Every Sunday we gather for worship to remember the Lord Jesus who was raised from the dead on the first day of the week. This week, our worship gathering will occur on Christmas Day, a rare Sunday that marks both the beginning and end of our Savior’s first advent. The apostle John declared of that advent, “the light shines in the darkness.” The sermon for our Christmas celebration will trace that theme throughout the prologue of John’s Gospel (John 1:1-18).
The hymns selected for the worship service are traditional Christmas hymns that, for the most part, emphasize the theme of light.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Choir: As Lately We Watched
MUSIC: AUSTRIAN CAROL, arr. by Peter D. Tkach
Hymn 88 O Come, All Ye Faithful
Note: Themes from John’s prologue 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.”
Worship through Giving
Hymn 111 Angels from the Realms of Glory
Note: James Montgomery’s hymn is shaped by Luke’s famous account of the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-20). In the second verse, he alludes to John’s theme of light: “God now resides with man, yonder shines the infant Light.”
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.
Hymn Insert Behold the Great Creator
Note: This hymn emphasizes the eternal Son of God’s role as Creator (cf. John 1:3). It describes the mystery of the incarnation, God taking human flesh to himself:
Behold, the great Creator makes Himself a house of clay,
a house of virgin flesh that he shall wear for aye.*
*”aye is an Old English word meaning “ever” or “always”
Message: The Light Shines in the Darkness
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 97 As with Gladness Men of Old
Note: The lyrics of this hymn are a prayer that expresses our desire to come to Jesus as the wise men did. It looks ahead to the time when we will enter the place where he is present.
Thou its light, its joy, its crown,
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Hallelujahs to our King.
Choir For Unto Us a Child is Born
WORDS: Adapted from Isaiah
MUSIC: Patti Drennan
Prayer Response: Bill Cunnien
Hymn 109 Silent Night
Benediction: John Miles