MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Friday, December 24, 2021
  • O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
  • Welcome

    Welcome! We’re so glad that you are here tonight. Whether you be here in our sanctuary, out in our parking lot, or perhaps you’re listening online. Welcome.
    This is a special time of year. Christmas. It’s shrouded in wonder - the wonder of children and their eyes popping out with excitement as they see the gifts begin to build under the tree. The wonder and mystery of a baby to be born some 2000 years ago that would change the world. The wonder of that child having grown and ministered among people of the time and then to be put to death - not for anything he’d done - but for everything the people before had done and all that the people after would ever do. Jesus died not just for the sins of the past, but for the sins of the present and the future. Jesus came as the visible personhood of God demonstrating God’s love for all creation And, Jesus will return again.
    Tonight is all about the wonder of being between those two glorious moments. The glory of his birth and the glory of his return.
    As we worship tonight, I hope that you have one of our candles at the ready, or if you are listening online or in your car, perhaps you will want to think of a light you can light as a symbol of the Christ’s light entering the world. We will do that as part of the end of our service.
    For those of you in your cars:
    As we go, and you need heat, please feel free to turn your car on. You will likely want to turn it on sometime in the service simply to keep the battery charged. We don’t want any dead batteries at the end of our service.
    We invite you to sing along in your vehicle, or you can just listen and think about the meaning of the words as our worship team sings.
    We will be having a special message for our children, and we will be receiving an offering tonight. We’ll share more about those later.
    So with that, let us quiet our hearts as we wait expectantly for what God will share with us tonight through the Holy Bible and these beautiful hymns written through the centuries.

    [SILENCE]

    Opening Sentences:

    Sing to the Lord a new song
    Sing to the Lord all the earth!
    Sing to the Lord and bless God’s name;
    tell the good news of salvation from day to day.
    Opening Hymn

    O Come, All Ye Faithful #249

    Prayers of Intercession

    Beloved in Christ, it is our duty and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels, and to go in heart and mind to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, and the babe lying in a manger.
    Therefore let us hear again from the holy scriptures the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our sin until the glorious redemption brought us by this holy child; and let us make this house of prayer glad with our carols of praise.
    But first, because this of all things would rejoice Jesus’ heart, let us pray to him for the needs of the whole world, and all his people; for peace upon the earth he came to save; for love and unity within the one Church he did build; for goodwill among all peoples.
    And particularly at this time, let us remember the poor, the cold, the hungry, the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all who do not know the Lord Jesus, or do not love him, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
    Lastly, let us remember all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we forevermore are one.
    These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words that Christ himself has taught us: Our Father . . .
    Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kindom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever. AMEN.

    Lessons of the Carols

    SERVICE of the the LESSONS OF THE CAROLS
    This service of nine lessons and carols originates from a 1918 Christmas Eve service at King’s College Chapel, at the University of Cambridge, in England.
    Each lesson will contain Scripture and a Carol. We hope you enjoy tonight’s service and encourage you sing along.

    1. Adam and Eve disobey God

    Genesis 3:8–15 ESV
    And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
    Genesis 3:17–19 ESV
    And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
    READER:
    “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 3. Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

    Anticipation is a necessary and important part of every believer’s life. In Old Testament times the people anxiously awaited a Messianic Kingdom. Today we should be waiting with the same urgent expectancy as did the Israelites of old. But our anticipation is the Lord’s second advent—the piercing of the clouds and the sound of the trumpet—when victory over sin and death will be complete and final.

    Not only looking, but longing the blessed Lord’s return to greet;

    Our crowns of glory to gather and cast them with joy at His feet,

    Not only waiting, but watching, wistfully scanning the skies;

    Anticipating that daybreak when the world’s true Sun shall arise.

    —Unknown

    The Old Testament prophecies were very specific concerning our Lord’s first advent. The prophets gave the exact location of His birth (Micah 5:2) as well as the sign that He would be virgin born (Isaiah 7:14). Likewise the New Testament gives clear instructions regarding the second advent: “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations … and when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth near” (Luke 21:25–28 KJV).

    Let us rejoice in the truth that God’s eternal promises are unchangeable: christ was born and He will return. Sing this truth as we lift up our voices together, “Come thou long expected Jesus,” Hymn #244.

    Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus #244

    2. God’s promise to Abraham

    Genesis 22:15–18 ESV
    And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
    O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 2. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

    The Messiah’s coming was prophesied 600 years before His birth. At the time the Jewish people were living in captivity in Babylon. For centuries thereafter faithful Jews earnestly anticipated the Deliverer-Messiah with great longing and expectation, echoing the prayer that He would “ransom captive Israel.” And finally the long awaited heavenly announcement came—“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:11).

    “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was originally used in the medieval church liturgy as a series of antiphons—short musical statements that were sung for the week of vesper services just before Christmas Eve. Each of these antiphons greets the anticipated Messiah with one of the titles ascribed Him throughout the Old Testament: Wisdom, Emmanuel, The Lord of Might, The Rod of Jesse, Day Spring, and The Key of David.

    The haunting modal melody for the verses is also of ancient origin. It is based on one of the earliest forms of sacred music known—the Chant or Plain Song.

    Christ came not only to be the Emmanuel — “God with us” — but even in a more personal way, God in us. Carry this truth with you throughout this season and throughout the year. Let us sing together the Hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” #245.

    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel #245

    3. A great light in the Darkness

    Isaiah 9:2 ESV
    The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
    Isaiah 9:6–7 ESV
    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
    Reader:
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 17. It Came upon the Midnight Clear

    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13)

    The peace of Christmas, proclaimed by the heavenly chorus, is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. “God was reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This message of reconciliation involves us on three different levels: Peace with God, peace with our fellowmen, and peace within ourselves. It is this blessed concept that Edmund Sears wanted to emphasize in his unusual carol.

    In the second stanza Sears stressed the social aspects of the angels’ message—the hope of Christians spreading peace and good will to others who are burdened and painfully toiling. The hymn was written in 1849, a time preceding the Civil War when there was much tension over the question of slavery, the industrial revolution in the North and the frantic gold rush in California. The final verse looks forward optimistically to a time when all people will enjoy the peace of which the angels sang.

    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 17. It Came upon the Midnight Clear

    Just as the angelic announcement of peace was given at a time of much turmoil caused by the heavy rule of the Roman Empire, so today does God’s message of peace comes despite life’s stormy circumstances.

    Sing with me, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. #251

    It Came Upon A Midnight Clear #251

    4. The Prophet Micah foretells the Glory of Bethlehem

    The lessons from the prophets are very important to the Christmas story. Micah was one of the prophets who predicted Jesus’s birth.
    Micah 5:2–4 ESV
    But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
    READER:
    Our next hymn is “O LIttle Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks.
    In the Gospel of Luke, we read:
    Luke 2:4 ESV
    And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 11. O Little Town of Bethlehem

    In the same way that God’s “wondrous gift” came to Bethlehem, silently, so Christ comes into our lives today and casts out our sins and fears if we are willing to have Him abide in our lives. Then “the dear Christ enters in.” How beautifully the glorious message of Christmas is told in this well-phrased hymn by Phillips Brooks, one of America’s most outstanding ministers of the past century.

    As you’re singing the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem, think about what you’re saying. The words speak of a wondrous gift. Please join our music team in singing, O Little Town of Bethlehem #250

    O Little Town of Bethlehem #250

    OFFERING

    Pastor John will share how the offering will be used and where it goes. Will also share how to collect for those that are visiting using their cars.

    Offertory

    5. An Angel Appears to Mary

    Luke 1:26–35 ESV
    In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
    Luke 1:38 ESV
    And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
    Our Next Carol is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.
    Charles Wesley penned this hymn.
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 15. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

    Christmas carols as we know them now were abolished by the English Puritan parliament in 1627 because they were a part of a “worldly festival,” which they considered the celebration of Christmas to be. As a result, there was a scarcity of Christmas hymns and carols in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Charles Wesley’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was one of the few written during this period. Wesley’s fine text and the melody by master composer Felix Mendelssohn have given this hymn its great popularity and its standing as a classic among Christmas songs.

    Like many of Charles Wesley’s more than 6,500 hymns, this text clearly presents biblical doctrine in poetic language. The first stanza describes the song of the angels outside Bethlehem with an invitation to join them in praise of Christ. The following verses present the truths of the virgin birth, Christ’s deity, the immortality of the soul, the new birth, and a prayer for the transforming power of Christ in our lives.

