Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.


“As the world around us surges into a frenzied and festive December, let’s take a step away from the party and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts for a deeper and truer celebration of Christmas — one that is not undermined by lamentation, but that is made more potent because of it.”

― Kerry van der Vinne, Advent: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room


Fir and pine boughs are natural signs of everlasting life, persisting in summer and winter and retaining their colour even as leaves change and fall. Cedar wood is associated with royalty, including in the Hebrew scriptures. Holly and ivy—the green leaf and the red berry—are sung about as symbols of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, especially in the popular carol, “The Holly and the Ivy.” So, these familiar signs of Christmas can serve as symbols of our deeply lived faith.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.  We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.

Help us to share justly the resources of this land.  Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.  Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.

May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

– taken from Wontulp-Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group, 13 March 1997, Brisbane


With what shall we come to God’s house?

We come bringing branches of pine and fir, evergreens for wreaths of welcome, and garlands of joy.

What is this lovely fragrance that follows us here?

It is the smell of cedar—bough of wisdom, wood of honour—the holy breath and presence of God in our midst.

What will these things become in this place?

The promises of God, the words of prophets, and the blessings of disciples—signs of the temple not made with human hands—all brought to life in the one called Jesus, and reborn in us this

GATHERING HYMN:  VU 9  People Look East vs 1 & 5


Holy One, we gather here in this Advent season filled with anticipation and at least a little anxiety. It is a busy time, and we worry about getting everything done. In this time of worship, quiet our minds, and help us to remember not to become overwhelmed. Amen

Lighting the First Candle – The Candle of Hope
The Patriarchs, Abraham, the Old Testament Ancestors of Jesus

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, we will light a candle to remember the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the  ancestors of our faith.

     Genesis Chapter 12

     Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.  (NRSV)

     Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory for ever. You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for you are our light and our salvation. Blessed be God for ever.  (light the first candle)

Let us pray:  Lord Jesus we give thanks for our Father Abraham who by faith obeyed your call and became the father of many nations. Give us faith to listen to your voice that our hearts may be filled with the hope of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

HYMN:  VU 6, verse 1  A Candle Is Burning

Prayer:  Dear God, help us get ready for your coming into our community like you did so long ago in Bethlehem.  In the midst of the busyness of Christmas preparations, give us silence that we may hear you speak. Give us clear sight to see your guiding star among all of the Christmas lights and decorations. But most of all, God, give us hearts able to receive the gift of Jesus, in the midst of all the gifts of Christmas, that we may be changed into generous lovers of the world you created. Amen.

Wreath of welcome / garland of joy:  Isaiah 35:5-10

 5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.  For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.  9No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Advent and Christmas wreaths are constructed of evergreens to represent everlasting life brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represents God, with no beginning and no end.

As Christians began celebrating the birth of Christ, the pagan traditions of winter were carried over and somewhat modified and new meanings were created. The boughs and garlands served as a symbol to remind Christians of the salvation and redemption of Jesus.

HYMN:  VU 1, verses 1, 6, 7  O Come, O Come, Emannuel  (wreaths are hung during the hymn)


5The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”

The cedar tree symbolizes strength, and in Lebanon, the tree serves as an important cultural symbol for that reason. Poets and artists have conveyed the tree as a sign of strength and eternity, especially given the tree’s endurance through tumultuous periods of history.

The cedar is a tall and noble tree. It has become a symbol for Mary’s considerable spiritual stature, excellence and human perfection in God.

HYMN:  WOV 725  Blessed Be The God Of Israel  (boughs are hung/draped during the hymn)

Prayer:  With these wreaths and garlands, and in our hearts and lives, we prepare the way for the Lord!  Open wide the doors of God’s house, go out into the highways and byways to welcome all and make neighbours of those we meet!


10Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her — 11that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom.  12For thus says the LORD:  I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees.  13As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Poinsettias are certainly a natural plant to associate with Christmas. They bloom during the Christmas season, and their star-shaped leaves call to mind both the star of Bethlehem and Christ himself who is called the “bright morning star.”

The poinsettia, which is native to Mexico, is called “Star Flower” in the language of the Aztec people.

Poinsettias’ association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend. The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve. As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.

HYMN:  Star Of The East  (poinsettias are placed during the hymn)

Prayer:  Creator God, may the beauty of the poinsettias lift up our prayers in memory, gratitude and hope this Christmas season.  We pray remembering how Jesus said, ‘Consider the flowers of the fields, they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you Solomon in all his glory was not clothed more beautifully than these.’  Help us to trust in your generosity, and be generous to others in return.  Amen.


1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Bethlehem, in Hebrew, literally means, “house of bread”.

Bethlehem is famous for being the place of Jesus Christ’s birth and has been celebrated in Christmas carols and hymns through the centuries.

Do you not find it interesting that Jesus, the bread of life, was born in a “house of bread”?

HYMN:  VU 64  O Little Town Of Bethlehem  (the creche is arranged during the hymn)

Prayer:  With this creche we remember the love of God, revealed in Jesus’ self-giving, becoming the Christ for us, that love might heal God’s people and world.  Open our hearts, that we might receive him still.  Open our hands, that we might share his loving example.  Open our lives, that we might be transformed in love.  Amen.


     1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

     6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it, in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce.

The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. So, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

For Christians, the Christmas tree represents Jesus and the light he brings to the world.

HYMN:  O Christmas Tree

Prayer:  Bless these lights, as we await the Light of Life, Holy One.  May your light shine hope into our lives and in your world and remind us of your living presence in all things.  Amen.

In the midst of our busy lives and preparations, O God, you come to us in the child of promise and surprising joy.  With hope, we await the coming of your kingdom, when your love will fill the world.

We thank you for the beauty of winter, of gentle snow cloaking trees and land with life-giving moisture.  We wonder at the infinite glory of your creation and know you by the works of your hand.

We thank you for all the gifts we enjoy as part of our holiday preparations, especially the company and love of family and friends.

We thank you for the love and joy that fill our hearts at this time of year.  May we also be filled with your spirit, compassion, and vision, that your loving kindness will be known through all our thoughts, words, and actions.

We remember those for whom this season will be difficult, even painful:  those who grieve lost loved ones, relationships that have been broken, health issues that fracture peace, those without enough to eat or a safe place to live.

Help us to be present to those who feel alone, to share with those who are anxious, to seek the strengthening of the lives and communities around us.

We pray these things in the name of Jesus, the One who comes, who taught us to pray, saying…


Commissioning and Benediction

Joy is now in every place, the light of promise shines on every wall and window and door.  So, too, does that same light shine in each and every heart gathered here.  Let us go into God’s world to share that same light, the light of the One who comes.

Thanks be to God!  Amen!

SENDING SONG:  VU 59  Joy To The World 


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