Sermon: Living water, living people, living world
Texts: Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17
Speaker: Joel Miller

Chances are, if you had nativity sets in your home during Advent, they’re put away for the year.  Each figure carefully wrapped in newspaper, or not-so-carefully tossed in a box, placed back in the basement, or attic, or wherever might be your storage area of choice or necessity.  Our ceramic set managed to make it through another season without any further casualties to add to the broken right donkey ear and broken right angel wing from past years.  Fortunately, our wood set looks as good as the day we got it.

If you still have a nativity or ten sitting out, don’t let me rush you.  I would, actually, like to keep the nativity in mind for this one more Sunday. 

A lot of time passes between the birth of Jesus and the baptism of Jesus, about 30 years, but not a lot of text in our Bibles.  In Matthew the baptism occurs...

Scripture | John 1:1-5; Matthew 2:16-18
Sermon | “Does not wisdom (Sophia) cry out?”
Sermon by Carolyn May

Good morning and happy new year. Last week, after the anticipation of advent, we celebrated together the birth of Jesus. The holy one enfleshed. Though Advent is over, this is the final week of our Advent series. Rather than having one woman to speak about, I had the option of choosing to reflect with you on three different women: Anna, a fiercely faithful prophet who encounters Jesus in the temple when he was taken to be dedicated, the weeping mothers of the innocent children killed by Herod, and Sophia, wisdom personified and often understood as the feminine counterpart of Jesus. I’m not too good at decisions though so I didn’t choose one and instead will be touching a bit on all of these.

For ages there has been a pervasive belief that women are naturally more emotional than men. Obviously a universal claim without factual basis and a claim that has...


Scripture: Luke 2:1-20 Sermon: Loveday   By Sarah Zwickle  Following the sermon text are other letters that Sarah wrote to Mary during October, November, and December.


Yes! Welcome! It’s wonderful to see you this morning! Everyone, come on in to the Zwickle house in Michigan! One of the unexpected intimacies of a virtual meeting is that we can share Christmas morning together from our living rooms! Here is a brief glimpse of ours…. I’m really grateful to be here with all of you, to share a slice of this day.

So, what or who were you expecting today? If you haven’t been reading Gwen’s emails, you probably were not expecting me! And everything about the scripture today was unexpected. The breaking news given to shepherds, in a field, by a massive angel choir? The Messiah a baby? And in a manger? As shepherds bust into the inn to see and to shout in wonder and amazement while Mary attempts to breast feed for the first time, what is firing in the connections between...


Scripture:Luke 1:26-38

Meditation by Katie Graber

Throughout Advent, we’ve been hearing about women from Jesus’ family history who don’t have big famous stories in the bible. We’ve heard imaginative interpretations and questions about Tamar and Ruth and Rahab and Bathsheba - about who they were and what might have happened.

But now we get to Mary, mother of Jesus, who we know well. Or we think we do, we’ve certainly heard a lot about her. It’s Christmas eve - we know she made it to Bethlehem, and she’s about to have a baby. But even in stories like Jesus’ birth, we engage in interpretation whether we realize it or not. Our nativity scenes are amalgamations of time and place, with the Wise Men and animals and angels and shepherds all together at the same time. And there are additions that have become tradition, such as the number 3 for the wise men, the cattle who are lowing and the baby who never cries.

I have no problem with this! I firmly...

Bathsheba: Nuancing Power/Nuancing Humanity, Bethany E. McLean Davey


Today’s sermon engages sexual violence, so I begin by inviting you to care
compassionately and deeply for yourself. I invite you to honor your capacities to
be physically and emotionally present—or absent—and I invite you to do what you
need to care tenderly for yourself in the midst. Taking care may look different for
each of us, but you are invited to give yourself permission to access this care. You
—and your stories—matter.

I would like to share with you an exercise I learned through Dr. Mari Ramler of
Tennessee Tech University. Fluent in trauma work and healing, Dr. Ramler taught
us the regulating power of this practice. I invite you to observe it or try it,
whichever is most comfortable for you. *Demonstrate This is My Hand* I’m
grateful to Dr. Ramler for so graciously sharing this practice. I share it with you as
an invitation to gift yourself