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  • John T. Redman, CRE

December 26 Worship

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

Hello Union Church Presbyterians,

Worship this Sunday, December 26 will be in-person and streamed on YouTube to view at home. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections.

HOW TO VIEW ON YOUTUBE: YouTube broadcast will begin at 10:25 am.

The bulletin is attached and posted on the church website,


Union Church, Newburgh NY

December 26, 2021 10:30 am


USHERS today are Alana Gervais and Nancy Thomas

If you would like to usher, contact Dan Olson.

FELLOWSHIP TIME HOSTS needed. Hosting can be simple and host with a friend! Signup chart in the Fellowship Hall.

ADVENT donation envelopes available in the back of the sanctuary. Proceeds will support the Deacons.

OFFICE CLOSED Monday, Dec 27 and Friday, Dec 31.

SUNDAY SCHOOL resumes Sunday, Jan 9.

JOSHUA TREE: Thank you all for your donation for the Joshua Tree, support of the Christmas Musicale, and our Live Nativity Scene. Special thank you to the Town of Newburgh for sending a police car and officer to keep us all safe while parking and visiting the Nativity.

FOOD PANTRY: NEXT OPEN Monday, Jan 3 and Wednesday, Jan 5 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.

CLOTHES CLOSET needs winter clothes for adults and children.


**Kindly stand if you are able

PRELUDE “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”) Arr. by Gordon Young

CALL TO WORSHIP (adapted from Psalm 148)

Leader: Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! PEOPLE: Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! Leader: Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! PEOPLE: Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Leader: Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. PEOPLE: He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. Leader: He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.

ALL: Praise the LORD!



**OPENING HYMN “Away in a Manger” RED #149


We receive God’s gift of a savior, born in a lowly manger and attended by humble shepherds. In that same spirit of humility let us confess our sins together.


Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts in compassion and receive these petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world. This we pray in Jesus name, Amen. (a moment for silent personal confession)


We have received the gift of Christmas, signifying God’s infinite love and ultimate forgiveness for each of us throughout history. In the mercy of Christ, we are forgiven. Amen.

**GLORIA PATRI Avery & Marsh, inside back cover of the Red hymnal


**APOSTLES CREED (Adapted by John Redman)

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Messiah, who was born of a young peasant woman, trained as a carpenter and baptized by His cousin John. He taught many, He healed many, and He angered many. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He defeated death and He offers us grace and love in the name of God the Father Almighty; from that time through all time to come.

I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit; the universal Church of Christ; the Communion of sharing our gifts with others; the forgiveness of our sins; the Grace of God’s love, and that each soul may have life everlasting. Amen.

**HYMN OF PRAISE “Joy to the World” RED # 146


Gracious God, as we turn to your Word for us, may the Spirit of God rest upon us. Help us to be steadfast in our hearing, in our speaking, in our believing, and in our living. Amen.


OLD TESTAMENT 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 Daniel Olson

NEW TESTAMENT Colossians 3:12-17

GOSPEL Luke 2: 41-52

SERMON My Father’s House John Redman, CRE


Gracious God, keep in our hearts all those whose names you already know and who ask for healing in their own quiet ways, and let us join to pray as Jesus taught us, saying:

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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


Let us all consider what we have been blessed with and how we can best share it with those in greater need, even as we gift our church for its greater work to the Glory of God and the undying love of Jesus.

OFFERTORY “Away in a Manger” setting by Karl Osterland

**DOXOLOGY Avery & Marsh, inside back cover of the Red hymnal


Gracious God, accept our gifts in tribute, they be put to good and purposeful use in assisting those in greater need even as we seek to serve you and our community and the greater world. This we gratefully pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

**HYMN OF PARTING “Angels We Have Heard on High” RED # 152


May the peace and love of our God which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and minds, guided by the grace of our savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

POSTLUDE “Carol Rhapsody” setting by Richard Purvis


SERMON TEXT: My Father’s House

So here are Joseph and Mary traveling back to Galilee after the Passover Festival in Jerusalem. And they suddenly start asking “Where is Jesus?”

Now how does this work? Well, you see they were traveling as a group, usually with the men together, the women and children as their own group that would travel a bit slower and only catch up to the men’s group when they stopped for the night. There was safety in numbers in traveling in these grouped caravans, and it’s entirely possible that Mary thought Jesus would be traveling with the men and Joseph may have thought that Jesus was with Mary and the other children. So, this takes up one day.

And the next day, after they have hunted frantically for Jesus all through the camp, they decide to retrace their steps to Jerusalem. What must have been going through their heads as they walked back. Mary was most certainly praying ‘Dear God, keep him safe,’ while Joseph may have had some thoughts to the tune of ‘Wait ‘til I get my hands on that kid.’ So after another day’s journey back to the City, they find him the following day, in the Temple, listening to and speaking with the Priests and teachers, who are all amazed at his intelligent answers. Of course, Mary is asking “why have you done this to us, we’ve been terribly worries about you.” And when Jesus answers “don’t you know I had to be in my father’s house?” they have no idea of what he’s talking about. But Jesus obediently goes back with them to Nazareth and he grows strong in character and wisdom.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to know more about those annual Passover pilgrimages to Jerusalem after this one, especially since the next year when Jesus is thirteen, he will have his bar mitzvah, his celebration into Jewish manhood. Perhaps Luke leaves out those other references to Jewish life, but seizing on this one for two reasons: One, as a twelve-year-old Jesus is still a child, and two it’s on the third day that Jesus is found in the Temple. This is the very Temple where he will be accused and tried, possibly by some of the same men who are with him on that day that Mary and Joseph find him.

