Advent and Christmas Worship

“Songs of the Savior”

“Oh Sing to the Lord. . .for he comes.. .!” (Psalm 96:1, 13)

“Advent – He comes! Prepare to meet him!”

The beginning of a new church year is a time for earnest reflection and penitent preparation for the coming of the Lord, in vivid contrast to the world’s frenzied frivolity of greed and materialism. The color is blue, the color of hope, hope that is never completely fulfilled in this life, but confidently assured by the coming of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He has come to dwell among us (John 1:14) as flesh of our flesh, deeply involved in every facet of our lives, redeeming us for new life with God. He will come at the end of time to raise us to God and to make all things right again in the “new heavens and new earth.” What else can we do but sing?

So often, the most exacting and precise response to God’s great acts of deliverance in the coming of our Lord is poetic expression. So we join in the “Songs of the Savior” this Advent season, beginning with our service of Advent Lessons and Carols on Saturday, December 9 at 5:30 p.m., continuing with the Sundays in Advent and with joy unbounded on Christmas Eve. Will you join us for the “Songs of the Savior?”

Christmas Service Schedule

The Messages of the Angels Christmas Eve Family Worship

4pm | Mission Campus

On that very special Christmas night the angels declared the glorious announcement of the birth of the promised Savior– Jesus! This was a message for which God’s people had been waiting and longing. On that special night there was no grand proclamation to the entire world. Instead, this message was delivered to lowly shepherds in the field watching over their flocks by night. Those same shepherds went immediately to see and worship this baby born for us. They were the ones who then went out and shared the message of a Savior born for all to hear.

The word “angel” means messenger and God has used his special messengers –his angels–to deliver messages throughout time to his people. Join us as we hear the Messages of the Angels on Christmas Eve that tell the story of God’s great love for us, a love so deep he sent his son Jesus to be born as a baby at Christmas. We then, like the shepherds, can go forth sharing this great message with all those who will hear. This worship features family friendly elements, traditional Christmas carols, candles, and a special children’s message, as well as a sermon.

Christmas Eve Worship with Children, Youth, and Families

4pm and 6pm | Shawnee Campus

Jesus, the Light of the World arrived on that wonderful Christmas night. The light of a special star appeared over his birth place in Bethlehem. The radiance of God’s glory surrounded the shepherds as the angel of the Lord announced his birth. Jesus came to save us from sin and darkness, and he continues to shine his light upon this world until he returns as promised. These special worship services offer family friendly elements woven within our worship, communion, and candles.

Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols

6pm | Mission Campus

This annual celebration on Christmas Eve is designed for people who are looking for a traditional Lessons and Carols service. Music will include pieces by Bach, Pachelbel, Mack Willberg, Zachary Wadsworth, carol arrangements by Sir David Willcocks and John Rutter. Music will be provided by the Trinity Choir and Festival Brass with numerous Christmas carols and hymns sung by the congregation. No sermon will be given.

Christmas Eve by Candlelight with Communion

9:30pm | Mission Campus

This traditional late evening service on Christmas Eve begins with a 20-minute prelude of choral music and congregational carols led by the Trinity Chamber Artists. Music will include pieces by Bach, Hugo Distler, Morten Lauridsen, carols arrangements by Sir David Willcocks, and meditations for classical guitar. A sermon, candles, and Holy Communion are included.

Advent 1: Nunc Dimittis

Song of Simeon

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

—Luke 2:29-32 (KJV)

From LCMS.org:

Another Lutheran contribution to the church’s liturgy is the use of the Nunc Dimittis as the post-communion canticle. At first glance it appears that we’re taking the words of Simeon completely out of context. After all, what does his experience have to do with ours?

How can Holy Communion ever compare to Simeon’s unique honor of holding the infant Jesus in his arms during the child’s first visit to the temple at the tender age of 40 days (Luke 2:25-38)?

Of course, we would love to have been in the temple and shared in the experience with Simeon. For that matter, we would give anything to have been the first — along with the shepherds — to see the infant Jesus, or to have been with the Magi as they offered their gifts to him.

But, as Luther so insightfully taught, we don’t find Christ in those places. Through the events of his incarnation, birth, crucifixion, and resurrection our Lord has accomplished our salvation.

But the benefits of his saving work — forgiveness, life, and salvation — are distributed to us through his means of grace, his Word and Sacraments. We can’t go back to stand with Simeon in the temple. The good news is that we don’t have to.

So when, following our reception of the Lord’s Supper, we sing Simeon’s ancient song of faith — “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace” — nothing could be more appropriate. Indeed, our eyes have seen his salvation. Better yet, we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8).

So, what could be better than holding the infant Jesus in our arms? How about eating and drinking his body and blood given for the forgiveness of our sins? This truly is heaven on earth, because here we have Jesus and all his benefits.

 

Advent 2: Benedictus

Song of Zechariah

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

The oath which he swore to our father Abraham,

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

—Luke 1:68-79 (KJV)

The Benedictus, also called the Song of Zechariah, is the song that Zechariah sang on the occasion of his son’s circumcision, his son being John the Baptist. Benedictus means “good word” in Latin, thus the song gets its name from the first line: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.” Zechariah was overjoyed for many reasons, including the fact that he could once again speak after being struck mute because of his doubt.

The song or canticle has two parts. The first gives thanks to God for  the realization that God is following through on his messianic hope for a savior. Zechariah knows that Mary’s son, his relative, will be the savior. The second portion is proclaiming his son John’s future role as a prophet foretelling Jesus’ ministry.

Join us in the second week of Advent as we sing joyfully along with Zechariah.

 

Advent 3: Magnificat

Song of Mary

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;

he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

 

—Luke 1:46-55 (ESV)

Imagine being visited by an angel as a young girl and told that you were expecting a child. Not only that, but that your child will be the savior of the world! The Magnificat, also called the Song of Mary, is the song that Mary sang on this very occasion. Imagine her fear and wonderment upon being chosen for one of the greatest honors that could ever be given to a human being. However, even at that tender age, the virgin Mary speaks a profound message of humility and God’s mercy. She is God’s servant who willingly accepts the responsibility.

Join us in the third week of Advent as we sing in humble awe along with Mary.

 

 

Christmas: Gloria

Song of the Angels

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;

he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

 

—Luke 1:46-55 (ESV)

Imagine being visited by an angel as a young girl and told that you were expecting a child. Not only that, but that your child will be the savior of the world! The Magnificat, also called the Song of Mary, is the song that Mary sang on this very occasion. Imagine her fear and wonderment upon being chosen for one of the greatest honors that could ever be given to a human being. However, even at that tender age, the virgin Mary speaks a profound message of humility and God’s mercy. She is God’s servant who willingly accepts the responsibility.

Join us in the third week of Advent as we sing in humble awe along with Mary.

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