They lit the four Advent candles before the service, which felt more appropriate to me than lighting all the candles when you light that week's one. (Since as my brother pointed out, the idea is that)
MikeF. was lighting all the candles in the holders at the ends of the pews and said this was an entry-level position.
My mom said, "Some day they'll make you janitor."
(This is funny because he is the janitor.)
* Hymn "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
We sat for all the hymns at CHPC until "Silent Night" at the end, so I was glad to stand for the enthusiastic hymns.
However: Is the traditional line not "all ye citizens of heaven"? 'cause the UCN hymnal had "all ye bright hosts of heaven," which threw me.
Call to Worship: Isaiah 9:6
Scripture Reading: John 3:16-18
Yeah, not so much a passage we read at my liberal progressive inclusive churches. (Though especially after recent conversations with Tiffany, I've been really noticing the themes of judgment and exclusion in Scripture readings -- like "on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests")
Vocal Selection: "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"
I was struck by the use of the word "Master" for Jesus ("Master, You done showed us how") since it was a slave spiritual, and then "But please, Sir, forgive us Lord."
Hymn: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Lighting of the Christ Candle
The Carter Family did this, as they always do. I was so unimpressed by lack of feeling/inflection in their reading.
Choral Selection: "Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah"
Offertory: "O Holy Night"
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7
* Hymn: "Angels We Have Heard on High"
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-16
Meditation: "Christmas Seekers"
Pastor Bill talked about the Magi, which was initially jarring to me because the readings didn't even include them. He talked about seekers vs. speculators and I was so conscious of his default male language for God. He said that God's Christmas gift of Jesus gives us 3 things: forgiveness, purpose and power to live (having been reading Our Lives As Torah, my immediate reaction was "What, like the Jews didn't have a sense of purpose?" though I knew he meant it as in contrast to modern godless secular life), security of knowing we have a home in heaven (yeah, obviously that discomfited me, on sort of a number of levels).
Hymn: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
Pastor Bill kept saying "disciples," which obviously I recognize from the text, but it was interesting noticing it because Tiffany always talks about when Jesus was with his "friends," which totally makes sense for the kind of community she's trying to build
Lighting of the Christmas Candles
* Hymn: "Silent Night! Holy Night!