December 1, 2019
This Sunday begins our liturgical season of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting. The word simply means "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event." We reflect during this season on the darkness and longing for the coming of Christ that was experienced before his birth – his first advent. We also experience the waiting and longing for the fulfillment of his promise that he will come again – his second advent. In our culture, this season is particularly important to observe. We are filled with haste during this time and having the season of Advent correspond directly with it is truly a gift we ought not to miss. Here's a short article on why we should celebrate it if you'd like to read more about the season: Why Celebrate Advent? This week, we'll look particularly on the coming of Jesus as both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
Prelude – "Fullness of Grace"
We'll begin the service by singing of the promised coming of Christ long hoped for. "Fullness of hope in Christ we had longed for. Promise of God in Jesus. Through his obedience we are forgiven, opening the floodgates of heaven. All our hopes and dreams we bring gladly as an offering. Fullness of life and joy unspeakable, God's gift of love to the world."
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
The corporate singing will begin with what is perhaps the most well-known advent hymn. There's good reason for this! Each of its verses are full of advent themes taken from the Scriptures. "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 thee, O Israel."
"From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable"
This song does a great job telling the gospel story. The first verse is what relates directly to our morning, "From the squalor [think of this as filth] of a borrowed stable, by the Spirit and a virgin's faith; to the anguish and the shame of scandal came the Savior of the human race! But the skies were filled with the praise of heaven, shepherds listen as the angels tell of the Gift of God come down to man at the dawning of Immanuel."
"Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus"
This hymn is much like the first, it is full of themes taken directly from Scripture. We sing a version that has a new chorus added to the beginning and the ending. Together with the first verse it sings, "Fully God, fully man, Christ is born in Bethlehem. Son of God, Son of man, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend. Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart."
Response – "Doxology"
As with all our baptism Sundays, we'll end the service with an a cappella doxology as we lift our voices together in glad thanksgiving for what the Lord has revealed to us on this day. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him, all creatures, here below. Praise him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!"