December 10, 2023

2nd Sunday in Advent





Loving God, you sent your prophet John
to prepare your way among us,
to call us to repentance and make our
pathways straight.
Strengthen us to live lives of steadfast love
and faithfulness
as we await the Messiah’s return,
that all may see your reign of peace
through your just and gracious rule. Amen.


PRELUDE                   “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”                 arr. Shaw/Parker


LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES              Bernie & Betsy Carlson

Advent Wreath Week 2 – B

December 10 – PEACE


Reader 1:         Watch and wait for Christ’s coming!


We light candles of hope, peace, joy, and love, remembering the promises of God with prayer.


Hear these words from the prophet Isaiah:


A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”


The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.


We light this candle in hope.              Light the first purple candle

We light this candle in peace.             Light the second purple candle


Reader 2:         Let us pray…


Most Holy God, you alone are our comfort, our peace. Help us to prepare our hearts, our homes, and our communities, as we await the Messiah who will bring ultimate peace and justice.


Reader 1:         Let us walk in the light of the Lord. Amen.


*HYMN No. 102                     “Savior of the Nations, Come”                    vs. 1-3

1 Savior of the nations, come;
virgin’s son, make here your home.
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

2 From God’s heart the Savior speeds;
back to God his pathway leads;
out to vanquish death’s command,
back to reign at God’s right hand.

3 Now your manger, shining bright,
hallows night with newborn light.
Night cannot this light subdue;
let our faith shine ever new.


God promises forgiveness through Jesus Christ. On this second Sunday of Advent, let us approach God in humility and faith.



Eternal God, John the Baptist prepares the way by calling upon us to repent. We have failed to share as we should. We have failed to honor the poor and the oppressed. We have failed to bear fruit worthy of your salvation. Have mercy upon us, God. Heal and forgive us so we can welcome Christ with pure and genuine hearts. Amen.


Silence is observed.



With joy, let us draw water from the springs of salvation. Give thanks to the Lord! Call on God’s name.


*RESPONSE No. 102             “Savior of the Nations, Come”                    v. 4

4 Praise we sing to Christ the Lord,
virgin’s son, incarnate Word!
To the holy Trinity
praise we sing eternally.  



Since we are reconciled to God in Christ, let us share the sign of peace with one another:

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

And also with you.


ANTHEM                   Veiled in Darkness”              Rudolph





__________ and __________, you stand here now, a mother and a father into whose keeping God has dared to entrust a human soul, who is precious to you, but infinitely more precious to Him.


When your little child was born __________ came not into a cold and unregarding world, but into your home, where warmth and love awaited __________, and where many things had been thought out and prepared in advance of __________ coming.  This sacrament means that in a far deeper sense preparation even more wonderful than yours have been made for your very child by the very hand of God.  It means that God’s love, in addition to yours, has waited down the centuries for this particular child, and will gladly spend itself in __________behalf.


You come now, having previously declared your own faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, to receive your child from God’s very hand, and to hear Him say to you: “This is your child, yes!  But in a deeper sense, this child is mine, entrust for a time to your keeping.”


And the answer you make to God now is that, though you have great dreams for this little __________ and are prepared to deny yourselves for year in order that __________ may have __________ chance, yet what you really choose above all else for the little child is that all __________ days __________ may know Jesus Christ, and may love and serve Him.


In presenting your child for baptism, do you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; and do you promise, in dependence on the grace of God, to bring up your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?                              WE DO.



Do you, the  members of this congregation, in the name of the whole Church of Christ, undertake with these parents, the Christian nurture of this child, so that in due time __________ may confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?  WE DO.


Will you endeavor by your examples and fellowship to strengthen their family ties with the household of God?  WE WILL.



Most merciful and loving Father, we thank you for the church of your dear Son, the ministry of you Word, and the sacraments of grace.  We praise you that you have given us such gracious promises concerning our children, and that in mercy you call them to you, marking them with this sacrament as a singular token and pledge of your love.  Set apart this water from a common to a sacred use, and grant that what we now do on earth may be confirmed in heaven.  As in humble faith, we present this child to you, we ask you to receive __________, to endue __________ with your Holy Spirit, and to keep __________ ever as your own; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



__________, child of the covenant, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.





Our Father, when we give you our children, we give ourselves, since they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.  When we give them to you, we keep them forever.  When we offer them your bondage, it is perfect freedom.  When we bid them love you best, they also love us the more.


Bless this father, we pray.  May he continue to make his life the window through which his child shall better see and understand you as heavenly Father.


Bless this mother, O God, may she without pageantry mold this clay quietly into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  Not just for __________ and __________, but for all parents in our midst.


And, O God, bless this little __________.  Give __________ what __________ shall need most tomorrow; enough tears to keep __________ tender; enough hurts to keep __________ human; enough failure to keep __________ hands clenched to yours; and enough success to make __________ sure __________ walks with you.  May __________ never be ashamed of you.  May __________ never depart from you.  And after a life of love and service to __________ Master, take __________ to be with yourself in your heavenly kingdom.  Not just for __________, but for all the children in our midst, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.



Open us, Holy One, to your Word and your way. Clear our minds of holiday distractions and busy tasks. Fill our hearts with the humility we need to hear and receive the message you intend for us today. Amen.

SCRIPTURE               2 Peter 3:8-15a

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,[a] not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.[b]


11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening[c] the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.


14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.


ANTHEM                   “A Prayer for Advent”                       Nolan


SERMON                   “The Beginning of Advent”              A Poem by Rev. Todd Jenkins

‘Twas the beginning of Advent and all through the Church

our hope was dying — we’d given up on the search.

