THE CANDLE OF LOVE
God’s chosen people often turned away from the Law and were less than faithful, yet, they were still God’s chosen people. Long before Christ was born, God made a promise to King David that his throne would be established forever through God’s faithful love.
On the night Christ came to earth, that promise was fulfilled – out of the house of David the Saviour arose, a Saviour given to redeem the whole world.
God’s love for us truly does endure forever, and in remembrance of God’s mighty acts through Jesus Christ we light the Candle of Love.
Let us pray: Lord God, help us always to remember that we are redeemed through our belief in Your Son. No matter how far we stray, You’re always right there waiting for us, loving us. We rejoice in Your steadfast love for all people of the world, fulfilled in the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
P.S. This one was not light that day.
Proverbs 22 verse 6
Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life."
Light of the World, Come
In this Advent season we await the coming of Christ.
Light of the World, come,
Come to the oppressed and exploited,
Come to the despised and rejected,
Come to all in whom the divine image is distorted.
We wait in joyful expectation.
Come not as a man of power, but in love and compassion,
Come to the outcast – like the shepherds in the fields,
Come to foreigners – like Magi watching from afar,
Come to rich and poor, young and old, male and female,
We wait in hopeful anticipation.
Come to bless all creation with your love,
Come to bring salvation on the earth,
Come to rule with justice and in peace.
Come Light of the World, illuminate our path.
We wait with all the peoples of the earth,
Light of the World, we welcome your coming.
CALL TO WORSHIP:
One: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not
All: We are easily distracted by our world’s darkness of despair
pessimism. Source of light, God, please shine in our lives and in
your world with your life-giving joy.
THE CANDLE OF JOY
More than 2000 years ago the Glory of God was revealed to us through the birth of Christ Jesus. A glorious miracle sent down from heaven. But many people refused to believe in this miracle, even though they had been waiting for it for so long.
That night, the Lord came to live with a humble and poor family – a family with room in their hearts and faithfulness to the Lord. A family who was ready to receive a miracle of joy.
This morning, we light the Candle of Joy. This light reminds us that not only do miracles happen around us every day, but that every day we are called to show God’s miraculous love and joy to others.
Let us pray: Lord God, we need Your help today. Help us to make room for the miracles and joy in our lives that the Light of Christ might shine through us again. Amen.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” Joe
Generous God, we thank you for bringing us to this season of faith, hope, and love. As we look at our lives, we see evidence of the countless ways that you have provided for our needs. Let gratitude well up in our hearts and overflow in generosity to others. Draw us outward to see ways that we can joyfully share what you have given. Let our acts of kindness as a church bear good fruit in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Luke 3:7-18)
ANTHEM: Shepherds Heard Choir
SERMON: “ Joy to the World “ Kevin Harvey
Joy to the world!
Luke 2:10-11 New International Version (NIV)10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Introduction. The song "joy to the world" is a familiar Carol with a powerful message based in Scripture. I will let the first opening verse be the outline for today's message.
A : Joy to the world
B: The Lord is come
C: Let earth receive her King
JOY TO THE WORLD.
The word joy or the idea of joy is found throughout the Scriptures. it is a prominent idea and justice pertinent as "love and it should be and must be a characteristic of every believer who puts his or her faith in Christ.
Below are some verses that speak on joy or joyfulness. They're wise words from Peter and Paul, and King David and others. We get to see The context in which "joy or joyfulness" is being used
Peter says "be joyful in sufferings" 1 Peter 4 vs 13
Paul. "joyful in persecution". Colossians 1 vs 11
Paul, "Fruit of the spirit". Galatians 5 vs 22
David "fellowship with God". Psalms 63 vs 6-9
Matthew "inheritance of a servant". Matthew 25 vs 23
Sorrow and suffering is temporary. While Joy is in inheritance that is eternal!
THE LORD IS COME
The Lord did, as a child. We celebrate that each Christmas, but the message of the Lord's coming is so much more than that, for the Scriptures speak of a twofold coming, that is the Lord comes the Lamb to take away the sins of the world, by way of birth death burial and resurrection. And He also comes as A righteous King to rule and judge his people and the world.
Luke 2:8-14 New International Version (NIV)
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Micah 5:2 New International Version (NIV)
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Daniel 9:25 New International Version (NIV)
25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
Isaiah 7:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING
This final part and message is the most important message for all mankind. It is the reason for our existence, that is to know God.To worship Him in spirit and truth.To receive Him as King.
We all love innocent baby Jesus. We all respect Jesus as a teacher Rabbi. But we forget, that our Lord Jesus, ultimate role is to be King..
