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CHRISTMAS EVE GREETINGS: (1979)
MERRY CHRISTMAS We bid you cvelcome this night and wish all of you a joyous, and a very Merry Christmas.
It is our hope that as you share in the singing of the carols and in the lighting of the candles •••• as you worship the Child of Bethle-hem in the haunting loveliness of this sanctuary •••
It is our hope that Mis spirit will fill your life with the Christmas lights of peace,
of hope, of love, of joy.
This is what the Christ Child brings to us. Those events that look place in Bethlehem long ago that 1-ve have come to celebrate provide us with the beginning of 11 The Greatest Story Ever Told". I love those words:
A joyous Christmas to each and every one of you.
FELLOWSHIP Christmas Eve ca.n be a lonely time for many people in a city like New York. This is why we have a time of informal
fellowship planned following the service.
You may be alone here in the city. Join lrJ"ith friends and share in the warmth and cheer of this night. Christmas refreshments will be served in the third floor, Fellowship Hall. All are invited. Turn to the left as you depart from the sanctuary •••• take the elevator or walk the three flights to Fellowship Hall.
CHRISTMAS OFFERING Christmas is a time of g~v~ng as well as a tir~ of receiving - a time of love and warmth. One thinks
of those lines of Christina Rosetti:
11What can I give Him - poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb. If I were a 1.-Jise Man, I 1-vould do my part -
But what I can I give Him: give Him my heart."
~ve thank you for the many Christmas gifts already received for the outreach of this Church. Our,needs are many. Your continuing support and generosity mean much to us. 1hank you.
The ushers will receive the Christmas offering; This they do in the spirit of Christ who said, 11It is more blessed to give than to receive".
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
And God said, 'Let there be light 1 , and there was light 1 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness."
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has a light shined."
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
"I am the light of the world; he who follws Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
"For it is God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
"You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
LET ua PRAY::Il.
"~ve thank You, 0 God, for the light that shines in the darknesse •• for the Christ who came in to our 1rmrlde •• who calls us to be instruments of His glory and His love.
Help us, as we try to catch something of that light in our lives. Let it shine through us to pierce the darkness of some dark place in our city, in our world, this Christmas.
Confirm within each of us, we pray, the high resolve of these moments. Open our hearts that You may come into our lives and make them new.
Be near to those who this night feel pain, heart-ache, sadness ••• those whose dreams have been shattered. Bless the cold and the hungry of this city.
For loved ones - no longer with us, but now with You in the great ~ingdom of light, and whom we remember as part of Christmas past ••• who saw the light
and followed it, we thank You, 0 God.
We pray that the fa~ily reunions of these days may be filled with much joy and love.
We ask these things in the name of Him who was born in a stable, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE EVALUATION: December 24, 1979
1. Attendance: weather was good, somewhat miled. Attendance, according to Dom Monge, was about 180. Comfortably filled dovmstairs.
2. Bulletin: we had about 250- 275 ••• photo-offset job. Looked good. Music to carols and anthems was typed up on a green sheet for both December 23rd and December 24. It makes the difference to have the words typed up in bulletin.
3. Choir: about 12 singers. Good sounds. Descants on three carols.
4. Candles. we had three boxes of carols ordered for service. Saved none. Will need three boxes next year. Also used the wrought-iron candle holders next to lectern and pulpit.
5. Lighting: good. Matthew Sherwin handled it nicely for us. PC handled up front.
6. Prayers were good. Changed some of them from last year. The introductim was brief, but good. Helped to get ideas from Riverside on new phrases and introductions, etc ••
7. Ushering: we had Dom Monge, Frank High, Russell Flagg, Gilson Gray and two or three otherse
8. Coffee hour. lovely. Third floor. Punch and cookies provided by Gloria and Nicque Monge.
!fl). Coffee hour has a better feeling i·n Community Room. Next year, on Tuesday evening, it will be in community room.
10. Lyndon cut PC out of the Call to t'lorshjp. Choir did an introit from balcony and sounded good. "Of The Father's Love Begotten".
11. Offering was $750.00 plus.
12. Quite a few visitors from neighborhood, as has been the case in other years.
13. Suggested by SMC that I drop "Of all the armies that ever marched, Tired of hearing it •••
14. Be sure to order: 3 candle sets in early December in 1980.
15. Flov;ers: red carnations on altar. Two pointsettias on steps leading up to altar. Looked good.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE EVALUATION: December 24, 1979
1. Attendance: weather was good; so~ewhat miled. Attendance, according to Dom Monge, was about 180. Comfortably filled downstairs.
