Order, Voices, & Words 12.24.21

Order

Opening Video (1:03)

Music Abbie & billy

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Angels We Have Heard on High

Welcome Petty

ON LINE – Advent Candles review Musgroves

In Person lighter along w/Musgroves Emily and Jake

Music Abbie & Billy

O Holy Night

O Come All Ye Faithful – Light Christ Candle Emily and Jake

Scripture Luke 2:1-21 Petty

Music

Holy Is His Name Abbie & Billy

Message Rick

Joy To The World /Pass Flame Rick

Benediction Renee

Exit Christmas Music Billy

Voices & Words

Music I (Medley) 

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

CCLI Song # 7019799

Charles Wesley | Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled

Joyful all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings


Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a virgin’s womb


Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King 

Angels We Have Heard on High

CCLI Song # 27721

Edward Shippen Barnes | James Chadwick

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Gloria, In excelsis Deo
Gloria, In excelsis Deo

Shepherds why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song

Gloria, In excelsis Deo
Gloria, In excelsis Deo

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord the newborn King

Gloria, In excelsis Deo
Gloria, In excelsis Deo

Welcome/Prayer 

Welcome to each of you that are in person and those of you that are with us online. In whatever form we gather, we gather because of the season, we gather because of our savior, we gather because each of us was created by God and at the same time we gather because each of us is loved God. When we leave here we will go out to all the others that God created and loves.

Tonight is the culmination of Advent. For the past five weeks we have prepared for the birth of the infant savior, we have anticipated the miraculous injection into our lives of God in the flesh, we have seen the stories of ordinary human beings like ourselves, we have witnessed that we do can be used by God, we too can be a part of the story. 

We anticipate Jesus together, we prepare for Jesus together, we seek, serve, and recognize Jesus together, we live with compassion, mercy, and love together, together we are hope bearers accepting all, embracing all. This is what Jesus was speaking of when he said take and eat this in remembrance of me.

We will be taking of the Lord’s Supper tonight, but in a way that we are unfamiliar with. You have the elements of the Lord’s Super observance in the bags you were given upon entrance this evening. During our time together tonight, whenever you are ready, eat the bread, or cookie, to remember Jesus born in the flesh, and as you drink the juice remember God’s eternal sacrifice.  Partake of the Lord’s supper whenever you want over the course our time of gathering together.

Let us pray. Dear God, we thank you for the sharing your son. You made the ultimate sacrifice of permitting humans to participate in the human life of Jesus, you have trusted us with your precious son, you have invested his life into our lives so ultimately he may give his life for our lives. Move us tonight, to remember, to anticipate, and to accept and embrace. Amen

ON LINE – Advent First Four Candles

This Advent season we have lit the four Advent candles as we have awaited the nativity narrative in anticipation and preparation. As we have heard the stories, the candles have been our reminder that even the birth of Jesus is not a mere historical event. We live it again, every day as we remember and respond to God’s call.

Our first candle is the candle of Hope. As the Israelites suffered as slaves in Babylon, they were hopeless but not hopeless. Everything in exile and at home looked hopeless. But the words of the prophets were filled with hope. Hope that God was not absent, hope that God would deliver.  We still live everyday seeing reasons for hopelessness, but everyday, we still live with the promise of Hope.

The second candle is the candle of Preparation. Again, we look back at the Isrealites. For seen decades they sat in slavery, languishing, still failing to recognized the call to return to God. Midway through that time, they began to wake up, to realize that God had been there all along, even though they had refused to look at God. As they opened their eyes and cleaned out their ears, they began to hear God’s call to prepare for deliverance, they began to see more than the misery. They began to prepare for God’s restoration that had already been fully prepared.

The third candle is the candle of power. As the Israelites returned home, God called a leader named Zerubbabel to lead the people home and to rebuild. Zerubbabel quickly realized that he was unable to do that, he was not stonrg enough, he did not have the perseverance. God told him he was right but that this work would not be about the power of Zerubbabel but he would have to trust in the power of God. This was the same message to Mary, it is not your power and might, depend on God.

The fourth candle is the candle of participation. A young man named Joesph, a man who was good and sought righteousness, was called to the role of sidekick. Joseph was called to father a son that was not really his own, and to name a salvation that was beyond his abilities. His simple response was ‘YES’ to a calling that would be anything but simple. God invites us in to participate in the holy plans of God.

The fifth candle that will be lit later in this evening is the Christ Candle.  It is the light that lights our path and illuminates truth in the darkness of humanitys’ soul. It is a flame that does not diminish when we take a piece of it, it is not overcome by the darkness, and it still shines even when our world attempts to hide it. It is the light that gives allows us to follow God, to recognize God, and to say ‘YES’ to God daily.

Allow the presence of this flames to remind you of of the moment that took place in a smelly stable with the new born son.

