During Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas) and on Epiphany Sunday (Jan. 8), we will be looking at the Christmas story from the perspective of various characters within the story. Today, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Pastor Linda brings to us the shepherds. Although they were among the lowest of their society, they were the first people outside the family to meet the baby Jesus and the first people to spread the Good News.
Our services are being held with in-person attendance at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Today’s service is provided below in its entirety in video format. Note that closed captioning is available when “CC” appears in white at the bottom of the video panel. Click the CC to see the text; as it is done with an automated service, there may be errors in transcription.
Advent Candles: Love is what gives meaning to the Advent season: God’s love for us and our love for God and one another. Without love all the gifts and get-togethers, all the busyness and trappings of Advent become meaningless. But, love makes us alive to the Spirit of God and to the spirit of the season. Because God comes to us in love, we long to share that love with others. We light the fourth Advent candle, the Love Candle, because God is love.
Hear this promise from John’s gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (3:16-17).
God is love and in him there is no darkness at all. We walk in the light of Christ, loving as he first loved us, as we light the Candle of Love.
Our Scripture Reading is Luke 2:8-20 NRSV. Although both gospels of Matthew and Luke tell similar parts of the Christmas story, Luke is the one that includes the shepherds. This portion of the story begins by telling us the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. This suggests it probably didn’t happen in late December as the weather would have been too cold. We then hear that angels have joined the shepherds, accompanied by radiance and light, a sign of God’s word. The angels tell the shepherds that God is giving them a gift in the form of Jesus Christ. The shepherds go to Bethlehem and see the holy family, and tell them what the angels said. They then return, glorifying and praising God, as the first Christian witnesses.
Today’s installment of “Good Morning Morgan Hill” features an interview of shepherds “Mildred” (Darcy Foster) and “Fred” (Bruce Kuefner) by our intrepid KUMC reporter, “Wanda Warbler” (Wanda Garrett). It’s brought to you by Wendy Ringo’s “Weaponized Smiling.”
The message today from Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook is “Characters of Advent: Shepherds.”
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.
I invite you to give generously, as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.
See this week’s announcements and bulletin notes here.
Credits and copyrights
- “The First Noel” words and music anonymous. Public domain. CCLI song #31047, CCLI License #2718708.
- “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” words 9th cent. Latin, music 15th cent. French, arr. and harm. by Thomas Helmore. Public domain. CCLI song #32008, CCLI License #2718708.
- “The King of Glory Comes” words by Rev. Willard F. Jabusch, music trad. Israeli folk song. ©1966, 1982 Jabusch, Willard F. (Admin. by The Society for the Propagation of the Faith). CCLI song #2699129, CCLI License #2718708.
- “Love Has Come” words by Ken Bible, music traditional French tune. © 1996, 1997 LNWhymns.com (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.). CCLI song #2060820, CCLI License #2718708.
- “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” words and music West Indian carol. © Public domain. CCLI song #2957081, CCLI License #2718708.
- “Alleluia” words, music by Jerry Sinclair. © 1972, 1978 Manna Music. CCLI song #16811, CCLI License #2718708.
- “Soon and Very Soon” words and music by Andraé Crouch, music adapt. by William Farley Smith. © 1971 Bud John Songs, Inc. (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing); Crouch Music Corp. (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing). CCLI song #11249, CCLI License #2718708.
- All other text on this page © The United Methodist Church of Morgan Hill.