2. ~ullet~: we had about 2$0 - 27$ ••• photo-offset job. Looked good. Music to carols and anthems was typed up on a green sheet for both December 23rd and December 24. It make's the difference to have the · words typed up in bullet~n.
). Choir: about 12 singers.· Good sounds •. Descants on three carols.
4. Candles. we had three boxes of carols ordered for service. Saved . none. Will need. three boxes next year. Also used the wrought-iron ·candle holders next to lectern and pulpit.
5. Lightingt good. Matthew Sherwin handled it .nicely f~r us. PC handled up front. ·
6. Prayers were good. Changed sone of them ;from last year. The introd11ction was brief, but good. Helped to ge.t ideas from Riverside on new phrases and introductims, etc ••
) •. Ushering: we had Dom Honge, Frank High, Russell Flagg, Gilson Gray and two or· three others o · ' · ·· ·
B. Coffee hour. lovely. Third floor. Punch and cookies provided by Gloria and Nicque Mongeo
9• Coffee hour has a better feeling in Community Room. Next year, on Tuesday evening, it will be in community room.
10. Iqndon cut PC out of the Call to Worship. Choir did an introit from balcony- and sounded good. 110f The Father's Love Begotten". ·
11. Offering was $750.00 .plus.
12. Quite·a few visitors from neighborhood, as has been the case in other . ' years.
13. Suggested by SMC ·that I drop "Of all the armies that ever marched, Tired of hearing it •••
14. Be sure 'to order: 3 candle sets in e~ly December in 1980.
15. Flowers: red carnations on altar. TWo pointsettias on.steps leading up to altar. Looked good,
PARK AVENUE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
106 East 86th Street
New York, N. Y. 10028
Rev. Philip A. C. Clarke
ORGANIST- CHOIR DIRECTOR
Mr. Lyndon Woodside
Mrs. James Nespole
Mrs. Stephen F. Cohen
DAY SCHOOL DIRECTOR
Mrs. Judith Keisman
Mr. Ahdo Alnahan
042119 Abingdon Ll1ho In U.S.A.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE December 24, 1979
ORDER OF - WORSHIP 8 P. M.
"Vom Himmel Hoch" Pachelbel CALL TO WORSHIP Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7 HYMN NO. 386 "0 Come, All Ye Faithful" INVOCATION (seated)
0 God our Father, who hast brought us again to this glad season when we commemorate the birth of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord: grant that His spirit may be born anew in our hearts and that we may joyfully welcome Him to reign over us. Open our ears that we may hear again the angelic chorus of old; open our lips that we too may sing with up-lifted hearts, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will toward men." Amen.
SILENT MEDITATION AND WORDS OF ASSURANCE THE LORD'S PRAYER
*** HYMN NO. 396 "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" (seated) SCRIPTURE Luke 2: 4 - 20 ANTHEMS
"In Dulci Jubilo" "All This Time"
Matthew 2: 1 - 12 ANTHEM "Ding Dong! Merrily on High"
. CHRISTYffiS GREETING CHRISTMAS OFFERING
ANTHEM "The Angels and the Shepherds" Trevor PRESENTATION OF THE OFFERING WITH THE DOXOLOGY HYMN NO. 388 "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" SCRIPTURE Genesis .1: 1 - 3; Isaiah 9: 2.
John 1: 4 - 5; 8: 12; Matthew 5: 14 - 16 PRAYER
HYMN NO. 381 "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (seated) (verses 1 and 4)
THE LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES The minister will light his candle from the can-dles on the altar, and will in turn light the candles of the ushers. The ushers will then light the candle of the worshipper in each pew next to the aisle. Each person is asked to light the candle of the person sitting next to him. It is suggested that the candles be extinguished at the end of the service as the worshipper departs from the sanctuary.
SOLO "0 Holy Night" Adam (Dean Shoff, Tenor)
HYMN NO. 393 "Silent Night, Holy Night" (seated) CHRISTMAS PRAYER HYMN NO. 374 "Angels We Have Heard on High" CHRISTMAS BENEDICTION (seated) ORGAN "In Dulci Jubilo"
*** Interval for Ushering
WELCOME AND MERRY CHRISTMAS
We welcome you to this Christmas Eve Service of Carols and Candles. To the members and friends of the Church and also to the visitors from our neighborhood who have joined us this special evening a very Merry Christmas. Peace. Hope. Love. Joy .
