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The Gift of Patience - Romans 8

A service plan in an Advent series in preparation for Christmas focused on the gift of patience and waiting for the coming of Christ.

The Gifts of Christmas

Theme of the Service

The theme this week is the gift of patience. It is necessary that this service define patience, point out its different dimensions, and express it in our prayers, readings, and songs.

As we worship today
we continue our patient waiting for the coming of Christ.


Prelude: "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes"
"O Come, O Come, Immanuel" [see <href="#music">music notes]

Introit: "O Come, O Come, Immanuel," Sleeth [see <href="#music">music notes]

*Song of Anticipation: "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes" (st. 1-3) PsH 335, RL 251 [see <href="#music">music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Response: "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes" (st. 4)


A Reading from Isaiah 40:1-11

*A Reading from Luke 3:1-6

*Song: "Gloria, Gloria" SNC 115, SFL 134, UMH 72, WOV 640

Lighting Two Candles

Sung Prayer ("O Little Town of Bethlehem, st. 4 PH 43, 44, RL 193, 194, TH 201, 202, TWC 154, 155, UMH 230 )
O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in: be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel.

Anthem: "All Earth Is Waiting," Taule [see <href="#music">music notes]


The Call to Confession
As we prepare for Christ's coming
let us make our confessions to God.

Our Prayer of Confession
Lord God, our lives are filled with sin.
We forget our neighbor's needs
and do not love you above all else.
We need a Savior.
Help us to be ready for Jesus in our own hearts.
O come, O come, Savior of the world. Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Your sins are pardoned.
The penalty is paid.
Thanks be to God.

God's Call to Grateful Living
Let us hear God's word as it calls us to new obedience.
What is the great and first commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
What is the second commandment like it?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
What does this mean?
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
To what does this call us?
To a life of faith working through love. (based on Matt. 22:37-40)

*Song of Dedication: "Not for Tongues of Heaven's Angels" PH 531, SNC 275, TWC 597


The Pastoral Prayer

The Offertory: "Once in Royal David's City" [see <href="#music">music notes]


The Children's Moment

*Song: "Once in Royal David's City" ( st . 1, 2, 4, 5) PH 49, PsH 346, RL 201, TH 225, TWC 161, UMH 250, WOV 643

The Prayer for Illumination
Make us to know your ways, O Lord;
teach us your paths.
Lead us in your truth, and teach us,
for you are the God of our salvation;
for you we wait all day long.

The Reading of Scripture: Romans 8:22-25
The Word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "The Gift of Patience" (The Gifts of Christmas - #2)

The Prayer of Application


*Song of Trust: "We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight" (st. 1-5) PH 399, WOV 675

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*A Moment of Meditation

Postlude: "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes " [see <href="#music">music notes]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

  1. Because this is the second sermon in the series, it would be helpful to briefly review the title and intent of the series, and quickly recap that last week the subject was anticipation. Such a review sets the stage for this message.
  2. Because different hearers may understand "patience" differently, it will be helpful to explain the two sides of patience. The passive side of patience is when we wait and pass time until something finally happens. The active side of patience is that we keep going, persist, persevere, and refuse to lose faith when our waiting must be longer than we'd like. Illustrations from your and their experience can make both of these ideas clear. Both sides of patience are virtues to be strongly desired.
  3. In Romans 8 Paul is talking about our journey through this world, moving toward the end. It takes longer, and often proves to be a lot harder than we thought. And so both we and creation groan. But while we groan, while we wait, we do not lose heart, for we wait with hope. When he says we "wait for it patiently" (v. 25), Paul is using a word that implies both aspects of patience. We are passive in the sense that the timetable is God's; we are active in the sense that we continue faithfully on until that day. By saying this, Paul points to such patience as the key to faithful Christian journeying toward the end.
  4. Such two-sided patience is a key ingredient in the season of Advent. The prophets passed on the gift of patience by their own modeling through the centuries. Christ does too. We exercise such patience when we eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ (in the first coming and also his final coming) and when we continue to faithfully serve him until that day. And we are to be people who encourage others to do the same within the body of Christ.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

