December 23, 2018

This is week four of Advent, and Christmas is around the corner. In Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) we celebrate the fulfilled promise of the first coming of Jesus and heighten our anticipation for the ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament promises at His second coming, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away.

Read more about Advent here and visit The Christian Year for our creative accompaniment to the season! Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday:

1. Read through our text, Matthew 1:18–25.

Jesus’ earthly parents are softly swept up into the God-narrative of so many generations. With a role to play that was by no means easy (yet marked with God’s direct communication), the two find themselves at the long-awaited dawn—the “sunrise from on high” (Luke 1:78). Jesus was here to save His people from their sins.

2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:

CALL TO WORSHIP: From Psalm 130; The Apostles’ Creed
ADVENT CANDLE FOUR

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
I believe in the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting.
Amen.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Robert J. Hughes, Charles Wesley, arr. Red Mountain Church)
Doxology (Amen) (Christmas) (Bourgeois, Ken, Owens, Wickham)

CONFESSION OF SIN: From The Worship Sourcebook

O God, in the beginning You spoke,
and creation was born, the object of Your loving care.
In the fullness of time You spoke,
and the Word became flesh, Jesus, gift of Your love.
We wonder at the miracle of creation;
we stand in awe before the mystery of the incarnation.
Forgive us earthbound creatures, feeble in faith,
empty of hope, lacking in love.
This year let the miracle and mystery of Christmas happen for us again.
We wait upon You with ready hearts, O God,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

God With Us (Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan)

ASSURANCE OF PARDON: Matthew 1:20–21

Hallelujah, What A Savior (Advent) (Bliss, Carter, Ivey, Suh arr. Austin Stone)

GREETING, SERMON, & COMMUNION
RESPONSE: Song & Prayer

Baby Son (John Mark McMillan)
Oh Holy Night (John Sullivan Dwight, Placide Cappeau)

BENEDICTION

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