Sunday After Christmas – December 26, 2021

Lectionary Texts

In 1 Samuel 2.18-20, Samuel is a young boy who lives and serves in the temple. His mother comes every year to bring him a robe. Eli, the priest, blesses the family.

Psalm 148 calls all Creation to praise God, who has raised up a source of salvation for us. Every tree and mountain and even the sea creatures get involved—and all sorts of people, too!

Colossians 3.12-17 teaches us how to live as God’s Beloved Ones: with kindness,
compassion, gentleness, generosity, forgiveness, and above all, love.

In Luke 2.41-52 When Jesus’ family goes to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, they accidentally leave him behind. They find him talking with the teachers, who are amazed at his understanding.

Call to Worship

1. From Psalm 148, paraphrased
Leader: Praise our God! Praise God to the top of the sky!
       All: Praise God all the angels, sun and moon and shining stars!
Praise God, sea monsters and the ocean deep, fire and hail, snow and smoke!
        mountains and hills, fruit trees and cedars!
Bees and cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
       Powerful ones, rulers and all people!
Men: Praise God! Women: Praise God Young: Praise God! Old: Praise God!
Leader: Praise God, whose glory fills the world.
       For God’s wonders, we give God our joyful praise!

Leader: Behold! I bring you good news of great joy for all people,
for to you is born a savior who is Christ the Lord!
       All: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
       who has visited and redeemed the people.
He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Life-Giver, Prince of Peace.
       Hosanna in the highest!
He is named Jesus, for he shall save us from our sins.
He is called Emmanuel, God with us.
       Glory to God in the highest,
       and peace on earth among al!

Leader: Gentle God, we rejoice in awe and wonder:
for your mystery unfolds before us.
All: You have sent a Savior to be with us,
       Emmanuel, your Presence, among us.
A child is born, to give light to those who live in darkness.
       Glory to God in the highest,
       and on earth peace among all, and God’s favor and good will.
In the presence of angels, we sing your praise.
       Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and renew in us the mystery of life. Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, in the birth of Christ you have given yourself to the world.
All: Bless us that we may receive you with faith.
Living Christ, you dwell among us, sharing our human struggles and delights.
       Be born in our hearts, save us from our sin, and lead us in the way of life.
Holy Spirit, by your grace Mary conceived and bore a son. Work in us also, and restore within us the image and likeness of our Creator.
       We open our hearts to you now. Bless us, that we may be transformed
       into the Body of Christ, and bring your love into the world. Amen.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

God of love, you have come among us in Jesus. Open our eyes to see you. Open our ears to listen for you. Open our hearts, and come to us. By your birth in us, give us new birth. May your Word be made flesh. Amen.

Gracious God, in the birth of Christ you have given us light in our darkness and companionship on our way. As the young Jesus questioned and listened in the temple, we open our hearts to your Word. Speak to us, and shape us by your Word. Amen.

Loving God, as a child Jesus sought you in the temple, talking with the elders. We seek you, too. We come seeking, though others may think we are lost. We come with our experience and our questions, though others may dismiss them. Bless us now that we may speak with clarity and listen with courage, that your Word may shape us, for the sake of the whole world. Amen.

Eternal God, in the birth of Jesus you have come to us in grace. You have made a place among us to accompany us, to save us, to re-create us in your image. Grant that, being born in our hearts, Christ may give us life by the power of your Spirit, so that we may always live according to your delight. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Loving God, we confess the ways we have wandered from your care.
We are sorry, and we ask your forgiveness.
We have not always listened to your guidance.
Forgive us, heal us, and speak your wisdom to us.
Bless us that through our faith
we may continually be in your house.
Loving God, redeem us, and give us life. Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

         We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, Source of Life and eternal Presence, who is our temple and our home.
         We follow Jesus, who lived among us as a child, learning and growing, exploring and wondering, questioning and making mistakes. As a teacher and healer he continued to question and wonder, to challenge, and to upset those in authority by his allegiance to the truth. He was crucified, but was raised from the dead, and still lives to guide and to question, to teach and to heal and to feed our souls.
         We live by the Holy Spirit, who is our wisdom and our law, who guides us in the ways of peace, who helps us grow as young Jesus did, and who gives us the gift of trust in God’s unfailing grace. By the power of that Spirit we devote our lives of justice and beauty and the way of love, for the sake of the mending of the world. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

Jesus in the temple, what are you seeking?
Grant us your curiosity.
Young boy among elders, confident in your truth,
grant us your trust.
You were not lost; you were exploring.
Are you among us as well?
Give us faith to speak without fear,
and to listen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you that you have given yourself to us. O Radiant One, with our eyes we have seen your salvation, and feasted on your grace. Emmanuel, God With Us, fill us with the curiosity of the young Jesus, to seek you wherever we may find you. May your Word take flesh in us, that we may be your holy people, revealing the glory of your love. Send us into the world, to be your light, by the grace of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Available on the Music page. Click titles to view songs.)

Holy Child
Lyrics: Holy child, holy child,
grant one blessing from above.
Holy child, holy child,
grant the joy of giving you my love.

If the Gospel text you choose is Luke 2.22-40,
Anna and Simeon’s song.

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