Worship service – December 12, 2021 – “Restore Us, O God: Joy”

On this third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Joy.  Joy is what we feel when we find something of great personal value that was lost, that connects to our identity, like a wallet, phone, — or our relationship with God.

Our services are being held with in-person attendance at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.  Due to a technical difficulty, the video recording of today’s service is not available.  Please enjoy excerpts of the service below.

Opening hymn: “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” from The United Methodist Hymnal #240.

Lighting the Advent Candle of Joy

Advent is a season of joy. We celebrate the coming of the Christ child with parties and gifts, special decorations and new clothes. We gather with family and friends for special events. We honor long-held traditions. We also reach out to those whose joy is dimmed in this season. Today we light the third candle, the Candle of Joy, for Christ, our joy, is coming. With the psalmist, let us exult: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures evermore” (Psalm 16:9, 11).

The joy of the Lord is our strength! Let us bask in the radiance of Christ’s presence as we light the Candle of Joy. (The third candle, the Candle of Joy, is lit in silence)

Prayer: Holy God, true joy will never be found in tinsel and colored lights and even less in the excesses of this season. True joy is found in you and in you alone. Thank you for the gift of Joy Incarnate. Thank you for the Spirit who manifests your joy in our hearts all year long. Come, Lord Jesus. Bring us the gift of your joy and your life. Amen.

Hymn: “Joy to the World” from The United Methodist Hymnal #246 

Our Scripture Reading is from Psalm 126 NRSV. This Psalm was probably written after the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon. They were looking forward with joy to regaining their identity as the people of God in Israel.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,  we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.


Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is the one true Church whose faith we support with our prayers, our presence, our giving, our witness and our service.
Our offering is given to the mission and ministry of MHUMC.  Remember our gifts come from us, as the people of God, for the work of God, to the Glory of God in the world.

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I invite you to give generously, as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Gracious God, we thank you for this season of carols and gifts, and for your most precious gift of Jesus. We offer you our lives and these gifts: our hopes and our plans, our work and our play. May love and justice blossom from our gifts. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook
Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook

The message today from Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook is “Restore Us, O God: Joy.”

Joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desired” (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It’s different from happiness, which is a temporary feeling based on a situation or experience.

We react with joy when we rediscover our identity, or restore our relationship with God.  Joy is the sense that comes after sharing with God our good fortune and our brokenness. God accepts us just as we are and that is joyful!

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Credits and copyrights

  • “What Child is This” words by  William C. Dix, music 16th cent. English melody. Public domain.
  • “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” words by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn. Public domain.
  • “People, Look East” words by Eleanor Farjeon, music trad. French carol, harm. By Martin Shaw.  CCLI song #3011380, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Alleluia” words, music by Jerry Sinclair.  © 1972, 1978 Manna Music. CCLI song #16811, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Joy to the World” words by Isaac Watts, music arr. from G.F. Handel by Lowell Mason. Public domain.
  • “The Rose” words and music by Amanda McBroom. © 1977 Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
  • “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” words by Thomas Ken, adapt. By  Gilbert H. Vieira, music from Geistliche Kirchengesäng, harm. By Ralph Vaughan Williams. © 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House. CCLI song #3063266, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Until Jesus Comes” words, music by Dean McIntyre.  © 1989 The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.
  • All other text on this page © The United Methodist Church of Morgan Hill.

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