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St. John's Worship Service - Advent 4, December 18, 2022
Pastor Wende Bleam
Pastor Wende Bleam
Sunday, December 18, 2022
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Today Isaiah prophesies that a young woman will bear a son and name him Emmanuel. The gospel is Matthew’s account of the annunciation and birth of the one named Emmanuel, God-with-us. During these final days of Advent we pray, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” a beloved hymn based on the O Antiphons, ancient prayers appointed for the seven days preceding Christmas. On this final Sunday of Advent we prepare to celebrate the birth of the one born to save us from the power of sin and death.


PRELUDE           Promise Fulfilled.   (Schauble)


Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be God’s name forever. Amen.

Beloved, now is the time to wake from sleep. Let us confront our sins,
and confess them to the one who is merciful and just.

God of new beginnings, we confess that we have not welcomed your holy reign. We have strayed from your paths. We prepare for war instead of peace. We dishonor one another and your creation. Purify us with your refining fire and set us again on your way of love, that we may bear fruit worthy of repentance, and welcome your coming among us. Amen.

People of God, a new thing is growing in our midst, a tender branch, a living sign. By water and the Spirit you are joined to this wonder. You have put on  Christ, and your sins have been washed away. Rejoice in the way of the Lord. Amen.
* indicates please stand as you are able

Let us pray. 
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that hinders our faith, that eagerly we may receive your promises, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

GATHERING SONG   Savior of the Nations, Come (ELW 263)

FIRST READING: Isaiah 7:10-16
10The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. 13Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”



SECOND READING: Romans 1:1-7
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: 
 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.

18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

The gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.

MEDITATION                            Pastor Wende Bleam

*HYMN OF THE DAY  The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came (ELW 265)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
   who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
   born of the virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Pilate,
   was crucified, died, and was buried;
   he descended to the dead.
   On the third day he rose again;
   he ascended into heaven,
   he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
   and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
   the holy catholic church,
   the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and the life everlasting. Amen.


Please place your offering in the plate near the Sanctuary door any time during or following worship. Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.


Eternal God,
you make the desert bloom and send springs of water to thirsty ground.
Receive these simple gifts of bread, wine, and money, and make us messengers of your mercy and love for all in need of your healing and justice. We ask this through Christ our Savior.

As we prepare for the fullness of Christ’s presence, let us pray for a world that yearns for new hope.

God our shepherd, let your Spirit move with power throughout the church. Give discernment and wisdom to our bishops, pastors, deacons, and lay leaders. Take away our fear, so that we serve and love, confident that you are guiding us. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our source, awaken us to the beauty of the earth and the marvelous variety of life. Unite humankind in repairing and caring for your creation. Protect creatures and habitats in peril due to rising seas and warming temperatures. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our vision, raise up leaders in every nation who dream of freedom and justice for all people. We pray for the work of international organizations that promote peace and human rights, especially Amnesty International. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our helper, come to the aid of all who cry out to you. Shelter migrants, refugees, and those fleeing war and famine. Bring relief to individuals and families experiencing hunger, homelessness, or impoverishment. Comfort any who are isolated or lonely. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Emmanuel, you are with us in our life together. We give you thanks for gathering us in worship and fellowship, and we remember those who cannot be present. Watch over those who travel. Heal the sick and speed their recovery. We pray especially for the family and friends of Lillian, for the friends and family of Christine Lynn, family of Dajauna, Kathy and Rich McLaughlin, Carol, Connor, Ana, Helen, Arlene, Jose, Hoon, Connie, Pat, Hazel, Deb, Joe, Ruth, Lisa, Bill, Rick, Dick, Alisia, Jacklyn, Lillian, Alexis, Jim and those we now raise before you in our hearts.  We pray for those affected by the Covid virus in mind, body or spirit.  Grant them healing and wholeness.  God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our hope, you bring life out of death, and you promise to be our God forever. Shine upon the faithful who now rest in the fulfillment of your promise and bring us also into your blessed reign of peace. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of our longing, you know our deepest needs. By your Spirit, gather our prayers and join them with the prayers of all your children. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.  We lift the to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  With all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your holy name.


In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.


Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God, who has come to save you.


CONGREGATIONAL SONG   The King Shall Come (ELW 260)

Faithful God,
in this meal you have remembered your mercy,
bringing heaven to earth in the body and blood of Christ.
As we wait for the day when all your promises will be fulfilled,
sustain us and strengthen us by this holy mystery.
Guide us toward your promised future,
coming to birth in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

God the eternal Word,
who dwells with us in Jesus,
and who holds us in the grace of the Holy Spirit,
 bless you now and forever.

* SENDING SONG O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (ELW 257)

DISMISSAL - Go in peace. Christ is near. Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE:       Can You Feel the Seasons Turning    (Farlee)
We hope that this service was meaningful for you and brought God’s peace and comfort into your homes.  Continue to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently and to love others as yourself.  Pray, trust, believe and wait. See you next week.

You are welcome to watch the live service at 10:15 am at
Or you can watch live streaming on the St. John's website:
If you are having trouble accessing, please let us know.

The ETERNAL CANDLE is sponsored for the month of December by John Bindi in memory of loved ones.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!.  Following worship today, service, we need helping hands to set up the aisle candles for Christmas Eve service.

YOU CAN HELP!  You can be a good steward AND get your grocery shopping done.  Did you know that if you purchase a grocery food gift card from St. John’s, our congregation will receive 5% of all sales of gift cards.  Please see Ruth Weaver if you wish to purchase and gift cards.  Thank you for helping us raise that 5% for helping to continue our ministry. 

Each week, we collect food for our hungry neighbors in need in our SHARING GOD'S BOUNTY WAGON.  Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.  Please consider making a donation of a food item each week. 

We are registered as Saint Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church for Amazon Smile.  Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charities selected by customers. To register your charity designation, you will need to go to  Then you select our name as your charity.  Again, the name is registered as Saint Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church.  You will only have to register once.  Next time you plan to shop online, go first to and you will be redirected to your own Amazon account.  Your charity designation will be listed on the top left.  So far, we have received over $176, just by doing your shopping through

Our Financial Response  (October)   
Budgeted costs per month                     $   9,048.05
Offering last month                         $   6,117.74

Budget required to date (10 months)             $  90,480.50
Total received to date                         $  54,359.10

Budget required to date (10 months)             $   5,000.00
Total received to date                         $   4,886.11

Please continue to support St. John's.  Our expenses continue each month even if we are not all worshipping together inside our building.

Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.

Please join us for Christmas Eve Worship, December 24 at 7:00 pm.

This year we will again adorn the sanctuary with beautiful poinsettias.  You may choose from red, white or pink poinsettias.  Or, you can choose to donate to ELCA World Hunger program.  The cost of each is $8.00.

The deadline for ordering this year is today, December 18th.