  1. The music suggestions for the prelude, based on "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes " [CHESTERFIELD/RICHMOND] and "O Come, O Come, Immanuel " [VENI IMMANUEL] can be found in the following sources:

    • Bouman, Paul. Partita on "Chesterfield." CPH 97-020 [2003] (E-M).
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Hymns of Joy. Morningstar MSM-10-013 [2000] (E-M).
    • Willan, Healy. Ten Hymn Preludes, set 1. Peters 6011 [1956] (E-M).


  • Behnke, John A. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. CPH 97-6909 [2001] (E-M).
  • Ferguson, John. An Advent Triptych. Morningstar MSM-10-008 [1995] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. Five Organ Preludes. Flammer HF5094 [1977] (E-M).
  • Kerr, J. Wayne. Christ Is Born! Augsburg 11-11037 [2000] (E-M).
  • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 1. SMP KK234 [1978] (could be adapted for piano; E).
  • Schaffner. Five Christmas Carols in Baroque Style. Concordia 97-6194 [1993] (E-M).


  • Hamilton, Gregory. As the Grains of Wheat. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7577-0 [2003] (M).
  • Schubert, Myra. Give Him Praise. Lillenas MB-511 [1983] (M).


  • Dobrinski, Cynthia. O Come, O Come, Immanuel. Agape 1399 [1989] (3-5 octaves, M).
  1. The introit "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" was arranged by Natalie Sleeth for unison voices with descant and is published by Choristers Guild CGA-273 [1982] (E).
  2. An introduction for the opening hymn "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes" can be found in Paul Manz's Six Advent Improvisations, published by Morningstar MSM-10-002 [1990], and an alternative harmonization can be found in Eric Thiman's Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes, published by Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].
  3. The sung prayer can be sung to either ST. LOUIS or FOREST GREEN for the entirety of the Advent series.
  4. The SSA anthem "All Earth Is Waiting" by Alberto Taule is published by Logia 98-3233 [1995].
  5. The song of dedication, "Not for Tongues of Heaven's Angels," is a congregational setting of the choral anthem used in the previous service of this series.
  6. The offertory suggestions are based on "Once in Royal David's City" [IRBY] and can be found in the following sources:


  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 5. AMSI SP-102 [1985] (E-M).
  • Farlee, Robert Buckley. Augsburg Organ Library-Christmas. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-5935-X [2001] (E-M).
  • Phipps, Karen Emmett. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 3. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7564-9 [2003] (M).
  • Visser, Larry. Noels on Christmas Themes. Leupold WL600090 [1998] (E-M).
  • Wold, Wayne L. God with Us. Augsburg 11-10975 [1999] (E-M).


  • Page, Anna Laura. Once in Royal David's City. Brentwood OTH-1054[1986] (3 octaves, M).
  1. The organ postlude, "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes," returns to the tune of the prelude. This arrangement by David Cherwien is found in Interpretations, bk. 5, published by AMSI SP-102 [1985] (M).

Liturgy Notes:

  1. We remind you that multiple other ideas and readings are available in The Worship Sourcebook (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Faith Alive Christian Resources, and Baker Books, 2004) on pages 421-464.
  2. As we mentioned last week, we have encouraged worshipers to stand for the reading of the gospel during the season of Advent. Such a change of practice can give added emphasis and meaning to the readings.
  3. In looking back to last week's service, you will notice that the same items are used in the service of reconciliation for each of the weeks of Advent. Similarly, the same prayer for illumination is used for each of the weeks of Advent.
  4. The children's moment can easily deal with the same theme as the major sermon since children are very familiar with the agony of needing to be patient. They have all experienced it before some special event-a birthday, a special outing, or the day before Christmas. Reminding them of such experiences can make them ready to understand what God required of his people in the Old Testament-and today.