Christmas refreshments will be served in Fellowship Hall (third floor) following the service. We invite you to share in these moments of Christmas warmth made pos-sible for us by Mrs. Monge and Ms. Molt.
II THE OTHER WISEf1AN"
INTRODUCTION Back in the days when Augustus Caesar was the master of many kings and Herod reigned in Jerusalem, there lived in the land
of Persia a certain man whose name was Artaban.
One night a light shone through the curtained arches of Artaban's home, where the rilaster of the house was holding council with a group of his friends. There were nine of them in number, and they sat around a. small black altar. And upon this altar a candle burned brilliantly •••• its light helping to dispel the d~~k shadows of the night. The men differed widely in age, but all were alike in the richness of their robes, which showed they belonged to the ancient order of the Magi - or Wise Men, as we might call them. They all shared the reputation for being seekers of the truth.
ARTABAN SHARES H+S SECRET Artaban told his friends that he had brought them together in order to share a. great secret with
''For a long time" he said, "three other Jl1agi and I have been studying the writings of the Hebrew prophets who many years ago prophesied the coming of a Redeemer and King. vle believe that this long-expected Messiah is soon to be born. The sign of His coming will be a new star in the heavens, kindled from the union of three great stars".
"As soon as the star appears" said Artaban, "I will leave to meet my three companions who will wait ten days for me at Babylon. And then together we will set out in search of this new king. I am sure the sign will come, so I have sold all my possessions and bought three jewels - a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl - to carry as a tribute to the king".
And he reached inside his robe and brought forth his three great jewels.
Now his friends were astonished and even dismayed that Artaban should set out on a search that seemed to them so vain and so fruitless. But Artaban was deterrruhned. Looking directly at his friends, he said:
"The -vmrld vlithout a great hope would be like this altar without a living fire. The light of the world will surely come. Will you not accompany me on my quest?"
But his friends departed in wonder and amazement, excusing themselves one by one and saJring that such a quest was not reall;r for them. Artaban 1 s aged father alone lingered behind to offer encouragement to the young man, and after he had gone, Artaban was left in solitude. Slowly he gathered up the three great jewels -one as blue as a fragment of the night sky - the sapphire; one redeler than a ray of sunshine - the ruby; and one as pure as the peak of a snow mountain at twilight -the pearl. And he put them back into the pocket of his robe.
THE SIGN APPEARS: HE DEPARTS He then went over to the window and lifting the heavy curtain, he gazed out into the
darkness of the night. As the first signs of the dawn were beginning to appear -even as Artaban watched - three great stars seemed to come together in the heavens
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and were fused into one; then a new star sprang forth that grew in volume and in beauty. His heart trembling with excitement, he said to himself:
"It is the sign! The King is born. I must go find Him and worship Him".
Day after day Artaban's swiftest horse sped through the forest of the Orontes mountains. He knew that he would have to ride hard and fast if he were to meet his three companions in Babylon within the specified ten day period. He pressed on and on until he was within three hours ride of his destination when his horse suddenly slackened her pace. Within the shade of a pine grove the horse stopped, quivering before the dark form of a man lying across the road. Artaban dismounted and found that this man vias dying from the drea.ded marshland fever. A conflict stirred within his heart and mind. Should he stop or should he go on? Should he risk losing out in this quest for the Divine King in order to save this poor Hebrew peasant who was in need? If he delayed •••• his companions in Babylon would not wait; they would go on without him. But if he ventured on, this man by the side of the road would surely die •••
He stood for a moment wondering what to do, then quickly he turned to the fever stricken man. His decision had been made. Hour after hour he skillfully ministered to this man. And at last the sick man lifted his head. Feebly he asked, "Who are y~u that you should have saved my life?"
11 I am Artaban, one of the Magi. I am going to Jerusalem in search of the One who is born King of the Jews - the Prince of Peace, the Deliverer of all men."
"Go not to Jerusalem" said this Jewish peasant, "for our prophets long ago told us that the King is to be born in Bethlehem. May the Lord bring you in safety to that place."
ARTABAN CONTINUES When Artaban reached Babylon, wiseman had already departed.
him to sell the sapphire - one of the precious gifts this King - in order to buy a train of camels and he direction of Bethlehem •••• alone.
he discovered that the three And it was now necessary for
he had planned to present to then in turn set out in the
After many days of hard travel over the desert wastes, he finally reached the little tovm of Bethlehem - weary, exhausted, but full of hope ••• bearing his ruby and his pearl to present to this infant King. He stopped first at a low stone hut where he saw a mother singing her baby to rest, and he asked her where he could find the new-born Messiah. She said to him,
"His parents have fled with Him to Egypt, for King Herod, fearing this new King, has threatened to kill all of the babies in this town of Bethlehem".