It wasn’t so much that Christ wasn’t invited,

but after nearly 2,000 years we were no longer excited.


Oh, we knew what was coming — no doubt about that.

And that was the trouble — it was all “old hat.”

November brought the first of an unending series of pains

with carefully orchestrated advertising campaigns.


There were gadgets and dolls and all sorts of toys;

enough to seduce the most devout girls and boys.

Unfortunately, it seemed, no one was completely exempt

from this seasonal virus that did all of us tempt.


The priests and prophets and certainly the kings

were all so consumed with the desire for “things!”

It was rare, if at all, that you’d hear of the reason

for the origin and meaning of this holy-day season.


A baby, it seems, once had been born

in the mid-east somewhere – the first holy-day morn.

But what does that mean for folks like us,

who’ve lost ourselves in the hoopla and fuss?


Can we re-learn the art of wondering and waiting,

of hoping and praying, and anticipating?

Can we let go of all the things and the stuff?

Can we open our hands and our hearts long enough?


Can we open our eyes and open our ears?

Can we find him again after all of these years?

Will this year be different from all the rest?

Will we be able to offer him all of our best?


So many questions, unanswered thus far,

as wise ones seeking the home of the star.

Where do we begin– how do we start

to make for the child a place in our heart?


Perhaps we begin by letting go

of our limits on hope, and of the things that we know.

Let go of the shopping, of the chaos and fuss;

let go of the searching, let Christmas find us.


We open our hearts, our hands and our eyes,

to see the king coming in our own neighbors’ cries.

We look without seeking what we think we’ve earned,

but rather we’re looking for relationships spurned.


With him he brings wholeness and newness of life

for brother and sister, for husband and wife.

The Christ-child comes not by our skill,

but rather he comes by the Creator’s will.


We can’t make him come with parties and bright trees,

but only by getting down on our knees.

He’ll come if we wait amidst our affliction,

Coming in spite of, and not by our restriction.


His coming will happen– of this there’s no doubt.

The question is whether we’ll be in or out.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

Do you have the courage to peer through the lock?


A basket on your porch, a child in your reach.

a baby to love, to feed and to teach.

He’ll grow in wisdom as God’s only Son.

How far will we follow this radical one?


He’ll lead us to challenge the way that things are.

He’ll lead us to follow a single bright star.

But that will come later if we’re still around.

The question for now: Is the child to be found?


Can we block out commercials, the hype and the malls?

Can we find solitude in our holy halls?

Can we find hope, keep alert, stay awake?

Can we receive the child for ours and God’s sake?


From on high with the caroling host as he sees us,

He yearns to read on our lips the prayer: Come Lord Jesus!

As Advent begins, all these questions make plea.

The only true answer: We will see, we will see.


ANTHEM                   “Light the Advent Candle”               Wagner



I believe in God, the Father almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth,


and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand
of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.


*HYMN No. 87                      “Comfort, Comfort, Now My People”

1 “Comfort, comfort now my people;
tell of peace!” So says our God.
“Comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning under sorrow’s load.
To my people now proclaim
that my pardon waits for them!
Tell them that their sins I cover,
and their warfare now is over.”

2 For the herald’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
calling us to true repentance,
since the reign of God is here.
O, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise in meeting
and the hills bow down in greeting.

3 Straight shall be what long was crooked,
and the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits God’s holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now on earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that God’s word is never broken.



Eternal God, the one who comes, and the one with the power to break through our darkness and despair, the one who risks being born into a broken world, we give you thanks for the hope this Advent provides. Help us repent and return to you to prepare our hearts to receive Christ this Christmas. Help us straighten our paths, fill our valleys, and make our rough places smooth. Help us turn to you in prayer for comfort and strength.


Almighty God, who taught us to pray not only for ourselves but for people everywhere, hear us as we pray now for others, in the name of Jesus Christ.


In your mercy, Creator God, hear our prayers for the hurting; for innocent civilians trapped in the horrors of war; for those longing for safety and shelter; for the sick and wounded; for refugees living in exile, for the poor and the oppressed.


In your mercy, Loving God, hear our prayers for those in our community who are in need of more support; for those who feel alienated or estranged; for those navigating life alone and lonely; for those who feel exhausted and weak; for those who feel overwhelmed and suffer in silence.


In your mercy, Communal God, hear our prayers for our friends and family members; for those who are sick and their caregivers; for those who are grieving and missing loved ones during the holidays; for those who are distracted and frazzled; for those who cannot hear the whisper of your angels’ wings amidst the busy chaos of their lives.


As the Body of Christ and a community of faith we lift these prayers up to you, Holy God. Comfort your people. Strengthen us with your love. May our faith build bridges of welcome to all who are wandering this Advent.


Hear us now as we pray the prayer Christ taught us saying, “Our Father…”.


Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.





With joy and gratitude for all we have been given, let us offer our tithes and gifts to God.




*RESPONSE No. 88              “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”                  v. 6

6 O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.



Gracious God, accept these gifts in grateful response for your generosity. May these gifts bring joy to those most in need of Christ’s mission and ministry. Amen.


*HYMN No. 119                     “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

1 Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king.
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations, rise;
join the triumph of the skies;
with the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail the incarnate deity,
pleased in flesh with us to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

3 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”



We do not leave this sanctuary and leave God behind.


God’s call is clear. We are to prepare our hearts, minds, communities, and world for our Prince of Peace.


May this call be ever before us; guiding us, inspiring us, enabling us to be Christ’s body – his hands, his feet, his heart – in this, God’s world.


May the grace, hope, peace, and love of God our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, be with us all, now, and forever. Amen.