3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Call to Worship

Surely God is our salvation. Isa. 12:2-6
We will trust in God and not be afraid.
Surely God is our strength and our might.
We will make known God’s deeds among the nations.
We gather in this season of Advent to wait, watch, and wonder.
We gather to share the joy we find in the Christ-child,
and the joy that God finds in us!

Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

God of Joy, Philippians 4:4-7
we rejoice in your holy name
and eagerly anticipate your incarnation among us.
So we will shout aloud and sing for joy
for you are in our midst! Amen.

Call to Confession

Although God is the source of our joy,
our sin often hinders our joy and the joy of others.
Let us confess our sins before God and one another.


Gracious God,
it was with joy that you brought us into being.
You created the world and called it good.
And yet we have done so much to quell that goodness:
we have fought with one another and failed to live in peace;
we have shut out the stranger and disparaged the immigrant;
we have ignored the needy and judged the poor;
we have fallen short of your command to be the Beloved Community.
Forgive us, Merciful God, and bring us back to the joy we find in you.
This we pray in your holy name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

The prophet Zephaniah reminds us of these truths: Zeph. 3:17
that God rejoices over us with gladness,
that God renews us in love,
and that God will exult over us with loud singing.
Friends, I announce to you, in the name of Jesus Christ:
Our sins are forgiven.
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy Spirit,
proclaim to us your good news
that we may hear it joyfully
and proclaim it boldly. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
God of Joy, draw near to us.

God of Humanity,
this past week was the observation of Human Rights Day,
a day set aside by the United Nations in 1948, 70 years ago this week,
to remind us of the places in the world where human rights are ignored.
Our denomination has a historic commitment to human rights.
Help us, Gracious God, to proclaim your gospel that tells us
“all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
God of Joy, draw near to us.

God of Compassion,
your scripture tells us today
that those of us with much have much to give in your name. Luke 3:11
Where those of us have too much,
help us have generous hearts to give to those who have too little.
In this season of expectation,
help us bear the good fruit that you call us to bear. Luke 3:9
God of Joy, draw near to us.

God of Hope,
we pray that you will make joy known in difficult places this season:
in places of warfare,
in places of pain,
in places of despair,
in places of sickness,
in places of hunger,
in places of hopelessness.
Help us share the joy we find in you!
God of Joy, draw near to us.

God of Harmony,
this year has seen so much division.
Help us, in this season of generosity and compassion,
to draw near to one another.
When fear reigns, we tend to circle our wagons and shut others out.
But when hope reigns, we let down our guard
and open ourselves up to the possibility of love and creation.
Help us draw near to one another.
God of Joy, draw near to us.

God of Healing,
we pray that you would lift up those among you that need joy,
those we lift up before you silently…
God of Joy, draw near to us.

Holy and Majestic God,
we lift these prayers to you
in the name of your Child, who taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…

Looking for more Advent resources? Check out these links:


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.