Pastors Introduction: A Christmas Eve candlelight service is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. It provides time for us to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and an inspirational and uplifting escape from the hustle and bustle of the season. I pray you are blessed by what is presented today and that God will be glorified through it.
Christmas, what does it mean? It is where we recognize the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God.
Why do we need a savior? When God created the world it was perfect, there was no pain, no suffering, Adam and Eve lived in a garden and life was good. But then Satan tempted Adam and Eve, and because what happened, sin entered into the world. God knew that man alone could not solve the problem of sin, so He created a solution in sending His Son Jesus into the World, to pay the price for all our sin.
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to earth in a humble manner. The Savior of the world and God of all creation put on humanity to be born a babe, giving hope of salvation to all who turn from their sin and believe on Him.
Billions of Christians around the world now choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus during this time of year. This was no accident.. it was an execution of a glorious plan with Godly intent.
Prophecies were written in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ, His life and ministry. 700 years before Jesus was born, The Prophet Isaiah said, as written in:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The profit Micah, as written in Micah 5:2 prophesied that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem. And there are hundreds of other prophecies written about Jesus in the Old Testament, many years before he was even born.
Today we will celebrate that blessed Christ-mas event by reading the accounts of Luke and Matthew in the Bible, and we will sing a few songs that corollate with these blessed events. Will you please now turn in your Bibles to:
Luke 2:1-7, page 58
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
121 – O Little Town of Bethlehem 1,4
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
106 – Hark the Herald Angles Sing 1,2
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
113 – Angels We Have Heard On High 1,2,3
Matthew 1:18-25, page 8
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
120 – Joy to the World 1,2
So that is indeed something to be Joyous about. Jesus was born, Savior of the world. What follows now is His own words to us today as written by the Apostle John, before Jesus was taken to the cross.
John 3:16-21, page 94
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
Light Candles around the alter
117 – Silent Night 1,2,3