PRELUDE – “Joy to the World” by Chris Rice

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

Song –

What Child Is This, Who, Laid to Rest?” by William Chatterton Dix

LIGHTING OF THIRD ADVENT CANDLE

Speaker: “Today we light the first, second, and third Advent candles…”

Speaker: The first candle reminded us of the prophets who foretold of the coming of Christ, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The second candle reminds us of God’s preparation for the coming of the Christ-Child, to be born in Bethlehem of Judah. The third candle reminds us that the Shepherds were the first to receive the glorious news of the birth of Christ. Just as they received this news, when they had witnessed it for themselves, they too became messengers for Christ.

Speaker: God uses messengers to tell His wonderful news. Isaiah 52 says this about God’s messengers: “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God” (Is. 52:7-10).

Speaker: The shepherds received from the angels the wonderful news telling them of the birth of the Savior.

Congregation: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 sore afraid. 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye 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” (Lk. 2:8-14).

Speaker: The shepherds acted on the news given them by the angels, and then they, too became messengers!

Congregation: “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” (Lk. 2:15-18).

Song –

Silent Night” by Franz Xaver Gruber, John Freeman Young, and Joseph Mohr

CONFESSION OF FAITH – The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,

the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth,

and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten Son of God,

begotten of the Father before all worlds;

God of God, Light of Light,

very God of very God;

begotten, not made,

being of one substance with the Father,

by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation,

came down from heaven,

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit

of the virgin Mary,

and was made man;

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered and was buried;

and the third day He rose again,

according to the Scriptures;

and ascended into heaven,

and sits on the right hand of the Father;

and He shall come again, with glory,

to judge the quick and the dead;

whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord and Giver of Life;

who proceeds from the Father and the Son;

who with the Father and the Son

together is worshipped and glorified;

who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;

and I look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – New City Catechism Q 26

Song –

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley, Michael Adler, and William Walker

SCRIPTURE READING – Ephesians 2:11-12

SERMON – “What If Christ Had Never Been Born?”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

Hallelujah What a Savior” by Philip Paul Bliss

All I Have is Christ” by Jordan Kauflin

OFFERING

Songs –

O, Holy Night” by Adolphe Charles Adam, John Sullivan Dwight, Placide Cappeau

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” by Edmund Hamilton Sears and Richard Storrs Willis

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” by Andrew Peterson

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