Advent Christmas Eve: Incarnation

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The Christmas Eve Advent liturgy should be completed on (you guessed it!) Christmas Eve.  I hope to do it with our family at midnight, but we will see if everybody is able to stay up that late!  If midnight is too late for your family, just do it right before everyone goes to bed.

Sing or listen to “O Gladsome Light”

Scripture:

Matthew 1:22-23

Luke 2:1-20

“Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”, a hymn by Emily E. S. Elliot

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus -
There is room in my heart for Thee!

 

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal decree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
 
The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
 
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn
They bore Thee to Calvary.

 

When the heavens shall ring and the angels sing
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying, “Yet there is room -
There is room at My side for thee.”
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me!

Reflection:

I have heard it said that the true miracle of Christ’s life was not His resurrection, but His incarnation.  Sound surprising?  Think about it this way: if Jesus is truly God, then we would expect Him to be able to rise from the dead.  We know that God has power over death!  But that God Himself should choose to leave His throne, leave the fellowship of the Father and the Spirit, set aside his heavenly power, and come down to earth, take on the frail flesh of man, be born as a helpless baby into a world He knew would hate Him...that is what is truly astounding about the life of Christ.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  Have you ever really stopped to think about what that means?  It is the ultimate act of selflessness.  He came to serve, not be served; to shame the proud, but give grace to the humble; to lay down His life for our sake.  His love for us is beyond our comprehension.  God has always had the victory over sin, death, and the devil.  But He came to earth so that victory would be available to us.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” -Hebrews 4:15-16

Light the fifth Advent candle, the candle of the birth of Christ.

Closing prayer:

Lord, we do not have words to express our thankfulness and our love for You.  As we celebrate your birth tomorrow, help us to remember, amidst all the excitement, gifts, and traditions, the sacrifice You made for us by leaving Your heavenly throne and coming to live among us.  May we love others as You have loved us, tomorrow and every day after.  Amen.

Benediction:

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Amen