Summary: Candle lighting service using poems, congregational singing, and a short sermon.
CANDLE LIGHTING SERVICE
Dec. 17, 2006
Hymn: 89 O Come, All Ye Faithful
Poem: O Come
O come and let us, to that first Christmas return
And allow the Holy Spirit to cause our hearts to burn
As we realize anew that Jesus is the reason
For the true joy and happiness of the Christmas season.
O come and let us again hear the story of God’s love
That on that first Christmas came down from above
And may we like the wise men from the east
Cause our worldly activities to cease
While we, along with them
Give our worship and adoration to Him.
O come and let us, God’s message hear
And may we not, like the shepherds, be filled with fear
So that every man, woman, girl, and boy
May go out and tell the world the reason for our joy.
O come and let us draw strength at the manger
So we can go out and tell every stranger
Of God’s great love, and their great loss
If they don’t meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.
So come and let us now go.
And go where? Do you now know?
Yes, it is to go see Him.
In that little town of Bethlehem.
Hymn: 86 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
O come and let us see in this little town
A babe that will one day wear a crown
But He is not in a ;alace today
He is in a manger lying on the hay.
Hymn: 103 Away In A Manger
Poem: The Shepherds
In the fields near Bethlehem that night
There were shepherds keeping their flocks in sight.
And the angel of the Lord appeared and gave them a fright
As God’s glory shown all around them as a great light.
The angel said, don’t be afraid, for behold
I have a message of joy that all need to be told.
For unto you a Savior is born this day.
Yes, Christ the lord has come your way.
You can search and search but how can you this precious baby find?
He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger—that’s the sign.
And suddenly there was with that angelic one
A heavenly choir praising God for what He had done.
They sang: “Glory to God in the highest,” and then
“Peace on earth, good will toward men”.
Then back into heaven the angels did go their way.
And the shepherds, one to another, did say:
“Let us now go and see this thing in Bethlehem.”
So they went to see what the Lord had made known to them.
They found Mary, Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger on the hay.
And afterward they told everyone about the child they saw that day. And all that heard the shepherd’s words did wonder.
And Mary kept these things in her heart to ponder.
May we like the shepherds of that first Christmas rejoice
As we glorify and praise God with our actions and our voice.
Hymn: 108 How Great Our Joy
Sermon: Why Shepherds
I would like for us to think a few minutes about these shepherds. Why do you suppose God choose these shepherds to be the first to visit Jesus and then begin spreading the good news?
I. They Listened
Some might say they didn’t have a choice but to listen….. But there is a big difference in hearing and listening.
They had ears to hear. They were willing to hear what God had to say. If angels had gone to the priest and Pharisees in Jerusalem with the same message I suspect they would have said: “The Messiah born in a stable? The Messiah laid in a manger? I don’t think so. Let’s wait and see.”
So many today don’t have ears to hear. Too many today won’t except that the only way to God is through the baby of the manger—Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him.
The sad part is that so often we Christians don’t really listen to Him. We need to slow down, stop, and hear Him speak to us. And when we hear—listen.
II. They Went
God told the shepherds about this good news, but He didn’t tell
them to go. But they did. They went. They had to see.
God knew they would be willing to be a part of this first
Christmas—willing to drop what they were doing, even if it meant financial loss to them, and seek out the savior. They didn’t give excuses. They didn’t wait for a more convenient time. They went. What would you have done? What do you do? What do you do when the Lord lets you know of something you need to do. Do you give excuses or look for a more convenient time?