Music II

O Holy Night

CCLI Song # 32015

Adolphe Charles Adam | John Sullivan Dwight

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth


Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth


A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night O holy night
O night divine

O night divine Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace


Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease


Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night O holy night
 

Music/Lighting the Christ Candle

O Come All Ye Faithful

CCLI Song # 31054

C. Frederick Oakeley | John Francis Wade

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
O sing all ye bright
Hosts of heav’n above
Glory to God all
Glory in the highest

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Scripture  Luke 2:1-21

In those days a decree went out saying that all the world should be registered. Everyone went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 

He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 

When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:1-21 

Music III

Holy Is The Lord

CCLI Song # 14497

John Michael Talbot

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
And my spirit exalts in God my Savior
For He has looked with mercy on my lowliness
And my name will be forever exalted
For the mighty God has done great things for me
And His mercy will reach from age to age

And holy holy
Holy is His name

He has mercy in ev’ry generation
He has revealed His power and His glory
He has cast down the mighty in their arrogance
And has lifted up the meek and the lowly
He has come to help His servant Israel
He remembers His promise to our fathers

And holy holy
Holy is His name

Message 

Christmas Eve worship is an odd challenge for a preacher. While it may be a preacher’s greatest opportunity to speak truth, it is also a moment for a preacher to step back and permit everyone to be the voice of hope and joy. We gather, we sing, we hear the story, we remember that Christmas Day was the earthly beginning of God’s sacrificial gift for all of humanity.

Advent is about remembering the journey of the first Christmas morning. The journey taken for us leading us to a journey of anticipation and preparation, and journey that miraculously took place in the most inglorious of places revealing the mysterious love of God for us, the undeserving who have repeatedly turned from God.

You may be new to the story, or possibly you have heard it fresh and new just recently. The world’s major religions, and even the smaller and less known religions, tell something of Jesus and his birth. Some hear it in the words of their own ancient prophets, some still cling to Jesus as an important prophet who taught humans how to live, to be good, to respect all, to reflect mercy and compassion, to love all.

The life of Jesus is mesmerizing, the interaction, the effortless expressions of love, the passion flowing out of mercy and compassion, Jesus looked beyond a person’s actions to their heart – he didn’t limit his understanding to what is seen, but, instead, by all of the things that weigh on hearts.

People were mesmerized by Jesus’ love, sacrifice, mercy, compassion, hope, and peace. The actions of Jesus’ life were foreign to most. But, more than any of that, they were refreshed and challenged  by the words that came from Jesus’ mouth. Words like…

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well.” (Matthew 5:38-40)

The greatest commandment is this, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31)

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. 

That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. 

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. 

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 

Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. (Matthew 5:3-12 MSG)

The life and matching words of Jesus challenge our politics, our capitalism, our religion, our selfishness, our thoughts, our prejudice, our judgemental labels.

On the other hand, the life of Jesus and his transforming words empower our hope, our peace, our love, our acceptance, our embrace, our humility, our life.

Jesus came to transform our lives, to fulfill God’s purpose, to give us an unearthly abundance, and, in God’s mysterious way, he did this all through an infant. An infant who would experience our lives, understand the human dilemma, a baby who would become a man, the man who would become the sacrifice, because only being who could be that sacrifice. The very God who loves “the world so he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Jesus may not perish but may have eternal life. God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world will be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

So now, as we leave here, as we head home…let us take a breath, let us settle in, recognizing that the stores are closed, accepting that it is probably too late to thaw out a turkey, understanding that planned impressions have already been set in stone, and that our chimneys are probably clean enough for Santa to slide down. Let us choose to take these final moments of anticipation, expectation, and preparation for the Messiah, and look around for that stable everywhere we go, in every moment we have, to breath in the fresh breath of God, allowing us to settle into the light of the manger, a light that cannot be extinguished or hidden.

May we always receive the light of Jesus and then share the light as an automatic part our our path. May every aspect of our life be a sharing of the flame, the light of Jesus.

Passing of the Flame/Joy To The World

Joy To The World

CCLI Song # 24016

George Frideric Handel | Isaac Watts

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders wonders of His love

Benediction

(Congregational response in bold)

For God’s unique presence in the life of Jesus we rejoice

For God’s steadfast presence in our lives we rejoice

For Jesus’ manifestation of God’s peace, love, and justice, we rejoice

For Jesus’ life of mercy, compassion, patience, we rejoice

For God’s call and promise as clear to us as it was to his disciples, we rejoice

For God’s immutable voice through the centuries, we rejoice

Come to us, Lord Jesus, be born in us this night

In our hearts, our minds, our lives

May the shining light of Jesus be kindled in us

May Jesus’ shining light be our shining truth 

Merry Christmas!

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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