Christmas 2006

Posted on 12/24/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning! Thank you for coming to worship with us on this Christmas Eve.

Hopefully today's service can be a bit less formal, and I want all of us to feel as though we're close family having a Christmas Eve celebration. After all, that's exactly what we are and what we're here to do.

Let's have the praise team come up now, as we prepare to honor Jesus' birth with song.

And as the praise team comes up, let's open today's gathering with prayer.


Lord God, thank you for this Christian family from all around the world, and that you have made it possible for us to gather here today, on the eve of the day we celebrate your birth.

I ask that our fellowship here today would be one of peace, joy, and the rememberance that you have given to us a gift that is greater than anything we have or will ever face in this life.

Be with us now in a tangible way, as you manifest your presence with us here today.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's sing to God, as we remember the birth of the Messiah into the world, God's perfect gift to mankind.


SILENT NIGHT

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth


DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see?
'Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?

A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?

A song, a song
High above the tree
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?


A Child, a Child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold

Said the king to the people ev'rywhere
Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people ev'rywhere
Listen to what I say!

The Child, the Child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light


O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL

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.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God's holy word.
Give to our Father 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.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
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.


O HOLY NIGHT

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!


Thank you, Father, for sending your only begotten Son to us, your gift of life, peace, joy, and love to us.

Thank you, Jesus, for saying to the Father, "Here am I, send me." You chose to clothe your glory and majesty in the flesh of a baby born in a stable. And you chose to suffer and die, pouring out your blood for us. Thank you for your gift of your own glory, your own life, so that we can be reconciled to God through you.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being present with us today, connecting us with the Father and the Son, and giving us all fellowship with you and with one another. And thank you for drawing us to Jesus, the divine baby who lived a sinless life, and willingly laid down his life, dying in our place, becoming our sin so we can be seen as righteous, blameless, and holy to God.

May our gathering here today be holy in your sight, and we know that you are gathering together with us, feasting with us, your family, and drawing those who don't yet know you into your transforming, healing embrace.

And it's in Jesus' precious name we pray.

Amen.


You can all be seated.


I'm not planning to preach a sermon today, but instead would like to just talk a few minutes about this wonderous gift God sent to us in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

First let's read the account of God's entrance into the world as the long-awaited Savior.

We'll be reading today from the book of Matthew, chapter one, beginning with verse eighteen.


Matthew Chapter 1

18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened like this: While his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph,  before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wishing to make her a public example, was  intending to put her away secretly.
 
20. But while he thought about these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a  dream, saying, "Joseph, you son of David, do not be afraid to take unto you Mary as your wife, for  that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21. "And she will bring forth a son, and you will call his name JESUS, for he will save his people  from their sins."
 
22. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,  saying,
23. "Behold, a virgin will be with child, and will bring forth a son, and they will call his name  Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, 'God with us'."
 
24. Then Joseph, being roused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had told him, and took unto him  his wife,
25. And did not know her intimately until she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his  name JESUS.


Chapter 2

1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came  wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2. Saying, "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have  come to worship him."


So the birth of Jesus, the Lamb of God, born in a lowly stable, was the wonder of the ages, the miracle to which all of the Old Testament law and the prophets were pointing.

Have you ever wondered what was going on in heaven as this time drew near? And beyond this, have you ever wondered if the Father and the Son talked about us, planning the entrance of Jesus into the world?

In Hebrews chapter ten, beginning with the first verse, we read the reason Jesus came to earth as the sacrificial lamb for your and my sins. And we read the dialog that took place as the Father and the Messiah discussed what would be done to ransom us from the eternal separation from God our sins create.

1. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make those who came thereunto perfect.
2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins.
3. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
 
5. For this reason, when (Jesus) came into the world, he said, "Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but a body have you prepared me.
6. "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.
7. "Then I said, 'Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.'"


In the womb of a virgin, God prepared a body for Jesus to dwell. And as Jesus was awaiting the birth, his spirit spoke with his Father, "Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but a body have you prepared me. I have come to do your will, O God."


Only the most depraved creature could know the truth and still tell you the lie that God is evil, that he doesn't want you or love you, and that he is the cause of pain and suffering in the world.