Andceven as she spoke the noise of wild confusion and the clashing of swords came from without, and they heard the terrified cry: "Tl;le soldiers •••• the soldiers of HeDod •••• save our children1 11 The young mother was terrified. She clutched her ch.ild to her breast. Artaban went quickly and stood in the doorway of the house. His broad shoulders filled the doorway. The calmness of his face and the radiance of his eyes caused the soldiers to halt in their mad rush. Reaching in to his
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pocket, he pulled out the ruby and said to the soldier in charge, "Here, take this". And the soldier took it, and Artaban parted with the glistening ruby .in order to have the soldiers leave that house and to leave that child alive ..
THE SEARCH GOES ON Artaban was he~vy in heart. The second gift was now gone, and the King for whom he was looking had been taken to
But he continued with his search, looking through the land of Egypt for the Christ Child that he might give Him his one remaining gift. Though he did not find the Christ child to worship, he did find many people to help and the years passed swiftly as he fed the hungry, healed the sick, comforted the distressed, and gave friendship to the lonely.
An old man now, Artaban decided to make one last visit to Jerusalem in search of the great King of Kings. !'.AS he came into Jerusalem that day, he sensed that a deep gloom hung over the city, that many people seemed to be making their way toward the Damascus Gate. Artaban asked the reason for this and was told that Jesus of Nazareth, who men·JVJere calling "King of the Jews" was to be crucified outside the city wall within the hour. Artaban caught his breath. Crucified? The King? Was He to die? The King - for whom he had spent an entire lifetime searching.
THE CLIMAX At that moment a troop of soldiers was comlijg down the street, dragging a debtor's young daughter into slavery. "Have mercy
upon me 11 she cried out as she saw Artaban's kind face. Artaban trembled. The old conflict stirred within him, but only for a moment. Quickly he dret'll' forth the pearl - the last stone - the gift he had saved for the King.
"This is thy ransom, daughter" he called out, and the soldiers departed without he:v ••• leaving her bruised and beaten at his feet.
But even at that very moment the earth trembled beneath his feet, buildings crashed to the ground. The soldiers fled in terror. Artaban and the girl crouched beside a wall. The quest was over. He had not seen the King. He had failed in the one great goal of his life. The King was dead. Even at that moment, He had been crucified on a cross outside the city wall.
But through the twilight a still small voice spoke to the old man. Artaban answered,
"Not so my Lord. When saw I thee hungry and fed Thee? Or thirsty and gave Thee drink? When saw I thee a stranger and took thee in and came unto Thee? I have never seen thy face or ministered unto thee" •
Then the voice came again ••••• faint and far away, yet very clear:
"Verily I say unto thee, inasmuch as ye have done -fut unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it' un-to me".
Artaban was radiantly happy. and his treasures were accepted.
A perfect peace was his. His journey was over The other Wise Man had found the King of Kings.
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LET US PRAY
0 God, Our Father -
When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds have returned to their flocks, And the wise men have returned home by another way,
Then, the work of Christmas begins -
To find the lost, To help and to heal the broken-hearted, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart.
In the name and spirit of Christ, we pray. Amen
11 THE STORY OF THE OTHER lrJISE MAN"
INTRODUCTION One of the most convincing measures of the magnitude and meaning of Christmas is the impressive
amount of litereature - of prose and poetry - that it has inspired.
As I mentioned two weeks ago this morning when we reflected on the conversion of old Scrooge, Christmas has a unique way of awakening our sensibilities and firing up our imaginations.
Another writer who felt the power of Christmas in an exceptional way 1-ras Henry VanDyk. The result was his immortal classic, The Story of the Other 1rJise Man. Familiar to some of you, it's one of those stories that we need to hear at this time of year. It 1 s meaning spills over into our lives.
And I hope that your holiday season will be a bit richer and fuller for hearing it once again.
LET US PRAY
"Help us, Lord, to be master of ourselves that we may become the servants of others.
Take our lips and speak through them; our minds and thing through them; our hearts and set them on fire.
In the name and spirit of Christ, we pray. Amen"
Pause between sections of story ••••
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