We begin our Christmas series in earnest this week! Our theme this Holiday Season is “The Gifts of Christ.” It’s almost a cliché that on Christmas, God gave us the greatest gift he could give: his only Son. As with many clichés, that statement is true, but we are nevertheless not likely to think about the reason it is true. So this year we want to consider the many gifts and blessings that we receive in this one great gift, the Gift of Christ. Join us as we reflect on Quietness, Hope, Joy, Light, and New Life.
Passages for Meditation
- Psalm 23:4-5. Describe the contrast here. Why is the goodness of God particularly sweet in the midst of the darkness of life?
- Isaiah 7-9, but particularly 8:11-22. How does this passage point us to the need for a Messiah? What does the Messiah do?
- Sermon Text: Matthew 4:12-17. How does the arrest of John provide a context for the work of Jesus? What would the disciples be expecting as a result?
Questions for Consideration
- Christmas is a time of bright light and celebration. As a result, we are often reluctant to talk about or consider dark thinks. “Let’s not talk about that; it’s Christmas!” Yet we know the darkness is still there. Be honest with yourself; where are the dark things in your life; what is the weight that still hangs over you, despite the brightness of the season? On what are you likely to brood this season?
- What are the promises that Christmas holds out to you in light of those dark things? Where does Jesus show Himself to be the redeemer and deliverer?
Hymns for Proclamation
- #208 O Come All Ye Faithful. In some ways this is a standard “call to worship;” what makes it uniquely appropriate for Christmas?
- #219 All Praise to Thee Eternal Lord
- #225 Once in Royal David’s City
- #193 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. Christmas is a time of joy and song, but it’s also appropriate to keep silence. Why?
- Examining Ourselves. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper this Sunday evening. What sins should you confess before the Lord? What anxieties can you bring to him, who sympathizes with all our weaknesses?
- Psalm 111. What does it mean for God to “redeem” his people?
- Hymns this evening: 199 See, Amid the Winter Snow; 221 Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming; 194 O Come O Come Emmanuel.
- Sermon Text: Luke 1:57-80. What is the ground of Zechariah’s expectation and hope?