Handles Messiah, got it right, when he quoted the Scriptures. "King of kings, Lord of lords"
Hallelujah Hallelujah Joy to the world, also has the message right. let's look at a few scriptures
A - Matthew 21:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
B- Matthew 25:31-36 New International Version (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
C- 1 Timothy 6:11-16 New International Version (NIV)
Final Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
But today our world as a whole, rejects the authority of God, we don't want Him interfering in our life. Basically we want to be, masters of our own domain, rulers of ourselves. That! Is the issue.
Psalm 2:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
1 Why do the nations conspire[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
Man reject God and God laughs
Revelation 19:11-16 New International Version (NIV)
The Heavenly Warrior Defeats the Beast
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Ultimately God and His people win in the battle over good and evil at Christ's return, when he will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords.
This is the good news of Christmas. It is Gods message of hope for all mankind.
THE CANDLE OF PEACE
We are a people accustomed to waiting.
Waiting in line. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for that call.
But are we waiting for the right things this December?
Are we waiting for the Lord?
Advent is a season of waiting, but this year let it also be a season of giving.
Long ago, God saw His children had a great need for a Saviour, but even now there’s need for Christ to come into our lives.
But as we wait for Christ to be revealed to us again, let us not wait to do the good Christ has called us to do.
This day we light the Candle of Peace for our Lord, the Prince of Peace.
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: SEE, THE SEASON HAS TURNED, THE TIME HAS NOW COME.
ALL: HE SIGNS ARE EVERYWHERE, SIGNALING GOD’S ARRIVAL.
ONE: LIKE CLAY SMOOTHED BY THE POTTER, WE WILL BE
ALL: WE WILL DREAM, WE WILL CONCEIVE OF IDEAS GREAT AND SMALL,
ONE: PREPARE US FOR THE JOURNEY OF ADVENT,
ALL: PREPARE FOR THE ADVENTURE OF FINDING YOU BORN ANEW IN OUR LIVES.
As of the end of this year Debbie has decided to retire from teaching Sunday School. We thank Debbie with all our hearts, for all of her dedicated loving work educating our children about God and his eternal love. THANKS!
Norm & Rob - Star of Bethlehem
SERMON: WHAT CAN I GIVE HIM??
GIFTS OF LOVE.
Isn’t it strange! We Christians start our Christmas journey with the season of Advent right through to Epiphany, while the secular world starts their Christmas journey with a spending spree from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and then on to Boxing Day.
It appears that consumerism has taken over and secular Holidays are calling the shots. Do you wonder why Black was picked for their festive color, Why not a bright Yellow, Green or Red a colour that would fit in with our Christian heritage.
Retail stores companies prefer the colour Black for they know many shoppers unwittingly end up in the RED, why remind us! And the Credit Card companies prefer sound of Black, they re happy the colour black doesn’t remind us we are going deeper into the Red.
We could say “It’s called Black Friday because only in America people tramples others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for all that they already have!!!”
As we approach Christmas the sound in the malls seems to get louder and louder reminding me of a comic strip I saw several Christmases ago.
The first eight panels showed a women wandering in various malls and other locations, surrounded by Christmas festivities and the last panel she’s sitting in an empty church and telling the minister, “I just need a place to get away from Christmas for a while.”
What do we hear at Christmas time? “Do you hear what I hear,”
oft in the distance, above the din of Christmas carols we hear the ringing of the Salvation Army bells and the clinking of the coins falling into the Christmas Kettle. It’s a reminder we still have the poor and homeless who must rely on our loonies and toonies.
Maybe it’s a good time for us to retreat to the church and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas---Questions like, “Why did God send Jesus?—What was his mission?—What is expected of me?”
To find answers, we turn to the prophet Isaiah who tells us the Good News is not for the privileged, but is directed to those most ignored in their time and sadly in our time as well.
Listen to Isaiah.(Isaiah 61:1-2)
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring Good News to the oppressed,
To bind up the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And release to the prisoners and
To comfort all who mourn.”
Isaiah’s words where not only for his time 400BC but also for 2016.
The Isaiah scroll is long and bulky and this passage is located towards the end, there Jesus found these words to preach to his hometown in Nazareth.
Jesus had put his hometown, and the world, ON NOTICE. His mission is to preach the GOOD NEWS to those on the margin of society, these are the ones God favours.
The folks in Nazareth were not too happy People never like to be reminded about the poor, the prisoners, the handicapped in the community.