Do we not know any more about Jesus in the next 18 years, until he’s about 30? Why do you suppose that might be. The next year, does he become a rebellious teenager, beginning to think that this religion stuff doesn’t mean much, so that’s why we don’t hear about it in Luke, but we hear about it from our own teenagers, don’t we?

Mark Twain said, “When I was 14, my father was just about the most ignorant man in the world. But by the time I was 21, I was amazed at how much the old man had been able to learn in seven years.”

Perhaps Luke’s version of this story is simply the best account of a childhood Jesus, since in the late first century, there were dozens of apocryphal stories of a young Jesus and his abilities, even one where he strikes another child dead, only to bring him back to life. Shocking yes, but true.

But it’s the parallels of this account that make it interesting to us. Note the Old Testament reading for today about Samuel, whose parents, Elkanah and Hanna, basically have him living with old Eli in a Temple-like setting, learning to serve. And the song of Hannah, Samuel’s mother, in First Samuel 2 just before today’s passage is a parallel to the Magnificat of Mary, and it also reflects the joy of Hannah, who thought she was barren, just as Mary’s cousin Elizabeth does as we heard last week.

Coincidence? I think not. And there is this idea of three days until they find Jesus in the Temple. A simple mistake of timing, or a pointing to the real message of Jesus in the Temple, not only as a precocious 12 year-old, but also as a learned teacher, a rabbi, who wows the crowds and baffles the priests and Pharisees before they finally say “Enough!” And they hand down their judgement.

But remember that third day, Luke says. After the joy of Christmas Day and celebrating the birth of Jesus just yesterday, are we already on the path to crucifixion? Friends, we were on the path to crucifixion on the day Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God. This wayside pulpit with a youthful Jesus in the Temple with the teachers will help reach out to early Christians, especially the Gentiles who are mainly Luke’s audience, that Jesus understood his life and his mission on earth. And we also note that Jesus is only twelve, a child, because by thirteen he will become a man in the Jewish tradition, but it also carries references to Isiah Chapter 11, where the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the leopard with the, calf and a little child shall lead them.

Can you imagine the conversations, or maybe the lack of them, on this journey back to Nazareth, where at least they are going mostly downhill from the Judean heights, and to avoid the Samaritans, they must cross the Jordan outside Jericho then journey up the Jordan Valley until they reach the Decapolis the ten united cities of Greco-Roman commerce where they will cross the Jordan back into Galilee and on to Nazareth. An interesting footnote to this is that Nazareth as a village did not exist on any Roman maps until late in the first century, when Luke is writing this Gospel.

But just because it wasn’t on any Roman map doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, does it? Maybe it was so insignificant until the story of Jesus that it just didn’t merit a mention.

Or is this less an account of the childhood of Jesus than the childhood of all of us? Who of us hasn’t been confronted by a parent’s saying “We were so worried about you, frantic to find you, why do you do this to us?” And how does Jesus respond? It sounds just a bit cocky, doesn’t it? “Why would you be looking for me? Don’t you know I would be in my Father’s house, going about my Father’s business?”

Not quite the response one of us would give as we straggled home at 5 a.m. to see a parent tapping a foot and staring intently as we open the door.

Luke uses this story to tell his Gentile audience just how special Jesus is and will be to them as they discover his message of love and grace. And then Jesus goes home with them to Nazareth and is obedient as he grows in wisdom and in years, as his mother treasures these things in her heart and Jesus not only increases in years but in divine and human favor.

But Mary doesn’t understand what Jesus says he is in his father’s house. Or maybe she does understand but is not wanting to think about the first time she was in the Temple with Jesus on his eighth day, the day of circumcision. That’s something we will hear more about next week, when old Simeon tells her how special Jesus is, but how sadness will pierce her heart like a sword.

In these days after Christmas, we all want to put off thoughts of sadness, but we know they are coming: that emotional letdown as the gift wrappings are bagged up in the trash, the slight shudder of the bills arriving in the mail, the brash, almost desperate cries of retailers, begging you to spend even more on their spectacular savings sales, the bleak picture of the long dark nights of winter, and then before you know it, it’s Ash Wednesday and Lent is here.

Perhaps Mary thinks a lot about what she has encountered in the Temple as they return to Nazareth and she is grateful for her son as she remembers what she has been told about him by angels and prophets, even as she wants to protect him as any mother would do, hanging onto the beautiful child that she has borne.

And in that sense we are all Mary and Joseph, journeying and struggling to understand, and just as we are all Jesus, coming to grips with mission and faith. Advent has ended, the savior has been born, but our journey with him is just beginning. Mary and Joseph discover the boy Jesus after three days of panicked searching, but their search doesn’t end there, any more than ours does. That search for the hope to understand, the peace of discovery in faith, the joy of knowing the Holy Spirit that walks with us and the unending love of God all around us will be with us every step of the way, on this day, and every day. Amen


John Redman, CRE

Mobile: (914) 474-0722

Union Church

44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550

Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955

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