Order of Worship – December 6th, 2020

Preliminaries: Welcome and Announcements

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We Give Glory to God

Call to Worship: “Colossians 1:15-17”                                                                    

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.   

Hymn of Acclamation: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Charles Wesley, 1739 (alt. George Whitfield)                                      

 Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”                                 

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that we no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth,
Born to give us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

We Mourn the Reality of Sin

Hymn of confession: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”                     
12th century; trans. Neale, 1851

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
Unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave. [Refrain]

O come, O Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
And bar the way to death’s abode. [Refrain]

O come, O King of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
And be yourself our King of Peace. [Refrain]

Prayer of Confession: “Romans 1:18-23”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 

22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

We Celebrate Christ as Our Redeemer

Assurance of Hope: “Isaiah 9:2,6”                                  

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.

For to 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.

Hymn of Redemption: “A Great and Mighty Wonder”
St. Germanus (634-734); arr. Tom McConnell, 2016

A great and mighty wonder, 
Redemption drawing near near: 
The Virgin bears the infant, 
The Prince of peace is here! 
And with that lowly maiden, we join to sing again:
“To God on high be glory, and peace on earth to men.” 

The Word becomes incarnate 
And yet remains on high, 
The shepherds hear the anthem 
As glory fills the sky. 
And with those humble shepherds 
We join to sing again
“To God on High be glory and peace on earth to men!” 

The angels sing the story,
‘Rejoice, O distant lands,’
You valleys, forests, mountains 
And oceans, clap your hands!’ 
And joining with Creation we sing that hymn again:
“To God on high be glory and peace on earth to men!” 

He comes to save all nations, 
Let all now hear His word, 
Approach and bring Him worship, 
The Savior and the Lord. 
And we who know His saving grace Will join to sing again: 
“To God on high be glory and peace on earth to men!”

Reading: “Isaiah 9:1-7”

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 

 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 at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to 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 to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Prayer for the Proclamation of God’s Word 

Sermon: “A Thrill of Hope, Part 2: The Light in the Darkness”
Davis Lacey – “Isaiah 9:1-7” (plus selection from Isaiah 7 & 8)

Main Point: “Because God has shared our suffering, we can walk out of darkness and live in the light of Christ.”

                                      i.     The Darkness (select sections of Isaiah 7 and 8)

                                    ii.     The Light (Isaiah 9:1-7)

                                  iii.     Life in the Light (Isaiah 8:11-9:7)

We Respond to the Gospel

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Brooks, 1868                                                                                                 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;                                                                                                                Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by:
Yet in thy  dark  streets shineth the everlasting Light; 
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Hymn of the New Creation: “Is He Worthy?”
Peterson and Shive, 2018

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)

Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this? (He is!)

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)
And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From every people and tribe Every nation and tongue He has made us a kingdom and priests to God To reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this? (He is!)
Is He worthy? Is He worthy? (He is!) (He is!)                                           

Benediction and Sending