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A New Light

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A Christmas Service

Worshippers will enter the sanctuary fully lit. Encourage everone to sit close. As I stand at the pulpit turn off the lights. I will read, Isaiah 9:2, “The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.” I will light one candle, then turn on pulpit lights and rear lanterns.

Introduction:

We celebrate tonight in song and word the Light of the World. Tonight we relive the promise, prophecy, fulfilment, and birth of Jesus Christ into this world.

Read Isaiah 12
Let us pray.

PRAYER of EXPECTATION: God, creator of all life you made us in your image, and sent your Son to be, " …made in the likeness of men... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us... " Tonight we celebrate the glad time of his birth. We pray that your love might be made new within us. We are here in the expectation that this Saviour will be reborn in our hearts and our lives on this night, in this holy space. We join in the angel's song: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward all people'! Help us to respond to the greatness of your love by sharing it with others. Amen.
Sing: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

As we have observed the Advent Season with its candles and wreath you will notice they stand in a circle. In the center stands another candle pure and white as yet untouched by flame -this is the Christ Candle. There is nothing special about these candles except they represent the revelation of God's gift of Jesus Christ to us.

The 1st candle represented the prophecy of the coming Immanuel –God who would live among us and be one of us, Isaiah 7: 14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." God would indeed do the incredible and be born as a human baby. Yet, God would not limit himself to simply living among us but he would chose to live in our hearts. Matthew 1:21, "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
Sing: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear –verses 1,4

The 2nd candle represented the town of Bethlehem where the Christ Child would be born. Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.” Isaiah 11:10, "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious." The glory and majesty one might expect a king to be in did not occur. In a simple yet dignified manner Christ entered the world. He would teach us that money, power, and prestige does not make one great. Greatness would come when we treated all people as our neighbor.
Sing: Away in a Manager -verses 1,3

The 3rd candle represents the angel's most wonderful message to a field full of shepherds. Luke 2: 10-11, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." This message first given to the outcasts of society would be the first to declare the great news to the whole city. Luke 2:20, “The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” The shepherds provide for a great example of what our life should be like. We should go into all the vicinity glorifying and praising for all we have seen and heard.
Sing: Angels from the Realms of Glory –verses 1,2

The 4th candle represents the arrival of the Magi into the city of Jerusalem and their search for the Christ Child. Matthew 1:2, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." They came searching for the unexplained and found the unexpected. But even the wise from far away places knelt at the stall of the Christ Child. Our cry should reflect that of the Magi, "Where is he for I want to see Jesus?" For when they came with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh they confirmed Jesus work in this world. The gold symbolized his kingly authority, the frankincense confirmed his priesthood, and the myrrh proclaimed his death.
Sing: We Three Kings of Orient Are –verses 1,5

The four candles of the Advent season lead to the fifth and final candle -the Christ Candle. Yet this candle does not represent prophecy that has been fulfilled but what will be fulfilled: John 14:2-3, “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. lf I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” 1Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God…”

As we light the 5th candle of – the Christ Candle, let us remember and claim the promise that our Lord Savior will come again. But he will not reveal himself as a lowly baby at this appearing but as conquering king! We honor that promise and wait his blessed appearing at this evening's service. We light the Christ Candle to complete our Advent celebration. As we take part in the Lord's Supper we proclaim his death until he comes again. In the final words of the Apostle John, Revelation 22:20, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Even so come!
Sing: Joy to the World! The Lord is Come! –verses 1,3

God has promised, fulfilled, pointed, and lead us to the birth of his on Jesus. What are we to with him now? Jesus tells the people, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) Write out your confessions.

PRAYER of CONFESSION: We celebrate the coming of the Light of the world; we have prayed for that light to enter our lives and our world. Yet we confess that there have been times when we have obscured the light for others through insensitivity and prejudice, through the use of careless and hurtful words or selfish and destructive actions. We confess our sins before you O, God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Ps 139:23-24) Come Lord Jesus, be light for our darkness and empower us with your Spirit so we might be the faithful bearers of your light and love into all the dark places of this world. Amen.

Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
Sing: Silent Night

Now, let us take your confessions outside and offer them to God. Have everyone place their confessions in metal can or pot and burn them. Giving over our sin, doubts, and fears to our Lord and Savior who has conquered all sin and redeemed us from all unrighteousness who holds all of us in the palm of his hands.

PRAYER of THANKSGIVING: Most gracious God, source of all blessing, thank you for inviting us to share this meal as your family; strengthen us to be a blessing to one another and a blessing to all the world, glorifying you in all things, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sing Benediction: To God be the Glory –verses 1, 3

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mark Lewis