    Be so in tune with the exultant song of the angels during this Christmas time that others may see and hear that Christ dwells in you. Let’s sing it loud as we share the message of the gospel from this hymn, #277, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #277

    6. Mary gives birth in Bethlehem

    Luke 2:1–7 ESV
    In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 12. Away in a Manger

    No Christmas song is more loved than this tender children’s carol. With its simply worded expression of love for the Lord Jesus and trust in His faithful care, the hymn appeals to young and old alike. It is usually one of the first Christmas songs learned in early childhood; yet its pleasing melody and gentle message preserve it in our affections all through life.

    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 12. Away in a Manger

    How important it is that we take time to help our children see beyond the glitter of the Christmas season and teach them the true meaning of Christ’s birth. The most thrilling story ever known to man began in Bethlehem at Christmas.

    Please join together with our worship team in singing this simple, yet powerful hymn. “Away in the Manger, # 262

    Away in the Manger #262

    7. Angels Announce the Messiah

    Our next scripture continues the passage we began just a moment ago from Luke chapter 2. And this is a special moment for our children. I encourage you to listen as well for the Scripture shared.

    SPECIAL MOMENT FOR THE CHILDREN

    Lance will introduce the Linus Clip
    Luke 2:8–20 ESV
    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
    After Lance finishes, Reader continues:
    READER:
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 14. Angels We Have Heard on High

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests. (Luke 2:14)

    As vast numbers of angels swiftly descended toward earth through the star sprinkled sky, the leading angel halted them with a sign. They hovered with folded wings over a silent field near Bethlehem. “There they are,” said the leading angel, “the humble shepherds who have been chosen by God to receive our message. It will be the most wonderful news that mortal man has ever received. Are you ready with your great angelic chorus?”

    The leading angel drifted slightly downward so that he could be seen by the shepherds below. They were terrified! Each one of them covered his face in the brilliance of the light but earnestly listened with awe as the vision before them began to speak in their own language:

    “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

    Instantly surrounding the angel was the brilliant heavenly host, and echoing through the sky was the most beautiful singing that the shepherds had ever heard, exulting and praising God for the long-awaited gift of His Son. They made haste to see the Savior with their own eyes.

    The Bible teaches that angels are the ministering servants of God and that they are continually being sent to help and protect us, the heirs of salvation. Certainly their most important task, however, was this momentous occasion announcing Christ’s arrival on earth!

    What a sight that must have been. Please join in singing: Angels We Have Heard on High, #278.

    Angels We Have Heard On High #278

    8. Magi come from the East

    Matthew 2:1–11 ESV
    Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
    Reader:
    Amazing Grace—366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions 21. We Three Kings of Orient Are

    The number of wise men is not important, but the fact that they persisted in following the light that was given them until they found the object of their search, that they responded in worship, and that they returned home to share their experience with others—all has much to tell us. Also, the gifts presented to the Christ-child were both significant and appropriate: gold, symbolic of His kingly reign; frankincense, symbolic of His priestly ministry; myrrh, symbolic of our redemption through His death. How important it is that our gifts of love and devotion be offered to Christ after we have first found Him and then have bowed in true adoration before Him.

    Please join in singing Hymn #288, We Three Kings

    We Three Kings #288

    9. And the Word became flesh

    John’s Gospel makes this so clear.
    John 1:1–14 ESV
    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. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    As we ponder the light that has come into the World, and the light that will return to us, let us sing together, “Silent Night! Holy NIght” #253, verses 1, 2 and 4. Afterwards we will sit in silence for a few moments at the wonder of this Holy Night.

    Silent Night! Holy Night! #253

    Linger in Silence for a few moments.
    HE’S HERE! THE LORD IS HERE! THE EMANNUEL, IS HERE! JESUS IS HERE! THE CHRIST IS BORN!
    LET’S CELEBRATE!
    JOIN WITH ME IN SINGING JOY TO THE WORLD #270, ALL 4 VERSES!

    Joy to the World #270

    Blessing and Charge

    As we dismiss, please remember if you have an offering you can drive through our portico and we’ll have someone there with an offering plate for you. IF you’re in our sanctuary you will see the offering plate at the center as you exit. Now receive this blessing!
    May the Christ, who, by his incarnation, gathered into one the things of heaven and earth, fill you with the sweetness of inward peace and goodwill, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Alleluia!
    Go forth in peace and joy.
    Thanks be to God! Amen.
  • Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (Carol)
  • O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  • Away In A Manger
  • Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria)
  • We Three Kings
  • Silent Night
  • Joy To The World

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