Prepare a Way
Opening Hymn: Wait for the Lord
Church in darkness – candles – procession
The theme for this evening’s service is “there is a way.” There are so many voices of despair in the world around us, telling us it is no good. Perhaps even that voice speaks within us; “How can I prepare a way, when there is no way forward, nothing will change.”
The message of Advent and Christmas is a message of light and hope. We are told “A voice cries in the wilderness… Prepare a Way.” There is a way forward. “A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it… to all who did believe in him he gave power to become children of God.”
So the readings of Advent tell us to “throw away the cloak of despondency, take off your dress of sorrow and distress… Rejoice, exult with all your heart. The Lord is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love.”
This evening we invite you to make that journey from darkness to light, to ask the despondency within you to move aside so that your hearts can be open to the hope that Christ always brings when he comes – and he is coming. Someone once said….
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present!
So as we light the Advent Candle and let its light shine on us, we invite Christ, in song, to come to each of us and to our world.
Hymn: Light the Advent Candle (Choir)
A voice cries in the wilderness,
Prepare a way for the Lord,
Make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
Every mountain and hill be laid low,
Winding ways will be straightened
And rough roads made smooth.
And every single person in all of humanity will see the salvation of God.
Hymn: Come thou long expected Jesus 
Reflection: You say, God says 
You say: “I cant manage.”
God says: I will supply all your needs. (Phil 4:19)
You say: “I cant do it.”
God says: You can do all things in me. (Phil 4:13)
You say: “Its impossible.”
God says: All things are possible with me. (Luke 18:27)
You say: “I cant forgive myself.”
God says: I forgive you. (I John 1:9)
You say: “I feel worthless.”
God says: You are my work of art. (Eph. 2:10)
You say: “I cant figure things out.”
God says: I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say: “Im too tired.”
God says: I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28-20)
You say: “I cant go on.”
God says: My grace is sufficient for you. (II Cor.12: 9)
You say: “Im afraid.”
God says: I did not give you a spirit of fear. (II Tim. 1:7)
You say: “Im always worried and frustrated.”
God says: Cast all your anxieties on me. (I Peter 5:7)
You say: “I feel all alone.”
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)
You say: “Nobody really loves me.”
God says: I love you. (John 3:16; John 13:34)
Hymn: I Love you Lord (Music Group)
Reading: Isaiah 9
The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase,
as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are enjoying the spoils.
For there is a child born for us, a son given to us
and dominion is laid on his shoulders;
and this is the name they give him:
Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God,
Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.
Hymn: The Angel Gabriel from heaven came (Choir)
Reflection: The Power of One
Mary – her yes, our yes
While reading this slowly a candle is brought forward in procession for each thing and placed in front of the altar
One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make the difference,
You see, it’s up to you!
Hymn: Light of the World (Music Group)
Reading: Baruch 5
As voice-over, with background music and mime
Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress,
Put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever,
Wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you,
Put the crown of the glory of the Eternal on your head,
Since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven.
Look Jerusalem, turn your eyes to the east,
See your children returning from west and east,
At the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them…
Hymn: The lovely rose is sprung (Choir)
Reading: Zephaniah 3 
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart.
The Lord is in your midst,
You have no more evil to fear.
Do not let your hands go limp,
The Lord God is in your midst.
He will exult with joy over you,
He will renew you by his love;
He will dance with shouts of joy for you
As on a day of festival
Hymn: I Will Celebrate (Music Group)
Dancing up aisle, throwing rose petals
Reflection leading to intercessions:
An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun. Could it be, asked one of the students, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether its a sheep or a dog” No, answered the rabbi. Another asked, “is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether its a fig tree or a peach tree? “No”, answered the rabbi. Then when is it?” the pupils demanded. Its when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night. Tales of the Hasidim
Let us pray now that our eyes and the eyes of all people may be opened to a new day; we pray for hope, for peace, for reconciliation, that we may all live caring for our brothers and sisters.
Intercessions: Response – Lord Hear our Prayer (Lawton)
Reflection: How do we prepare a way?
Here is some advice: it’s called “A creed to live by.”
Dont undermine your worthby comparing yourself withothers
It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Dont set your goals by what other people feel important.
Only you know what is best for you.
Dont take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would to life,
For without them life is meaningless.
Dont let your life slip through your fingers,
by living in the past or in the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Dont give up when you still havesomething to give.
Nothing is really over ……
until the moment you stop trying.
Dont be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect,
it is a fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Dont be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Dont shut love out of your life by saying its impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive loveis to give love;
the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly,
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Dont dismissyour dreams.
To be withoutdreams is to be withouthope;
to be withouthope is to be without purpose.
Dont runthrough life so fast that you forget not only where youve been
 but also where you’regoing.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured
each step of the way.
Sing Our Father
It is this journey we make, as children of God, lead by a Father who loves us, a Son who walks with us, and a Spirit that inspires us to hope. So we stand now and sing together with confidence to our Father
Final Prayer 
God our Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son,
We thank you for this Holy Season, as we prepare to welcome Him once more among us in the form of a newborn infant.
We remember that each day He comes to us, if we are open to him,
Inviting us to walk with Him on a journey of hope, joy and love.
Help us Lord to truly make him welcome, that he may find a home in our hearts, our homes, in our communities, our world,
So that we may live truly as God’s holy people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Hymn: Shout to the Lord
Thank you’s DDPI and Litmus 
Blessing of Christmas Fare + Advent Blessing
Lord, we ask you to bless this Advent fare,
To bless all those who prepared it,
and all those who offer us hospitality and warmth in Christ’s name.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Bow your heads and pray for God’s Blessing
You believe that the Son of God once came to us;
You look for him to come again.
May his coming bring you the light of his holiness
And free you with his blessing.
May God make you steadfast in faith,
Joyful in hope, and untiring in love
All the days of your life.
You rejoice that our Redeemer came to live with us as man.
When he comes again in glory,
May he reward you with endless life.
May almighty God bless you,
The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Final Hymn: O Come O Come Emmanuel (Choir and Congregation)