We are running several of our ToGather services from previous years. ToGather was originally based on our Verse of the Day but these are provided because the fit the them of ADVENT, Jesus' first coming as Immanuel, God with us. We pray you find these a blessing to you as you seek to draw near our Lord, Savior, and King!

Thanks for joining us in ToGather as we open our hearts to God's restoring gift for us in Advent for some Christians and in the Nativity Fast for others! (Find out more about ToGather.church!)

Note: Some traditions and terminology are different for different Christians. For the ToGather.church team, Christmas is December 25 and the period leading up to Christmas is called Advent, so these traditions naturally influence what we do.

Opening with Praise in Word and Song:

Let's begin ToGather with Israel Houghton leading us in the song "Moving Forward," a reminder that God can make all things new, fresh, and joyful because he is faithful to his promises:

When the angel announced that the Christ-child had been born, he reassured the shepherds watching over their flocks with the truth we all need to hear during our troubling times:

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12).

Let's pray:

Our Father in heaven, we hold your name as holy and bow our hearts in reverence before your greatness and your grace. Thank you for hearing the prayers of your people and coming to be with us, as one of us, in Jesus. We believe that your gift to us in Jesus has changed everything. So during this season of special remembrance of Jesus' incarnation, when we remember your great love given us in Jesus, please accept our heartfelt worship in honor of your Son, by whose power and intercession we pray. Amen.

Focusing on the Scriptures:

Our message is based on the Verse of the Day for today. It comes at the end of a psalm that pleads for God to restore his people from their fractured past and their repeated unfaithfulness. It pleads for God to save them for a new future in his grace:

Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

(Psalm 80:19)

We share "The Night Song" (featuring Colin Buchanan) with CityAlight. This beautiful and simple hymn reminds us that God will answer our prayers to be present. He will guide us through our darkest moments and lead us back to joy as he restores us in his gift of Jesus:

Phil's message reminds us that the enduring legacy we want to leave at Christmas is our lasting trust in God to deliver us from darkness and to lead us into the grace of his goodness by being present with us in Jesus:

As we sing with Travis Green, we are reminded that we can "Taste & See" that our LORD is good. As Psalm 34:8 proclaims:

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Sharing The Supper:

We come to the Lord's Table to share Communion and pray:

Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

(Psalm 80:19)

God guides us through our darkest moments and restores us through the gift of Jesus.
Let's sing this in the prayer song, "Restore My Soul," led by Vertical Church Band:

Doug Peters shares our Communion reflection today and reminds us that not only is Jesus present with us in this holy meal, but God also claims us as his beloved children. Our Abba is waiting to meet us at the Table of our Lord Jesus:

Closing with Praise and Blessing:

Those of us at Heartlight.org and VerseoftheDay.com pray that you have a blessed and merry Christmas. But more than having a good holiday season, our prayer is that you will experience Jesus' coming and his presence with you. God loved us so much that he came to us in Jesus. This "Reckless Love" has redeemed us and brought us into the family of God, so let's proclaim it as we sing with Bethel Music & Cory Asbury:

We close with this blessing God gave thousands of years ago to place his presence and power on the Israelites:

The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

[We commit to live in the grace of this blessing, in Jesus' name. Amen.]
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Special thanks to The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for images related to the ministry of Jesus.