Come and join us Christmas morning as we worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ with music and Narration.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a Byzantine Bishop who lived over 1800 years ago in what is now present day Turkey which at that time was part of the Roman Empire. Saint Nicholas was known for his kindness and generosity. The story goes, there was an impoverished family with 3 daughters. The father had no money to pay for his daughters wedding dowry. However when it came time for his daughters to find a husband, gold bags would miraculously be found in the home. Saint Nicholas had provided the gold in order for these women to find suitable husbands. It was said that he would throw the bags of gold through the window, or even down the chimney. As the women dried their stockings by the fire, sometimes the gold would land in the stockings. And so was the filling the stockings on Christmas Day was born. Over the years Saint Nicholas became known as Santa Claus and his legacy of giving gifts was celebrated throughout the centuries on December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. As a Bishop he would hold a curved cane called a pastoral staff. During the middle ages in order to keep children well behaved during Mass parents would distribute sweet sticks which they would bend to make them look like the pastoral staff. Thus the candy cane was born. Marin Luther eventually decided to move this tradition of giving gifts to December 25th. Giving gifts was Christ-like therefore the name Christmas was born.
We all have fond memories of Christmas as a child. Those magical times when we were young with our eyes all aglow and found it hard to sleep that night. We knew that Santa was on his way. How many of us would stay up late that night to see if reindeer really knew how to fly?
The Christmas Song (Words are found in your program)
We are going to jump ahead to 1940s with a carol that came out as Americans were in the midst of World War II. The lyrics resonated with soldiers longing to be home, “If only in my dreams.” It came out of a time when we had servicemen fighting a war in Europe against tyranny and one day a year, maybe, the serviceman got a breather from fighting and had a chance to reflect on the happy times and the things they would like to get back to.
I’ll be Home for Christmas (Words are found in your program)
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that arthighly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among woman. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive…and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.
Stars were Gleaming (CSB 37, Words are found in your program)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Mary and her new husband Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to be identified and counted for the census. 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.
O Holy Night (Words are found in your program)
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 Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains 212
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. The shepherds hurried to the stable where they found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. And when they had seen Jesus, 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 by the shepherds.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear 207
The Spirit guided a just and devout man named Simeon to the temple on the same day Mary and Joseph brought the baby there. Simeon had long known by revelation that he would see his Savior before his death. When Simeon saw the baby Jesus, he cradled him in his arms…and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy work; For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And there was one Anna, a prophetess…served God with tastings and pryers night and day. And she coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
What Child is This? (Words are found in your program)
When wise men from the east saw a new star over Bethlehem, they knew the prophecy had been fulfilled: And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joys. And when they were come to the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh
The First Noel 213
For unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Please stand for the Hallelujah Chorus played by Sister Skousen and Sister Sell
Wise men and women still seek after Jesus. If we prepare ourselves, like Anna and Simeon did, we too will know our Savior. With the angels, we rejoice in the peace and good will the gospel brings. Like the shepherds, we can tell everyone the good news of the gospel. Sometimes, the greatest miracles begin in humble circumstances, like a lowly stable. Like Mary, we know that with God, nothing is impossible.
Silent Night 204 (Closing Hymn)