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CHURCH YEAR - CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

 

BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH

Christmas Eve

PASTOR’S WELCOME AND PRAYER

ADVENT WREATH AND READING

Christ is the Light of the World

 

Tonight we re-light four candles representing

  • Promise of Messiah/Savior
  • Light of the World come to Earth
  • Love of God and Joy of Salvation
  • Hope of the Second Coming
  • and the center white candle, the Christ candle.

 THE LORD’S SUPPER

PASTOR’S MEDITATION

BENEDICTION

 

Please turn on your candle now as we sing the first stanza of “SILENT NIGHT”.

 

At the end of the singing, please leave the sanctuary in quiet worship of our Savior and put the candles in the basket near the door.

CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY

[Person, not Pastor, lights the four Advent candles as service starts.]

[Reader 5-6 minutes]

Waiting. And watching.  The Advent season is a time of waiting for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, Messiah. And watching for His return.

Candles remind us that Christ is the Light of the World.

Light was God’s first creation.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Light led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

David wrote,

The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?

The prophet Isaiah predicted Messiah.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those  living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.   

Simeon recognized Messiah when he saw the baby Jesus in the Temple.

a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

Jesus used the words only YAHWEH God could use: I AM.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John wrote, 

  In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Our Christian walk is guided by His light.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

In the book of Revelation, John describes the New Jerusalem, the Holy City.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. There will be no more night.

From the beginning to the end. Light.

[Light the Christ candle.]

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

 

PASTOR'S MEDI TATION: The Good News of Great Joy

The welcome that Jesus received—or didn't receive—had spiritual significance. It showed that He was coming to live among sinners and demonstrated the humility that led Him to the cross.

But it was not right for His advent to go unrecognized. So God sent angels to tell people the Good News of Great Joy. The first people to hear this Good News were shepherds.

·    Shepherds were outcasts

·    Only lepers were a lower class of men in Israel.

·    Because they lived out in the fields, they were unable to keep the ceremonial Law, so they were treated as unclean.

·    Their testimony was inadmissible in a court of law.

 Why shepherds?

×    Their presence at the manger shows that salvation is for everyone.

These were the men God wanted to hear the Gospel. Like everything about the birth of Christ, this upsets our expectations. We tend to think that God is for the good people, when in fact He is for needy sinners who are desperate for grace as Mary sang in Luke 1:52,

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

What the shepherds saw out in the fields that night absolutely terrified them:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear."

 Every word in the angel's announcement was important.

·    The words "fear not" offered reassurance.

·    The word the angel used for "good news" eventually became the title for Luke's book. It is the Greek word for proclaiming the gospel, “evangelize”.

·    The words of the promise in Isaiah 61:1 were coming true: Good News was being preached to the poor.

 Here is the Good News of the manger.

×    A child is born! A Son is given!

×    The angel made a birth announcement about a boy of flesh and blood.

×    The Good News brought "Great joy for all the people.”

×    God had become a man to save His people.

The joyful Good News in Luke 1 was about the birth of a baby, but by the time we reach the end of Luke, we will discover that the Good News also includes a death and a resurrection.

1 Corinthians 11:27-34 says,

Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. If we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

These verses tell us that we are to examine our lives before we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

·    We are to look for sin.

·    We are to confess that sin.

·    We will thus avoid God’s judgment.

 We are to reaffirm our commitment.

·    When we partake, we are making a reaffirmation of our faith.

 We are to remember our Savior’s sacrifice.

·    to keep our spirits humble before God.

·    to remind us of the seriousness of sin.

 We are to recall our participation in His death.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:6-8)

This participation pictured in the Supper is actually spiritual.

We are to relive our acceptance of the work of His body and blood as we eat and drink.

·    This is picturing something already done.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)

·    This acceptance is by faith. 

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:53-57)

We are to rejoice in our oneness with Jesus.

I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

·    Christ is in us, and we are in Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

 

Partaking of the Lord’s Supper on Christmas Eve reminds us that the only reason the baby Jesus was born was that as JESUS MESSIAH He could die and be raised to save the world from sin. It is the Gospel of the cross and the empty tomb which we remember in the Lord’s Supper which we are to observe this until He returns.