God Is Near: We Welcome
Christmas Prayer focus: As Christ has welcomed you, as you have welcomed Christ, pray that you would welcome others as well, and praise.
Scripture: Luke 2: 1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.
Carol: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
December 25 Merry Christmas!
Scripture: John 1: 1-14
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being.
What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world.
The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him.
But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children, born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God.
The Word became flesh and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Carol: Joy to the World