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This Lord’s Day falls on Christmas Eve. We will spend the day rejoicing in the Incarnation of our Savior. The call to worship for this Sunday is John 1:1-5. In one sense, this passage is not a true “call to worship.” It has no imperative urging men to worship God. Yet the passage does, in its own way, call us to worship as clearly as any other. The passage is glorious and exalted in its description of our Lord Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Before such a grand description of Mary’s son Jesus, the believer cannot but respond: O Come, let us adore Him! If those words are true, and they certainly are, worship is the premier and appropriate response. So, brothers and sisters, let us do just that this Christmas Eve Day: O come, let us adore him.
This Sunday, we will have a special combined prayer service. We will intersperse Christmas hymns with readings from Scripture and prayers led by different men in the assembly. The prayer service is such an important part of our church’s vitality and ministry. I hope you’ll make it a point to join us.
My message this Sunday considers the song of Simeon in Luke 2:22-32, a canticle traditionally known as Nunc Dimittis and sung by Christians for a very long time (the Bach cantata to reference for this Scripture is BWV 82, “Ich Habe Genuge”). As this man took the holy babe in his arms, he spoke a profound hymn to God. The words are beautiful in the way the express the satisfaction of a longing heart in Christ. Simeon also helps us understand the majestic character of this Child as the way men will be brought to God. Amidst the darkness, there is light. In sum, Simeon’s words over “the Lord’s Christ” express a succinct statement of the glory of Christ. I hope we can see that glory for ourselves this Lord’s Day.
Call to Worship: John 1:1-5
Hymn 243 [Red] O Come, All Ye Faithful
Congregational Reading: Psalm 98
Doxology: Doxology, Red 283
Hymn 236 [Red] Hark! the Herald Angels Sing This hymn by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn, is one of the greatest Christian hymns ever written. There are so many profound theological themes that run through it, all infused with a sense of contagious, exuberant joy. Like “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” it bids us enter into the Christmas story for ourselves, and worship the Word made flesh: “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the new-born King!’” The hymn interweave many Incarnation passages and narratives. For our purposes this Lord’s Day, it’s the third stanza that reminds us of the song of Simeon. “Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.” As the prophet says, Christ is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”
Ministry of Music: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
Hymn 248 [Red] The First Noel
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:1-7 & Luke 2:1-38
Hymn 240 [Red] Joy to the World!
Sermon: Nunc Dimittis from Luke 2:22-32
Hymn 425 [Red] The Song of Simeon It’s appropriate that, upon hearing Simeon’s song preached that we sing it for ourselves. We’ll close with this setting of Simeon’s canticle in English.
There will be no fellowship or Sunday School this Sunday. Instead, we’ll gather a second time at 5:00 PM for a special Christmas Eve Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.