DUE to the COVID-19 pandemic
WELCOME TO OUR VISITORS: Like everyone else, we are trying to avoid COVID-19 among all of us. Some of us are more vulnerable than others. We ask everyone to keep six feet from others and wear a mask so that no one becomes ill by attending worship. Some of us will be participating virtually through Zoom at home and others will be in the building. If in the future you wish to participate on Zoom at home contact Karl Marcussen and he will help you join us.
FOOD BANK REPORT: On December 7 we had our monthly food give away. This is a scheduled give away, but we have unscheduled give aways anytime we come in contact with people in need. If you have been following the news, you know that the pandemic has caused so many people to be out of work that food shortages exist all over the country. In our December 7 scheduled give away we serviced 83 people and dealt with 21 households. The food bank has restocked us on the 18th, so we still have food for people in need. God is blessing us as we serve the community, and we praise him for that and thank him for giving us this way to glorify him.
GLYNN LANGSTON REPORT: We support Glynn Langston and he sent a report to us. They are quarantined but doing OK. They had 32 blind and impaired people who obeyed the gospel in 2020. Most in India. We will post his report on the bulletin board at the building or ask John or Karl for a copy.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! We want to wish everyone a very special wish for a wonderful time with family and friends, even if it has to be by phone or a virtual visit. Be safe! Let us not start 2021 with anyone sick from COVID. If you know someone in need, let one of us know. There is a light at the end of the 2020 tunnel. Hopefully the vaccine will make it possible for us to meet again with no fear of the virus. Meanwhile stay “Outside the camp” so that like the ancient Israelites and their leprosy, our 21st century “leprosy” will just be an old memory.
INTRODUCTION — Christmas Day is this Friday.
A. Some good things happen Friday.I. SOME SONGS PREPARE FOR THE BIRTH OF JESUS.
1. Secular activity stops for most of us.B. One great thing is the seasonal music.
2. Denominations make this a celebration.
3. For most of us a good family time — Romans 14:5-13
4. No biblical command or example to celebrate.
1. Our book has many of these.
2. Some is tradition or human speculation.
a. There was no “star of Bethlehem.”3. Some songs are good — “Mary Did You Know?”
b. The shepherds never saw a star.
c. The wise men were not “Kings of orient.”
d. Some are just fun — Grandma and the reindeer.
A. Song # 489 “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”II. JOYOUS ANNOUNCEMENT SONGS
1. Three uses in Bible — Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8.B. Song # 490 — “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
2. Ahaz, Judah threatened by Syria and Samaria
1. Genesis 35:19 — Ephrath, not north Bethlehem
2. Church of the Nativity there, built by Constantine
3. Many caves and transient caves with manger.
4. Ends with reference to Emmanuel: “God with us.”
A. # 376 — “Joy to the World” — Jesus came with love.III. AS YOU LISTEN AND SING, WHAT IS YOUR REACTION?
B. # 202 — “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” — The promise!
1. “Paradise” — three uses in N.T. — Luke 23:43
a. 2 Corinthians 12:4 — Too wonderful to put into words.C. # 338 — “IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR” — Message of hope and peace.
b. Revelation 2:7 — “To him who overcomes.”
D. # 577 — “Silent Night, Holy Night”
A. # 203 — “HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR!”
B. What is your response?
THE BACK PAGE
CHRISTMAS SONGS AND THE BIBLE
We are in that time of year when Christmas songs come at us at every turn. Some of our radio stations do nothing but play Christmas songs. TV specials come at us from every direction and by almost every music celebrity. Most of the songs have a biblical base. In fact, all of the songs in our lesson this morning are very biblical in what they present.
There are some songs that are just plain biblically wrong. “We Three Kings of Orient Are” is a good example. The “wise men” of Matthew 2:1-2 came from the east according to the Bible and came to Jerusalem. They did not follow a star and did not come to Bethlehem. They came a long time after his birth and were likely to have been Zoroaster astrologers.
Many songs are just plain spoofs, but in this pandemic year they are getting more play than usual. “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” and any song about Santa falls into this category. Some new songs have a great message and are very biblical. “Mary Did You Know?” is great example of a song in this category.
In our worship today we are looking at the message of the songs in our book, all of which contain biblical truths. Even though Emmanuel only occurs three times in the entire Bible and only once in the New Testament, that word is used in many of our Christmas songs. The word literally means “God with us.” It is obvious that the writers of many of our songs had the question of whether God is helping us in their minds when they wrote the songs. With the confused political situation of America today, and the real possibility that our country could fall because of our rejection of God and his Word, this theme of wanting God to be with us is very real.
Some of our Christmas songs are very specific and some are very general. “Joy to the World” could be sung anytime during the year. “Hallelujah! What a Savior!” is a song we need to sing regularly. We need to beg God to be with us every day, and we cannot praise God enough for all he has done for us.
— John Clayton
Our sign by the street!
Sign saying from Luke 2:14.
Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.