A Christmas Devotion of Scripture Readings and Hymns – Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th 2017
It was necessary for our salvation. The incarnation, birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Anointed One, the Christ became necessary when the first man, Adam fell into sin and took all mankind with him. (Gen. 3:17-19) “Then to Adam God said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (NASB)
So it was. (The Lutheran Hymnal #369) 1. All mankind fell in Adam’s fall, One common sin infects [us] all; From sire to son the bane descends, And over all the curse impends.
- Through all man’s powers corruption creeps And him in dreadful bondage keeps; In guilt he draws his infant breath And reaps its fruits of woe and death.
- From hearts depraved, to evil prone, Flow thoughts and deeds of sin alone; God’s image lost, the darkened soul, Nor seeks nor finds its heavenly goal.
(Gen. 3:14-15) “The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle . . . And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.’”
To Abraham and all his descendants, God pledged “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:16-18) And so the promise of the Seed passed from generation to generation to David’s line and David’s city.
(Isaiah 11:1-2) “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse [David’s Father], And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. So it was.
(#TLH 645) 1. Behold a branch is growing As of loveliest form and grace, As prophets sung, foreknowing; It springs from Jesse’s race And bears one little Flower In midst of coldest winter, At deepest midnight hour.
- Isaiah hath foretold It In words of promise sure, And Mary’ s arms enfold It, A virgin meek and pure. Through God’s eternal will This Child to her is given At midnight calm and still.
The Promise had been given time and again through the prophets of old from Moses to Malachi. God would live among His people and sin’s captives He will set free. The church from ancient days of old, have longed and sung of hope foretold . . .
(TLH #62) 1. Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
- Oh, come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny; From depths of hell Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Yet king Ahaz of Isaiah’s day refused to ask a sign from God. So that the Lord Himself may prove, God Himself the Lord be true. He gave as sign Himself as deep as Sheol, as high as heaven and so He said in Isaiah seven. (Isaiah 7:14) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Then one day the Lord did prove His faithfulness to me and you. (Luke 1:26-33) “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. . . ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you’ . . . ‘Do not be afraid, . . . And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.’”
In humble estate the Virgin sang her great confession and taught us all the greatest lesson to live by faith and humbly serve and lift our voice.
(TLH #275) 1. My soul doth magnify the Lord, My spirit shall in God rejoice; My low estate He did regard, Exalting me by gracious choice.
- Hence-forth all men shall call me blest, For great things He hath done to me. The mighty God is now my Guest; The Holy One has set me free.
- He help His servant Israel; Remembering His eternal grace, As from of old He did foretell
To Abraham and all his race.
Then came an angel to a man whose name was Joseph. Do not be afraid the angel said to take the Virgin Mother to be your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. The earthly hosts (Luke 2:4-7) “went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
So it was in Bethlehem. (TLH #109) 1. While shepherds watched their flocks by night, All seated on the ground, The angel of the Lord came down, And glory shone around. “Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread Had seized their troubled minds; “Glad tidings of great joy I bring To you and all mankind.
- “To you, in David’s town, this day, Is born of David’s line A Savior, who is Christ the Lord; And this shall be the sign: The heavenly Babe you there shall find To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swaddling-clothes And in a manger laid.
The Promise from old had come to pass and soon the question shall be asked. 1. What Child is this who, laid to rest On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing; Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
- Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christians, fear, for sinners here The silent Word is pleading.
[And to remind us why He came, the carolers sing his pain.] Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
- So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him; The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
The Son of God came to hide where only faith and love abide, where fallen reason cannot go, but where heaven above has come to earth (TLH #85) 1. “To bear good news to every home; Glad tidings of great joy I bring, Whereof I now will say and sing:
- “To you this night is born a child Of Mary, chosen virgin mild; This little child, of lowly birth, Shall be the joy of all the earth.
- “This is the Christ, our God and Lord, Who in all need shall aid afford; He will Himself your Savior be From all your sins to set you free.
- Welcome to earth, Thou noble Guest, Through whom the sinful world is blest! Thou com’st to share my misery; What thanks shall I return to Thee?
(TLH #131) 1. The star proclaims the King is here; But, Herod, why this senseless fear? He takes no realms of earth away Who gives the realms of heavenly day.
- The wiser Magi see from far And follow on His guiding star; And led by light, to light they press And by their gifts their God confess.
- Within the Jordan’s crystal flood In meekness stands the Lamb of God And, sinless, sanctifies the wave, Mankind from sin to cleanse and save.
And now the story has been told by Scripture verse and carolers’ songs, of Him who came to earth and wrought, (TLH #76) 1. A great and mighty wonder. A full and holy cure: The Virgin bears the Infant With virgin honor pure!
- The Word becomes incarnate And yet remains on high, And cherubim sing anthems To shepherds from the sky.
- Since all He comes to ransom. By all be He adored, The Infant born in Bethl’em, The Savior and the Lord. Repeat the hymn again: To God on high be glory And peace on earth to men!
Still today the Christ comes. In lowly means of Word and song. He hides Himself within the Church in water, bread, wine, and words of grace. To God on high be glory And peace on earth to men!