Prelude — Mrs. Jane McAtee
Call To Worship — Based on Isaiah 9, Psalm 96:11-13
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined. Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sear roar, and all that fills it. Let the paddocks and fields exult, and everything in them. Let all the trees in the bush sing for joy before the Lord; for He is coming, He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth. And He is named, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Eternal God, your promise of a coming Savior is spoken in your words to Eve after the fall, in the psalms of David, in the words of the prophets. Your Word of deliverance is spoken, eternal God, and takes flesh at last in the womb of the virgin.
We ask that Emmanuel would be honored in the people of your Church and that Nations would find themselves bowing the knee to your Christ who alone can provide redemption and grace. We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose Day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Nicene Creed (Responsive)
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
THE FIRST LESSON
Scripture — Genesis 3:15 / Matthew 1:20 / Galatians 4:4
We speak with gratitude when we see your promise to Eve, of a coming Savior, fulfilled in the Christ child who crushed the head of the Serpent.
Carol — “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (Brown — 169)
THE SECOND LESSON
Scripture — Genesis 12:3 / Matthew 1:1 — Genesis 22:18 / Romans 9:5
Congregational Response — Father, Thank you for the promise, to the patriarchs, of a coming Christ and then for the promised fulfilled in Christ’s arrival.
Carol: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (Brown 184)
THE THIRD LESSON
Scripture — Micah 5:2 / Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-6
Congregational Response — Praise be unto God for providing us the Bread of life as born in the House of Bread
Carol — “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” (Brown 402)
Special Music — String Duet
THE FOURTH LESSON
Luke 1:46-55 / Luke 2:29-32
Congregational Response — We thank you for the promise fulfilled that elicited a response that speaks of gratitude for a Salvation that is both individual and global.
Carol — “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” (Brown 168)
THE FIFTH LESSON
Scripture — Isaiah 7:14 / Matthew 1:23
Congregational Response — We look for no other Redeemer but He who was and is “God with Us,” the Lord Christ.
Carol — “Joy To The World” (Brown 170)
THE SIXTH LESSON
Scripture — Isaiah 9:2-7 / Revelation 1:12-16
Congregational Response — Grant us grace Father, to remember that this child is now your Warrior King and that we walk in the path of His conquering work.
Hymn — Christ Shall Have Dominion (Blue Psalter — 135 Blue)
Candlelight Exhortation — Matthew 4:16
Carol — “Silent Night” (Brown 195)
Words To Go
“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory of the past and hope for the future which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic memory within us, namely, the memory of God who became man. Rightly remembered and held, this is a restorative memory; it brings hope, it brings peace, it brings confidence. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to recite her History, so as to awaken her memory so that she can discern God’s accomplishment in the past so as to provide fuel in the confidence of his promises for the future.”
“The birth of a king has lost most of its meaning in our day, because the few kings remaining are mainly figureheads. In earlier days, it was, however, a momentous event. Whenever a son was born to a king, the entire kingdom celebrated with a joy our holidays today do not have.
Why was the birth of a king’s son so great an event to the poorest man of the realm, and so great a cause for rejoicing? It meant, very simply, that a protector and defender was born, someone who in the days ahead would provide the leadership, unifying force, and strength to repel all enemies, suppress criminals within the realm, and enforce justice. A kingdom without an heir to the throne had an uncertain future. Men being sinners, the kingdom would face internal and external troubles if no king reigned to enforce justice. The succession being uncertain, the kingdom would risk civil war.
The term “enforce justice” tells us much. Man is a sinner, and he is by nature lawless unless he is regenerated by Jesus Christ. Justice thus must be “enforced,” that is, put into operation by force, because otherwise lawlessness and injustice will prevail. If there is no forceful enactment of justice, there is no justice. This is the grim fact people once knew and are now forgetting.
This tells us too what the Scripture means when it speaks of Christ as King, hailed King from His very birth. The Gospel of Matthew gives us His royal genealogy in its first chapter. Revelation 17:14 tells us that He is the universal King, “for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings.”
When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we thus celebrate the birth of one who is ordained to right every wrong, overthrow every enemy, and enforce justice. He will put down all enemies before time is ended, and He will reign eternally over His people. The news of His birth, and its celebration, is indeed “joy to the world,” because the Lord is come who shall in the fullness of time enforce justice truly and absolutely.
His promise is peace, not the peace of death and the graveyard, but the peace of justice and prosperity. The Virgin Mary rejoiced, declaring of the justice God and her son would finally establish: “He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Luke 1:51-53).
If we believe in Christ, we shall rejoice, and we shall be confident, come
what may. We have a King!”
In the Genesis record God said, “Let their be light” (Gen 1:3) and that light appears overcoming the darkness, saturating the creation realm with God’s authority. In the Gospel accounts Christ is the Redemptive light come to inaugurate a new age, a new realm, and a glorious new day as from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Christ is the new covenant agelight that shines in the darkness (John 1:5). The Apostles saw He who was the radiance of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:1) as the glory of the One and only who came from the Father (John 1:1-4). As the age to come Light, the followers of the Lord Christ never walk in darkness (John 8:12). Christ as the Redemptive light of the age to come demonstrated and revealed itself with a white hot intensity at the transfiguration wherein even His clothing became dazzling white (Mark 9:1-4). In the crucifixion He who is “the Light of the World” is snuffed out and as on cue, the light goes out for three hours Christ (Matthew 27:45). Light is picked up again in John’s Revelation wherein John the Revelator falls as dead as before a super nova God-man (Rev. 1:14-17). Finally, as the Scripture started with light, it forms an inclusio by ending with He who is the light, as it closes with the motif of Christ as the lightwhich illuminates the new Jerusalem. He who ever was very light of very light remains thelight of the world (Rev. 22:4).