Virtual Service – December 18, 2022

2:00 pm

December 18, 2022

Welcome to virtual church!

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text.

• View the video below
• download and print the service from this document – link

For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos of service, the choirs and more!

Please contact office@waltonmemorial.com if you would like to be added to our email list.


Announcements

• Fruit of the Vine: We’re so close to the holidays and what better way to celebrate than crafting together?  We’ll be working on 3-4 different Christmas crafts while we chat and spend time with each other.  There is a minimal cost of $10 per person and all attendees must RSVP by 7pm, Monday, December 19th. This is to allow me time to gather all the necessary supplies.

When: 7:00 to 9:00pm on Wednesday, December 21st
Where: Bronte Hall at Walton
Cost: $10 to cover supplies

RSVP: Please visit https://waltonmemorial.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1550460 to pay and RSVP, by Mon. Dec. 19th, 7:00pm.
Come join us, renew old friendships or make new ones.  If you have any questions, send Steph abd email through the office at familyministries@waltonmemorial.com

Note: COVID-19 Protocols at Walton currently require that we wear a mask inside the building.  If you’re feeling unwell, we ask that you please stay home and hope you’re feeling better by the holidays.

• Service of Darkness & Light  – Though Walton is not holding a Service of Memories this year, we invite all those who are finding the Christmas season difficult amidst grief or loss to join our neighbours at the Church of the Epiphany for their Service of Darkness & Light. This service for healing, hope, and sacred remembering will be held Monday, December 19th at 7pm. The Church of the Epiphany is located at 141 Bronte Rd.

• Worship at Walton this Christmas
We look forward to having live worship services on Christmas Eve for the first time since 2019, as well as a virtual service which will be sent out via email and posted on our social media pages. Here is the live Christmas worship schedule:

Saturday, December 24 – 5:30pm – Family Service – Registration required
Saturday, December 24 – 8:30pm – Candlelight Communion – No registration required
Sunday, December 25 – 10:00am – Single service, no children’s and youth programs
Sunday, January 1 – 10:00am – Single service – Children & youth programming in Bronte Hall

Please register online or by calling the church office. If the service is full, please register for the waitlist. 

• Christmas Benevolent Fund Memorials: Anyone connected with the Walton congregation live or virtually has the opportunity of making a special memorial gift to Walton at Christmas time. Donate online by visiting the Walton website and clicking the “donate” button, or contact the office.  These memorial gifts will all be dedicated on today,  Sunday, Dec. 18th  at the 9:30 & 11:00am services. The donations go to the Walton Benevolent Fund (see below for the write up on “What is the Benevolent Fund?”)  We would not want to miss your gift, so please contact the office, at office@waltonmemorial.com or go to the Walton website.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. We are learning how to be superstars!

• Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayer requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com

If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com.


Land Acknowledgement

As we gather today on these treaty lands, we are in solidarity with Indigenous brothers and sisters to honour and respect the four directions, lands, waters, plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us, and all of the wonderful elements of creation that exist. We acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for being stewards of this traditional territory.

Welcome

Good morning. Welcome as we gather on our last Advent Sunday.

The last, it can’t be, wow, that flew by! It didn’t feel like I was waiting at all for Christmas this year?

Is that because you were keeping God close? Were you busy helping others? Were you practicing what Advent IV stands for –  love? Were you sharing God’s love this season? Were you giving, sharing and caring and being part of the Good News welcoming the Christ child here, right here in your heart?

Hymn:  “The First Nowell”  verses 1,2,3,6  91VU

 

Call to Worship

One:What a day of excitement! Just 7 more days until we celebrate Christ’s birth!
All:We cannot help but ponder. The child of love and companion of grace is about to break forth into our lives.
One:Holy is the Promised One! We gather to bless this great gift.
All:With anticipation and wonder, we praise God!
Laura Turnbull, The Gathering A/C/E 2019/20

Opening Prayer

All: Gracious Lord, you guided the holy family to Bethlehem, refugees who had been turned away from hospitality, yet found shelter in a lowly stable.  We come to you with the same humility, despite our baggage and uncertainty about what lies ahead. You welcome us into your sanctuary, reminding us that we are loved. We come to you within our human frailty, just as your Jesus entered the world as an infant, guarded by shepherds and extolled by angels. We are strengthened by your presence today in this place, in the week that lies ahead throughout our lives. Amen.
Aaon Palmer, A/C/E 2020/21

The Lord’s Prayer

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Advent Candle Lighting

One: We lit the candle of hope on Advent I, We lit the candle of peace on White Gift Sunday,  last week we lit the candle of joy.
Two:Today is the Advent of love. As we light this candle, we remember all who are feeling lonely and distressed at this time of year.
One:We live in a world that fears the stranger and those who are different.
Two:We light this candle as our commitment to love that is expressed in inclusivity.
One:We are the community that welcomes unconditionally and generously.
Two:We light this candle for Jesus, the Lover of All.
(Light the fourth candle of love.)

