Order of Service, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas!

Introduction

This Lord’s Day we will remember the first advent of our Lord Jesus. He came into a world that is in desperate need. Our sermon text reveals that some watched for him with expectant faith and welcomed him with worship. But they were a small minority of people. Others ignored him—and some tried to kill the baby. Through it all, God was at work accomplishing his eternal plan and Jesus was central to it all.

The elements of the worship service will focus on the coming of the Christ and will encourage us worship him as did the wise men of old.

PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP

Prelude:       O Holy Night!
Pianist, Jan Buhr

Call to Worship:     Luke 2:8-11

Invocation

PROCLAMATION

Hymn 88       O Come, All Ye Faithful

Note: Themes from the Gospel of John saturate the third and fourth verses of this hymn. It summons us to worship the One who is “true God, Light of light eternal, begotten, not created, Word of the Father.”

Choir       See Amid the Winter’s Snow

Hymn  94       O Little Town of Bethlehem

Note: Famed 19th century preacher, Phillips Brooks, wrote this Christmas hymn for the children of his church in 1868. It was inspired by his memories of a visit he paid to Bethlehem three years earlier. We find the theme of “light” in the first verse: In contrast to the dark night (a metaphor for the world’s condition), “in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.”  

Worship through Giving

Hymn 98       The First Noel

Note: The second verse of this beloved carol draws our attention to the star that shone the night Jesus was born. Verses 3-5 describe the journey of the wise men who traveled to greet the child, Jesus, as described in the sermon text.

Scripture Reading     Matthew 2:1-23

Note: The months immediately following the birth of Jesus brought to pass events both wondrous and terrible. Our sermon text records them both. Throughout the story, we can see the hand of God at work to accomplish his plan.

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn 97       As with Gladness Men of Old

Note: The lyrics of this hymn are a prayer that expresses our desire to come to come to Jesus as the wise men did. It looks ahead to the time when we will come the place of his presence.

Thou its light, its joy, its crown,
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Hallelujahs to our King.

Message: Worship, Weeping, and the Plan of God
Text: Matthew 2:1-23
Pastor Steven Thomas

RESPONSE

Hymn 109       Silent Night, Holy Night

Notes:  We conclude the service with one of the most beautiful and memorable Christmas hymns ever written.  “With the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King.  Christ, the Savior, is born.”

Prayer Response:      Jon Lont

Benediction:      John Miles