The prophets of old and Jesus reminds us that God’s heart is not always given to us church folks. He loves us, yes, BUT IT’S THAT LOST SHEEP, THE MISSING COIN, THE PRODIGAL SON who Jesus wants to help.
This rubs some church people the wrong way!
You know the story- Jesus came back to his hometown-- where the folks knew him and he had the nerve to tell them the truth, to quote the prophet Isaiah and Jesus suggested God is focused on the poor. They were ready to kill him.
This time of the year we have too many other things on our minds and we don’t like being reminded Jesus’ priority was the poor, especially during the Christmas season.
Just as the woman in the cartoon retreated into the church, “We just need a place to get away from the hub-hub of Christmas, find some time to think.”
If all this buying and wrapping and partying is all there is too Christmas. The question remains,
“How are we Christians to respond to Christmas? What is expected of us?
A generation ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono sang a beautiful song that asks the question:
AND SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS,
AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
ANOTHER YEAR OLDER,
A NEW ONE JUST BEGUN.
How might we answer that question? “So this is Christmas and What have we done?
What are we planning to do, once Christmas day is past?
It seems only natural as we think about Christmas our minds go to the subject of gifts and gift-giving.
Some of us have already started shopping, maybe some are wrapping, some getting gifts ready to send by parcel post. Some thinking “I’ve overdone it again.” or Maybe you haven’t started your shopping and panic is starting to sets in.
All that wonderful preparation for Christmas, the buying and wrapping, the cooking and baking, the decorating, the partying—it’s fantastic! But where are they taking us?
If it’s just a day of celebration, it seems a bit hollow!!
We all know there is a point to Christmas that goes far beyond a day or even a season.
If we are open to God’s love, as we listen story of Christ birth, the Christmas Carols and hear Handel’s beautiful MESSIAH. Christmas can completely transform our lives.
Now I don’t want to put additional pressure on gift giving, but there’s one more present that we need to think about.
WHAT GIFT WILL WE GIVE TO GOD AFTER CHRISTMAS?
God gave us her love as a free gift, no strings attached, how might we show our gratitude?
It’s only reasonable to give God something in return, don’t you think?
Of course it would be a lot easier during these holidays,
-- if the poor didn’t need help,
--if our first nations didn’t need better accommodations and clean drinking water.
-- The senior didn’t need better health care and
--the homeless weren’t so visible on the streets, and the drug addicts weren’t overdosing.
All these needs demand extra work, extra caring and lots of cash.
It seems God is calling us to break away from this seasonal trap “Christmas for a day” we seem to be caught in.
**I heard of one homeless shelter held a Christmas Campaign in the month of January. They were bombarded with questions and many people were curious about the timing.
“Why now? Don’t you know Christmas is passed? Did you miss the boat? Aren’t you starting the end of the year a little early?”
To which the church replied “We are inviting you to respond to Christmas. We are providing you with the opportunity to keep the spirit of Christmas alive.”
Sadly the response was quite dismissal—it seems that people had already “finished” celebrating the birth of Christ it was over.
We seem to be on a high after our celebration of God’s gift of grace until about the end of January and Blue Monday kicks in.
Imagine “Blue Monday” the last Monday in January, the day people traditionally hit their deepest depression due to the dark and cold winter weather and it comes barely a month after we Christians have so boldly claimed the arrival of the light of the world.
Something is wrong with this picture.
Have you noticed, as we light the Advent Candle and hear the Christmas message something unique happens, this is the only time of the year when, even if we do not consider ourselves singers, we sing hymns in public, we dare to raise our voices in all sorts of places.
Well I think it’s wonderful having our choral group out into our community and I urge each of us to search out friends and family who are alone this Christmas and share our God given gift of LOVE with them and wipe Blue Monday off the calendar.
Why not take our gift to God a bit further? Let’s knock down the doors of the church taking our Advent candles into the world.
Using Emails-Face-book entries let’s parade the light from the candles down to Town Hall meetings—to the Canadian House of Parliament—the UN security committee—the Trade talks and Peace Negotiations.
This will give our ADVENT CANDLES a chance to shine as a beacon, not only to us in church, but to those in power, a reminder that their decisions must help bring about God’s promise to bring PEACE, JOY, HOPE AND LOVE to all people.
Let us be brave and bold why not spread God’s gift of love every day of the year. I don’t think God could ask for a better gift.
A century before John Lennon and Yoko Ono sang “So this is Christmas,” another Poet Christina Rossetti offered these words;
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb.
If I was a wise one, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give him: I give my heart.
May we do the same this Christmas and beyond.
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