One:Let us join together in singing “Hope is a Star” verse 4.

Candle lighting Hymn:  “Hope Is a Star” verse 4  7 VU

 

9:30 Youth & Chancel Choir: “Christmastime” cello: Else Sather

 

11:00 Chancel Choir: “Christmastime” cello: Else Sather

 

Youth Hymn: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”  vs. 1 & 3  43VU

 

Youth Story:  Star

How many of you have your Christmas tree up and decorated at home? Some people do that the day after Halloween, some people not until Christmas Eve. Most people decorate their tree somewhere in between.

What decoration do you have on top of your tree? A lot of people have angels, which makes sense, because it was an angel who first got to announce the amazing news that Jesus was born. Some people said star, and that makes sense too. On the night Jesus was born, a bright star shone in the sky, brighter than any star anyone had ever seen before. That star showed people how to find Jesus. The shepherds and the wise men followed the star and it led them to the stable, where the baby Jesus was lying in the manger.

God wants us to be just like that star. We can let his light shine brightly through us, and lead other people to Jesus.

That star was pretty amazing. And we want to show you something pretty amazing that reminds us how the star is connected to the cross. The cross is the reason Jesus was born in that stable. He came here to live with us and to die on the cross to save us. Check this out:

Video

Val and Alison demonstrate this experiment for the children: https://youtu.be/MIXeMZwn75I

That really is amazing!

Let us pray:
Loving God, thank you for showing us the way to Jesus. Help us follow the star, and to let your light shine through us so others can find Jesus too. Amen.

Youth Blessing: “Go My Children With My Blessing” 946LUYH

 

Dedication of Christmas Memorials

Thank you to all those who donated a Christmas Memorial in the form of a poinsettia purchase or a donation to the Benevolent Fund, Music Fund and Landscaping Fund. We think of those remembered by these gifts.

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 1: 18-25

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.
When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit.
Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son, and he named him Jesus.

Scripture Response: “Wait for the Lord” 22VU

 

Solo: “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow”   G. Gulland

 

Morning Message: “The Message of Nativity Scenes”  Rev. Jim Gill

In some form, in some place, at some time, you have probably been involved personally with a nativity scene. Writer Brett Leveridge tells us that, “Tradition has it that Saint Francis of Assisi created the first crèche (or nativity scene) in 1223 when he mounted a living nativity scene consisting of a manger, an ox, and a donkey as part of a Christmas Eve mass he organized while visiting the mountain town of Grecio. After that first nativity scene, the practice became popular and spread far and wide. Within a century, virtually every church in Italy had taken up the practice. Over time, statues, rather than living people and animals, were used, which eventually led to the in-home nativity scenes that are so much a part of Christmas today.”

Our 2022 Advent- Christmas series of sermons is entitled, “The Message of Nativity Scenes.” Each service either Gill or I will consider a different nativity scene which will be shown up on the screen. Today’s nativity scene, which is pictured on the screen, is totally made of wood. Not just the wooden stable but the major characters of the nativity story are also wood. We saw those characters portrayed live here in the White Gift Service two weeks ago at Walton, but this morning they are wooden.

The characters today are unlike the ones at the base of our communion table, which are made from knitted wool. Those knitted ones invite us to recall the story of the sheep and the shepherds out in the field being told of the birth of Jesus. We are the sheep and the birth of Jesus the Good Shepherd we see portrayed in Walton’s stained glass windows over there.

Today the wood in the screen of the nativity photo recalls the story of Joseph. Throughout scripture there are more than 135 direct references to wood. Perhaps the building of the Ark in the Hebrew texts is the most famous wood story of all in the Old Testament. Wood plays a role in the story of the birth of Jesus told in the New Testament, for Joseph was a carpenter and Jesus himself became a carpenter.

The story of Joseph today in our reading is about a carpenter who first tried to do the right thing by keeping Mary’s pregnancy quiet. Then when the angel came to him, Joseph took it a step further by obeying the divine messenger and taking Mary as his wife. Even more he named the baby Jesus, as the angel instructed him to do.

This Biblical woodworker not only listened, but he acted. God had a message for Joseph and Joseph followed through. That message is also for us. When we believe that we see God working in our lives or telling us to act, how do we respond? Maybe his message comes through prayer or scripture or holy music or another believer. Do we just keep working away on whatever we are doing or do we stop and listen, and then act? Ponder that one if you will.

Joseph could have said after hearing the angel, “I am still going to divorce Mary.” Joseph could have named the boy Joe after himself. He did neither. Joseph followed up and followed through. What a basic lesson for each of us to apply every day of our lives.

Many of you have been doing Covid renos. Last year especially wood was hard to find. Then there was the sticker shock of the price of wood. Let me ask how many of you have had this experience: You hire a contractor to build something for you. You are all excited. Then deadlines start to be missed. Contractors do not show up when promised. The project sometimes never actually gets done. You are ghosted by the contractor or carpenter. When you find a carpenter or builder whose word is their bond, who follows up and follows through, you have a real treasure. You will go back to them again and again for future work. Joseph followed up and followed through. Well done good and faithful servant Joe.

