Christmas

Worship Together: The Light has Come!

Below is a Christmas reading.

As you join together on Christmas day, designate one person as the leader. That person reads the bold sections. 

Everyone reads the italics section together. 


A Christmas Reading

Leader:
Thousands of years ago, in the town Bethlehem, the Savior was born. His love made manifest in bodily form, no longer are we separated from the Light. Hallelujah! Our King is here!

Together:
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Leader:
Our Light has come, our Great Emmanuel. Spoken of by the prophets and watched for through generations, the Light of the world became incarnate through the Virgin Mary. Joyful, joyful, our hearts are freed!  Hallelujah! Our King is here! 

Together: 
Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Leader:
This babe, laid in a manger, scatters the darkness and brings peace to the Earth. This wailing baby boy, born that we can live again. His Light is life! Hallelujah! Our King is here! 

Together: 
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!” 

Leader:
Our King is here! The Light has come! Hope for all mankind born on this day, he came to set the captive free, to heal the broken, and to cure the land. He came to fold us into his love and set our hearts free again. 

Together: 
As we open our presents and raise up our glasses, let us remember the hope of our Lord.  Let the flicker of his Light burn bright in each and every moment of our Christmas and the days ahead. May our hope in this season set our lives alight by the power of this newborn King.  

Merry Christmas! 

Merry Christmas!
 

Friday: Receive Peace

We pray to Thee, our Father
as Christmas comes again,
For peace among all nations
and goodwill among men.
Give us strength and courage
To search ourselves inside
And recognize our vanity,
Our selfishness, and pride.
For the struggle of all ages
Is centered deep within
Where each man has private war
That his own soul must win.
For a world of peace and plenty
Of which all men have dreamed,
Can only be attained and kept
When the spirit is redeemed. 
— A Christmas Prayer for Peace, By Helen Steiner Rice


Stories of Peace

Jesus calmed the storm, he healed the sick, he relieved the tormented. He united tax collectors and fishermen, men and women with one another. Crying out in our hardship, we wonder if he is still that Jesus. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say, and it’s true. We frame all of our stories within their happy endings and when we cannot see that ending, we deem our chapter a tragedy. But if there is a story of the provision of God’s peace, unrest preceded it. 

 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
— Matthew 5:2-12

These Beatitudes do not read, “Blessed is the one who gets it right, for they will find peace. Blessed are the winners, for the losers will be content beneath them. Blessed are the honorable, for they will not be questioned. Blessed are those whose lives are pristine, for they will be regarded with favor.”  But often in our prayers, those are the realities we are praying for. We want to be blessed with the ability to turn off the noise- freedom from the burdens of others that cloud our days. It doesn’t work that way, because the clamor and brokenness are within us. 

“And be yourself our King of Peace”

Jesus is our Peace. His peace is sufficient for today and remains for everlasting tomorrows. The lack of turmoil we beg for is worldly peace, one that quickly vanishes. The peace God can provide endures through even the greatest disasters. So, if you find yourself in a season of suffering, fear, sinfulness, or distress hear this: the Light of the World, The Prince of Peace, The Almighty God, The Wonderful Counselor, has come and is our Emmanuel, God with us. 

His presence is our peace because he imparts to us his righteousness. There is no greater peace than a right standing before God.There is no peace without righteousness. There is no righteousness outside of Jesus.

What better way to celebrate Christmas, than to allow him into your suffering, and trust in his eternal Peace? Your story will not be in vain. You will be called blessed because he can take your greatest fears and failures (drowning, sickness, death, and discord) and turn them into stories of victory. How beautiful to see the schemes of the Devil turned into narratives that proclaim his goodness and peace. How wonderful to know that in the moments when we feel so alone, that God can craft this very day, this very week, and this very life into the Grand Story of his redemption. 

This is the Gospel.

This is the Good News: one King for all mankind, one redemption story in which we all belong, one Kingdom under God. Lost in our own biographies of war-torn disfunction, Jesus came to reconnect us to the Light; and by doing so, offered us the rest of his story. No longer do we have to try to turn our tragedies into fairy tales, our hero has come. King of Kings, he is the Light of the World. 
 

Advent 2017: Let there be Light

The Christmas lights are hung with care and one by one neighborhood streets, once boring, have a bit more color and glow. It is easy to think that Christmas is just a story about the shiny things like tinsel and bells, lights and garland. But the story is also about darkness. The world was dark and needed Jesus. 

Christmas isn’t a time to be distracted from the struggle, tragedies, and evil in our world; but rather, a time to look at the fear they create in the face and say, “You have no victory here.”

The world needs something better than, jolliness. This world needs a Savior.

This Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the coming of our King, we will meditate on our need for the Light of the World. We want to carefully wade through the darkness around us and, by doing so, expose it to the Light. Will you join us? Will you walk into the darkness with us as we carry the Light that the Spirit of Jesus has birthed in us?

 


Each Sunday we will light the Advent Wreath candles together. If you would like to join us, gather your Advent Wreath supplies (simple or intricate, creative or purchased) this weekend. 

If you have kids in your life, be sure to download the children’s activity document here, as some supplies will be needed. 
 

Coming Soon

Hey y'all!

We will be posting our Advent devotional soon. Advent starts on December 3rd, but we will begin our devotional posts on December 1st. We will also provide an "ADVENTure KIDS" PDF on Monday, November 27th, so keep an eye out!

We are really excited to walk through this season of preparation that culminates in worshiping  Jesus on Christmas with you! 

 

Kate & Corey