This is the script for our Christmas program of live music this year and I wanted to share it with you all!
It’s that time of year again.
A time when children pull out wish lists, insisting they have been good all year long. A season of parents shopping in secret, hoping to pick the perfect gift for their family members. A time when neighbors race to put up lights and dot their yards with inflatable snowmen, moving reindeer and 3 foot candy canes. A time for company parties, to celebrate a year of hard work and hopefully prosperity, and to give back to the hard working employees. A time of warm food, egg nog, hot cocoa, cookies baked only once a year and passed around with glee.
Many people look forward to this time all year long and start planning as soon as the air changes to cool and crisp. Some people are overcome because it came too quickly, like a thief in the night.
All around the world, different festivities take place. Traditions are relived, some so old that we don’t even know where they came from.
Songs are sung. Decorations are hung.
It is a season of joy. A season of laughter. A season of love.
It is a season of gifts. And a season to remember the gift that was given for the world.
2000 years ago, a man named Joseph, from the family line of David was about to get news that would change his life. An unexpected gift.
The virgin woman he was engaged to, was pregnant. She had been told by the Angel Gabriel that she found favor with God and would bare a son who will be called the Son of the Most High and that He would be given the Throne of David, and his Kingdom will have no end.
Being a godly man, Joseph decided to quietly divorce her so she would not be put to shame. But when he had considered this, behold and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” Behold the Virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us”
The light had finally come. 700 years after Isaiah spoke about him, saying The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.
For the first time, a decree for a census was sent out and Joseph and Mary traveled 80 miles to Bethlehem as required by this law. When they arrived, the town was so crowded, there was no room for them at the inn. Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger.
In the same region there were some shepherds, staying in the fields and keeping watch over their flocks by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them’ and they were terribly afraid. But the angel said “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for TODAY in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
The shepherds could not contain their excitement and wonder and hurried to find this baby. When they found Mary and Joseph- they told them about the the angel and the events that led them there. When the shepherds left there, they Glorified God for what they saw and spread the news.
Mary treasured what was told to her and thought about it in her heart.
This child she carried was finally here. The one spoken about long before even she was born. The child that would do so much, today was a tiny newborn in her arms, yet already spreading joy in the hearts of the people and turning their praises to God.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship Him”.
This was likely no ordinary star, not like the star gazers and astronomers could track. This star moved WITH The Messiah, like the cloud covering the tabernacle of meeting. The star was likely the Shekinah glory of God, which had been absent for hundreds of years since the time of Moses- appearing once again as God’s presence was resting on the earth. This time, it was here in the flesh, born into our world through the long awaited gift of the Messiah.
These Magi knew of the prophecy of the coming King of the Jews which had been foretold over the generations and finally He had come, in their very own lifetime.
They traveled ready for The King, not empty handed but prepared to offer up the very best gifts fit for the King of Kings. They followed the star until it stood over the place where the child was. They came into the house of Joseph and Mary and when they saw Him, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy and fell down to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of God, Frankincense and Myrrh.
The Magi knew the king when they saw him. But no one understood that his Kingdom was not here on the earth. The Messiah would not overthrow the government and establish an earthly rule for the Jews as so many thought.
The Savior would gather men that were nobodies and teach them the ways of The Father, teach them to Love God and love each other. He would gift them with his time, his teachings and his presence on earth for a short season.
He would heal the blind, cause the lame to walk and bring the dead back to life. People would rejoice in the miracles that he does. Some would recognize him as Messiah in the Spiritual sense, but some would not. He would ride into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey while people praised him, laying down palm branches and their cloaks, shouting “Hosanna to the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” They presented their gifts to the King with shouts and adoration.
Seven days later, their hearts would change.
“Crucify Him!” They would shout as the gift they had been given was not one they expected. They wanted to return it. To cast it aside and wait for something else. Something that they understood. A victory. A warrior perhaps.
Once again, the prophecy would be fulfilled. The gift would be rejected.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities (and sin). the chastening for our well being fell upon him. And by his wounds we are healed.
God’s word tells us in Isa. 9:2- 7
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy. They rejoice before you as with joy and the harvest.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. On the throne of David, and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and evermore.
Jesus was given to us so that we may have life everlasting. His life did not end on the cross, but our lives BEGIN there. Our sin was taken so that we may be born into a kingdom that will never end.
For God so love the world that He GAVE his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This gift to us is free. It is eternal and it only gets better and better and each time we come to church to receive the word of God, it strengthens our faith. The word is a gift for us.
But what gift is God looking for?
Is it our tithe- is that fit enough to be counted as gold for the king?
Is it turning away from sins of the flesh? Does that offer up a sweet aroma like frankincense?
What about our time in serving in ministry to help others? Does that show obedience and love that Jesus talked about?
These are all wonderful things, but each one is still a gift for us and each other. Your giving allows the gift of the gospel to reach more people, and God blesses those that give out of gratitude. You giving your time to teach the children scriptures, or to greet new people at the door, or to sing a special song helps edify each other and make a place for them to belong and know God more. This is a blessing to God and he delights in it, but what gift is for Him alone?
What is a gift God look for day and night?
When the wise men came to Jesus, BEFORE they presented the physical gifts they selected and carried with them, they fell down and worshipped him. They gave first their worship and then presented treasures.
God seeks a gift of worship.
Worship is fit for God alone, it can be given in a group such as this when we sing songs together, surrounded by family and it can be given alone, just you and God in your home.
Worship is what God shows up for during our church services. The preaching, the offering, the fellowship and events are more gifts for you.
The Worship is fit for our King. The worship causes Him to leave his throne heaven and come down to earth to meet with us, if we build him a seat of praises large enough to hold Him.
In this season of merriment and joy and yes, gifts and tradition, offer up FIRST your worship that is for God alone and for no one else.
Let us rejoice in Him this season! Let us sing out with songs of praise and of worship. Let His presence be felt and known and make worship a gift that you offer up every day! Let worship fill your heart and praises fill your mouth.
Worship the King who is worthy and greatly to be Praised!
(O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL!)