This wooden nativity set on screen also recalls to mind the meaning of the name Joseph was told to call the child. Jesus means, “He will save his people.” Jesus will do what we cannot do for ourselves. The most famous reference to wood in the Bible is not the Ark or even the nativity stable, but the cross. It was there Jesus saved his people. That means you and I are looked after by Jesus. Think about it: Jesus the carpenter went from building earthly homes made of wood to building us a heavenly home for eternity. That is the real gift of Christmas. The stable points to the cross.

In his poem “Jesus Was a Carpenter” Garrett Westcott writes:

“Before He was a Preacher
Before He was a Saviour
Before He died upon the cross
Jesus was a carpenter
Jesus was a worker
Jesus was just like one of us”

At the same time Jesus was a carpenter, he was also the Son of God. That is why a wooden cross hangs on the wall over the last row of the Walton choir loft. That is why over the years we would remove the branches from our Chrismon tree in the new year, cut the trunk cut in 1/3 and 2/3 pieces, and form them into a cross to be used on Good Friday in worship. This wooden nativity scene on the screen is more than excellent woodwork. It tells why Jesus’ birth is celebrated around the world. A baby fully human and fully divine.

Arden Gopela explains what God did at Christmas when she writes in her poem, “ He is a Carpenter.”

“Carpenters make
Carpenters create
They take the common and make it something to consider
Equipped with right materials they bind things altogether
The reason-being, for us to know He’s a builder
Don’t you know that we’re under construction?
Whenever our hearts broken and the world is all we know
When we pray and call, Jesus is at work
To fix us and forgive; improving mind and soul”
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Hymn:  “Once in Royal David’s City”  vs. 1 & 2  62VU

 

Pastoral Prayer

One: When it is hard to see the way ahead,
All: you are the Spirit that brings light, Loving God. (Time of silent reflection) 

One: When life lacks zest or purpose, and we long for the person who is lost,
All: you are the Spirit that brings courage, Loving God. (Time of silent reflection) 

One: When we know of loved ones or family members who are hurting,
All: you are the Spirit that enables us to listen and console, Loving God. (Time of silent reflection)

One: When we look back to good times that are over and gone,
All: you are the Spirit that revives significant memories and enables us to share them, Loving God. (Time of silent reflection) 

One: As we remember those in our faith community who have suffered loss,
All: you are the Spirit that calls us to ask the simple question, “How can we help them?” (Time of silent reflection)

One: as we think of those refugees without hope worldwide, people at risk in their Ukrainian homes or other crying need,
All: you, Loving God, are the Spirit of compassion that compels us to speak and act to bring change.

One: And Loving God, when your Spirit seems gone from us,
All: you give us the blessing of Jesus crucified and risen, the pledge of your presence in time and beyond time.  Amen.
 © 2022 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

I’m sure every week you have helped someone in some way.  But on  the week of White Gift Sunday,  your generosity made it possible for us to love our neighbours who are struggling. We packed and delivered many White Gifts to those in our community through Wesley Mission Christmas Store and Kerr Street Ministries. Our Outreach Committee which  spearheaded the project said it felt wonderful to do something active to help others. We dedicate these offerings today to helping others, those here in our community and those around the world.

♥  by secure online payment from your debit or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds can be included in one donation by using the “Add Donation” button
♥ by cheque through the mail slot at the Church office entrance or by Canada Post
♥ by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Hymn:  “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” (What Child is This?)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise God, all creatures here below,
Praise God above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard
And angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
the babe, the son of Mary.

Offering Prayer

All: Love-full God, we offer not only financial gifts, but our commitment to serve in your name. We long to use our skills and abilities in ways that glorify you. We seek to share words that tell the Good News. We dedicate to you the fullness of who we are, as we present our offering. Praise be to you, Ever-Gracious God. Amen.
Laura J. Turnbull, The Gathering A/C/E

Hymn:  “Angels We Have Heard on High”  verses 1, 2  38VU

 

Benediction

Today is the celebration of love. May you go out into your homes, your places of work, and the community filled with the transforming love of God.
This is the week of awe.  May our days have sufficient moments when you are aware of awe all around.  Take time to bathe in the mystery of awe.  Be calm and transfixed by the beauty that is all around.
This is a week of extreme blessings.  May the blessing of God the great lover encourage you.  May the blessing of  the One born in a stable long ago fill you with delight.  May the blessing of the Holy Spirit be your comfort and strength, this day and forever. Amen.
Author unknown

Closing Hymn: “Walk in the Light”

 

Announcements

Scripture Readers: Warren Caldwell, Rachel Hawes
Soloist:  Grant Gulland
Cello: Else Sather


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, December 14th