It was because of you and me, because of our hopeless plight we had created, that he took on flesh that was destined to be torn for you and for me.

It is we, by our choices to not follow after our creator, that the evils in the world take place -- murder, rape, abuse, and every horrific crime against mankind that has ever taken place.

In each one of us lies this same wicked nature, whether we do things that are obviously evil, or whether we do things that we don't even realize are destroying us who God loves, and those around us.

But Jesus took on flesh so we would be able to know the Truth, and so the Truth could set us free to live in the light, to partake of the joy of truly living, and to rest in the peace of having our sins wiped away and having our name written in the Lamb's Book of Life.


In John chapter one verses ten and eleven we read,  "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world did not know him. He came unto his own, and his own did not receive him."


So many times, humanity has turn against its only hope. And it was no different on this day two thousand years ago. Everything the prophets had foretold for thousands of years about the Salvation and redemption of the human race was coming into the world, but the world passed him by.

Don't pass God's miracle gift by today. The bright star of Bethlehem is shining above your heart today in the form of the Holy Spirit. And the wonder of the ages, the treasure of all creation, and the redemption of mankind and of your own heart, is waiting to be born in you today, and to make you a brand new creation.

Can you feel the gentle pulling on your heart? The pure light shining on your soul? The voice of Jesus saying to you, "Today I stand at your door and knock. If you will hear my voice, and will open the door to me, then I will come into your heart, and we will have a feast of joy, peace, forgiveness, and love." (Revelation 3:20)

Open the door of your heart to Jesus today, and he will come in and fill that lonely emptiness deep inside you.

Many of us have already opened our hearts to Jesus, and he is the Lord of our lives. And the Holy Spirit has been shining over us like the bright star of Bethlehem. Something conceived of the Holy Spirit has been growing inside of you, and it is time for it to be born.

Let's all pray together, opening our hearts to Jesus, and to the new things he wants to birth in our lives. Everyone pray this together with me. Don't type the prayer, but pray to God in your hearts and with your mouth in your own words. And we pray:

"Jesus, thank you for being so patient with me. Thank you for knocking on my heart's door, and on the door of the rooms in my heart I have tried to keep to myself. I answer your call to me today, and I open my heart, all of me, to you today.

"Come inside my heart, Lord Jesus, and into those rooms over which has been shining your Holy Spirit's light. Forgive me for my sins, and wash me clean. Make me a brand new creation, with old things completely passed away, and all things made brand new.

"Today I celebrate your birth, asking you to be born in me today, and for your will to be born in those areas of my life over which you've been hovering.

"Thank you Jesus! I give you all the glory and honor, for you and you alone are worthy! Amen."


Let's all gather around the front for a little while, singing a few songs celebrating the entrance of Jesus into the world, and into our lives, and then we'll close with prayer.

Everyone gather at the front now. Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!


O COME LET US ADORE HIM

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 citizens
of heaven 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

See how the shepherds
summoned to his cradle
leaving their flocks
drawing nigh to gaze
We too will thither
bend our joyful footsteps

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


HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mind,
God and sinners reconciled!"

Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th'angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the God-head see;
hail th'incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"


JOY TO THE WORLD

Joy to the world,
the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing

Joy to the world,
the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ;
while fields and floods,
rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.


THE FIRST NOEL

The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel

They looked up and saw a shining star
in the east beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel


Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us this time to celebrate your birth together. I pray a special blessing on all those here, that you give them peace and joy this Christmas season, and that they feel your love wrapped all around them.

I ask for those here and those not with us today, that you give them safety and protection, as many of them travel to see loved ones.

I pray for those who do not have family or friends with whom they can spend this time, that you let them feel your presence as never before. May this Christmas season mark a brand new chapter in their life, a brand new beginning, as they come to know you more deeply and intimately than ever before.

And it's in your holy name we pray.

Amen.

If you need prayer or ministry, please instant message one of the ministry team. The rest of you are free to go, and I hope you'll join us next door in the fellowship room for our time of fellowship. And may all of you have a very Merry Christmas!

Now may "The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.  The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

Amen.