Order of Service, December 17, 2023

Introduction

This Lord’s Day, the sermon text will describe the nativity of Jesus from Joseph’s perspective. When he discovered Mary’s condition, he might have wondered whose child she carried. What he knew for certain was that he was not the father. It took and angelic intervention to prepare him for what would follow. The sermon will retell the story and teach us the angel’s answer to the question, “What child is this?”

The elements of the service will exalt Jesus’ identity as the virgin-born Son of God who came to “save his people from their sins.”

PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP

Prelude

Call to Worship:      Galatians 4:4-7

Invocation

PROCLAMATION

Hymn 89       Angels We Have Heard On High

Note: “Gloria in excelsis deo” is a Latin quotation of the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd on the night of Jesus’ birth: “Glory to God in the highest.” It is both an appropriate description of Jesus’ coming (glory displayed) and our response (glory proclaimed).

Worship through Giving

Hymn 103      What Child Is This?

Notes:  We sense the wonder of the events of the first Christmas—what child is this?  He appears as any other child, but “angels greet” him with “anthems sweet.”  The chorus answers our wondering question, “This, this is Christ, the King.”

Scripture Reading     John 1:1-18

Note: Matthew and Luke begin their accounts of the life of Christ with the story of his birth. Mark begins with Jesus’ emergence into public ministry. John, however, places the beginning of the story of Jesus in eternity past, a truth that establishes the uniqueness of the Christ child.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn Insert     Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Note: This theologically rich Christmas carol tells the story with the appropriate starting point: the eternal Son of God, “Alpha and Omega.” He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and came to be the Savior of our race, the world’s redeemer.

Message: What Child Is This?
Text: Matthew 1:18-25
Pastor Steven Thomas

RESPONSE

Hymn 90        Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Note: Charles Wesley’s hymn ascribes glory to Christ because he came to make it possible for God and sinners to be reconciled. Specifically, he came to “efface” the marred image of Adam we all bear and replace it with the perfect image of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Choir       Joy to the World

Note: Isaac Watts’ famous hymn describes Christ’s reign in his future kingdom. His first coming was a prelude to Christ’s future eradication of the effects of sin and expresses our longing for the day when all nations will extol the “glories of his righteousness.” This is the climax of our glorious gospel message.

Prayer Response:      Mike Towry

Benediction:      Mark Williams