By Not Known
This is the day for lessons and carols! The selection and arrangement is not at
random. The selected lessons take us through vital parts of the Christmas gospel
and the carols lead our heartfelt response to what we hear in Scripture.
The first lesson (Gen 3:22,24) tells us of our need for the gospel. We were created
to know and enjoy God forever in his place and under his rule. Our rejection of
God’s rule means exclusion from his place and a humanly-insurmountable barrier of
sin and guilt between us and God. How can this barrier be removed?
Isaiah 60 gives us the answer. God himself will remove the dark barrier of sin and
guilt, flooding his creation with the light of his living presence. Do you notice how
much light there is as a theme in the story of Jesus’ birth and in Christmas services
and songs? This light echoes Isaiah’s promise of gospel hope.
Our third lesson (Is 9) takes us to a specific promise of how God will remove the
barrier between him and us. There will be a son who will have a collection of
superlative titles. He will fulfil the promise to David about a king with an endless
reign. This son will have no natural beauty and will go to a tragic death which
achieves salvation for God’s people (Is 53).
At this point our service moves to several lessons from Luke’s and Matthew’s
accounts of Jesus’ birth. These lessons capture something of the wonder and
splendour of the occasion. They also tell us the model responses of angels,
shepherds and wise men. They came with joy, worship and gifts.
Our emotions may be stirred today as we hear these familiar lessons and join to
listen and sing the accompanying carols. The large crowd, the holiday season and
the fine music will give many of us an exuberant feeling.
But will our hearts be stirred? Will our lives changed?
The gospel that we see in Christmas is meant to change lives. We go back to
grinding work, fractured relationships, a sin-stained world and the weakness of our
own nature. The gospel of Jesus is meant to challenge and change the way we live
in that world. If service merely stirs emotions but leaves life unchanged, it is
Let’s use this service to good advantage. Let’s take time to reflect on our need of
the savour who came. Let’s examine whether we have entered and remained in
the light that Isaiah promised and Jesus brought. Let’s consider whether we treat
Jesus as king over our daily life, or merely give him the lip service of singing a
carol or two. Let’s not waste the lesson of this service!