Prelude: “Christmas Rhapsody” Sally Mitchell
Chiming of the Singing Bowl: Rev. Misha Sanders
Words of Welcome and Announcements: Melissa Niedermeyer
Good morning! I am Melissa Niedermeyer, a Worship Associate here at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation seeks to create loving community, inspire joy and spiritual growth, and support courageous action. All are welcome, as together we journey towards justice and equity by learning, caring, and acting together.
We especially welcome any newcomers and visitors we have today. Ordinarily we would have coffee hour after worship, but today we are having a Town Hall meeting with brief reports from Board members and the Building committee with time for questions. Whether you are a member or not you are welcome to join us. There is no need to leave this zoom call, as we will begin the Town Hall meeting following the postlude.
Please join us at 5PM on Christmas Eve for our annual service of music and readings to celebrate this joyous holiday!
It will, of course, be different from our traditional candlelight service, because it will be virtual, in our regular worship Zoom room.
Festive dress is encouraged! We would love for you to come prepared to have your cameras on, although that is of course NOT required. If you would like to participate, please have a candle or a chalice ready to light, and be prepared to darken your room if you choose. We will have a time of virtual candle-lighting, and it will be wonderful to see each other’s faces and feel the warmth of our collective love and light.
We look forward to celebrating the season together with you!
Our traditional offering on Christmas Eve goes to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund, money that our minister has the discretion to use to help our own members who are in need and also for people outside the congregation who ask for assistance.
Are you decorating for the holidays, but not hosting guests because of COVID-19? Share your festive holiday decorations with Northwest so we can all enjoy them together! Submit photos using the Google form (link is in the chat) or send your photos to Cameron Moore or Jenn Miller. Photos will be shared on Northwest’s Facebook page as they are received.
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to grab whatever materials you’ll need to light your own chalice if you’d like that to be part of your worship experience today.
As always, kindly set your phones to worship mode; we won’t know, but I think you might enjoy the hour free from distractions. And feel free to check in on your social media of choice to let your friends and family know about this place of caring you’ve found today. Our congregation is an exciting place to be, and we love it when you share the good news.
And although we cannot be physically together to greet each other today with hugs, high-fives, smiles, and words of love, we are all together in spirit and each and every one of us is welcome.
And now let us prepare for worship with music by Sally Mitchell.
Music: “A Jolly and Jingly Christmas Medley” Sally Mitchell
Call to Worship: Rev. Misha Sanders
Good morning! I am Rev. Misha Sanders, your senior minister here at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Our Call to Worship is by my friend, Rev.Shari Woodbury:
“Perhaps some here have outgrown mystery.
Maybe you have doubts about Santa,
Or have forgotten the magic of a newborn child.
One might easily lose touch with awe,
In the struggle to do it all,
Or simply to survive.
Hear, now, this invitation:
To open yourself to surprise today
And be ready to greet unexpected delights.
What star shall shine on you?
What child remind you
that all can be touched by glory?
What gifts can you give?
How will you join the holy story?”
And now, the Davis family will light our chalice.
Lighting of the Chalice: Maggie Davis
In the weeks of the advent season, the weeks of waiting, we have remembered patience; we have looked to light to dispel darkness; we have pledged to be, do, and seek peace. This week, we remember the foundation of all these things: Love.
In this holiday season, throughout the year to come, and always in our lives, may we know we are loved; may we share the love we have; and may we be the love we wish to see.
Story Wisdom: Adia Fields-Udofia “Carol of the Elves”
Lighting the Advent Wreath: Rev. Misha Sanders
Every Sunday morning this month, we’ve woven Advent into our worship time together. “Advent” comes from the Latin verb advenire, which means “to draw near.” By lighting one more candle on our Advent wreath each week, we make visible our spirit of waiting, of expectation.
The first candle we lit in the name of hope: not just what we long for, but our trust for the best within us to rise, and to grace the many endings and beginnings in our lives. [light hope candle]
We lit the second candle in the name of peace: the courage to soften, and to cultivate our ability to stay present in difficult moments. [light second candle]
We lit the third candle in the name of joy: the abiding faith that joy unfolds whenever we’re able to enter and consent to the practice of opening to Possibility. [light third candle]
This morning, we light the fourth candle of our Advent wreath in the name of love, as an invitation for the Holy to dwell within us, deepening our capacity to love, and to be watchful of Love’s presence among us. May we open to the love that awaits us in the weeks to come. [light fourth candle]
As we prepare to bring new possibilities to life, may love guide us and be a creating force in our lives.
And now, let us enjoy the musical artistry of our own beloved Robert Niedermeyer.
Interlude: “Oh Tannenbaum” Robert Niedermeyer
Joys and Sorrows: Rev. Joan Armstrong-Davis
Prayer and Meditation: Rev. Joan Armstrong-Davis
Music Interlude: “Christmas Time is Here” Robert Niedermeyer
Sermon: NWUUC 2020 Pageant
Music for Reflection: 12 Days of Christmas
Offering: Introduction by Rev Misha
The offering that we take each Sunday isn’t just a stale habit: it’s an opportunity to recommit to this place, and to this people. Our offering is an affirmation—a “yes.”
When we give, we say yes to something we value. With our gifts, freely given, may we say yes to the values of our faith. Our offering will now be given and gratefully received.
Dedication of the Offering:
“To the work of this congregation, which is weaving a tapestry of love and action,
we dedicate our offerings and the best of who we are.”
Music: “Linus and Lucy” Robert Niedermeyer
Benediction: Rev. Misha Sanders
Our benediction today is by theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, 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 flocks,
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 the people,
to make music in the heart.”
Postlude: “Still, Still, Still” Sally Mitchell