Offering” under ‘Choose Designation’.