God Bless Us Everyone (Isaiah 63:7-9 and Matthew 2:1-12

God Bless Us Everyone as we start a new year, a new beginning.
We’ve made our resolutions, and maybe we’ve already broken them
even though it is only Day 1.
Some of us have made the same resolutions we made last year.
Help us to feel your presence in our life as we move into the new year.
Be with us as we seek to show and incorporate your love and
your teachings in new ways,
to ourselves and to those we meet every day.

God Bless Us Everyone. Help us to mean that, to truly
bless and accept everyone,
not just the ones who believe the same way that we do.
Continue to fill us with the peace, hope, love and joy of the Advent season
as we move into the new year.
Remind us that we do not need to make drastic resolutions for the new year.
Help us to see that one small degree of change can make a difference
in not only our lives, but to the lives of those around us.
What would happen if we did one small deed of love every day?
What would happen if we turned our cheek and
did not respond to anger with anger?
What would happen if we tried to view a situation
from someone else’s viewpoint
without judgment?
What would happen if we looked at others with love first?

God Bless Us Everyone.
Open our hearts to the excitement that Scrooge felt when he realized he had a second chance in life.
Use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Help us to be a blessing to someone else.
As your community, we are like a large vat of hot water,
water that is 211 degrees.
We don’t have to make major changes in our lives.
By adding one extra degree of effort to our following you and your teachings,
our community will begin to boil when we move to 212 degrees.
Boiling water creates steam and steam can power the largest machines
and create electricity for entire cities.
Help us to focus on making a 1 degree change rather than fixing all of our bad habits at one time.

God Bless Us Each and Everyone.
As your children, we support each other.
Be with those among us who need your extra grace and support.
We name ___
As the body of Christ, we are stronger together and nourish each other.
Our faith is strengthened by our experiences with one another.
Help us to be that 1 degree of change in this world.
Help us to make this world your world.

As we share in Scrooge’s joy in his second chance,
as we seek to start a new year with new promises,
we use the words your Son taught us so many years ago, “Our Father…”

— influenced by theme 212 The Extra Degree – motivational book by Mac Anderson and Sam Parker
http://www.simpletruths.com/inspirational-books/212-the-extra-degree.html
At 211 degrees, water is just hot. At 212 degrees, it boils and can create steam which can move a locomotive. One degree of effort makes a huge difference!

Light of the World (Matthew 2:1-12)

We celebrate the birth of your son,
who has come to be one with us,
to experience life as we know it.
Many others came to celebrate as well.
The Magi, ones who did not believe in you,
came to celebrate and to give their praise.

If the Magi, who did not believe,
can celebrate you and give you
their earthly treasures,
how can we not give you ourselves?
We are the believers, Lord.
We have heard your teachings and
we follow your ways.

A star lit the way for the Magi to follow.
Your teachings have told us we are to be the light of this world,
we should be the stars who light the way for those around us today.
Just as we know that the sun will rise tomorrow,
we know that you are with us always,
we know that you have given us the gifts and talents we need to fulfill your plan,
we know that together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are strong,
we know that our faith does not remove the struggles in our lives,
but gives us the ability to persevere and to overcome those challenges.
There are those among us today who need your grace and healing strength.
Be with them and help them to feel your presence.

We are to be the light of this world.
At the end of our lives, when we come face to face with you, Lord,
will we be asked how we loved one another?
Help us to answer that we shared ourselves freely and openly with each other.
Open our hearts today and give us the opportunity to share our love, our treasures and our talents with others.

Christ came to us in love.
Remind us to share that love with others.

In love, your son taught us to pray. And, in the spirit of love, we raise our voices together, using the words he taught us,
“Our Father…”

Reach Out to Us (Matthew 2:1-12)

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
Through our preparation for the Christmas season,
we have seen you find ways
to touch people of faith,
to touch a humble teenager in the middle of nowhere,
to touch a roaming band of shepherds,
and, now three Magi who bring gifts from afar.
The Magi were not Jewish and were from a different culture,
and yet they helped bring the news of the gift of your son.

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
You reach out to us in our daily lives,
using the events of our lives to share yourself with us.
When we are fearful, you are with us to give us strength.
When we celebrate our accomplishments, you share in our joy.
When we hear devastating news, you are with us to comfort us and
to bring us hope.
When we see unfairness and injustice in our world,
you give us the strength to fight for peace and justice.
You are with us always.
Open our hearts so that we feel your presence and desire to follow you.

God of all Grace,
as our Creator, you gave us free will.
That free will allows us to make bad choices,
choices based in fear and selfishness.
Open our eyes so we can see our choices more clearly;
help us to make better choices, choices that follow your plan.
Make us more like the Magi, and less like Herod.
Help us to share our gifts freely and to listen to your teachings.
Reach out to us in ways we may not expect.
Touch us in ways that deepen our faith.
Speak to us in our dreams and in the silence of the night.
Question our choices when we fail to live up to your desired path.

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
We know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with __, members of our faith community,
who need your extra grace and healing touch.
Reach out to them, surround them with your healing light and
embrace them in your love.
Strengthen them as they face their challenges.
And, strengthen us, as your community.
We feel your presence among us.
And, as you reach out to us, we also reach out to you,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”