“Jesus is the Word of life.”
Candle Lighter: “We proclaim to you...”
Response: “…the one who existed from the beginning.”
Scripture: I John 1:1-10
1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Additional Reading: Luke 2:1-20
2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
The pairing of these two pericopes is profound. The I John passage sounds a great deal like the opening of John’s gospel, which is not surprising since scholars generally affirm that the Apostle John, “the one whom Jesus loved,” wrote both of them. Luke included “the Christmas story” in his account concerning the life of Jesus. Scholars believe his primary source was Mary, the mother of Jesus. What you have is John’s declaring the One who has existed from the beginning is the Word of life. Like Peter, he appeals to his first hand, primary source, of eyewitness evidence as to the authenticity of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, the giver of eternal life. John continues with references to God and light, reminiscent of Genesis 1, where the light came to bring order to chaos and darkness at the dawn of creation. In the epistle, the light is again associated with creation again bringing order to chaos and darkness, but not an earthly creation but the spiritual creation of fellowship with the God and other believers via the cleansing blood of Jesus. The Lukan passage narrates the thread of the creation of fellowship with God from a different perspective. In this case, the Light has entered the world in the form of a flesh and blood human baby. The general creation has now become specific as God’s grand plan comes into full play, that of restoring a broken, dark world. Heaven rejoices as the angels sing a great song of rejoicing. Rejoice this day! The Light of the world has come and is coming again!
Music: “Many Moods of Christmas” Suite 1 Atlanta Symphony and Chorus Robert Shaw
“Many Moods of Christmas” all four Suites of Christmas Music about an hour in length. Atlanta Symphony and Chorus and Robert Shaw
Almighty God, we give thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart for the coming of a Savior, and the constant promise of thy Word that He was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble sighs and panting aspirations of ancient men and ages, and own that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in Him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. We bless thee for the tribute that we can pay to Him from our very sense of need and dependence, and that our own hearts can so answer from their wilderness, the cry, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” In us, the rough places are to be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride brought low, and the valleys of despondency lifted up. O God, prepare Thou the way in us now, and may we welcome anew Thy Holy Child. Hosanna! Blessed be He who cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen
― Rev. Samuel Osgood, 1862, Prayers Ancient and Modern
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