No Church, Now What?
“And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11
So you heard we aren’t gathering on Christmas day and now you are wondering what the plan is. Well, the plan is you. As parents, husbands, and wives, we invite you to lead your family to Christ on Christmas morning.
Isn’t it interesting that when the wise men show up (after their already long and distant journey) they offer Jesus gifts? How different the scene has changed in the last 2,000 years! Now, I love receiving gifts, especially the good gifts that come down from above (James 1:17) and exchanging gifts with family and friends. I have very fond and exciting memories of waking up in the morning to quickly dart to the living room to see what was under the tree that had my name on it. However, what would it look like to slow down and make much of Jesus Christmas morning? What could we offer Him? No frankincense or myrrh to be found?
Let us take our cues from the wise men and lead our families this Christmas morning to worship not the gifts under the tree, but the Son given for us.
Below is a sketch from Sojourn Church in the Heights (with some things added) of what your Christmas morning could look like as your lead your family. We encourage you to take turns reading but feel free to adjust however you feel is best.
Light all the Advent Candles
Call to Worship: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone...
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Song: Come Thou long Expected Jesus (video HERE)
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Joy to those who long to see thee, Dayspring from on high, appear; come, thou promised Rod of Jesse, of thy birth we long to hear! O’er the hills the angels singing news, glad tidings of a birth; “Go to him, your praises bringing; Christ the Lord has come to earth.”
Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end; by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend. Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.
Born Thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring. By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by Thine own sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.
Confession: Nehemiah 9:32-33
Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.
Assurance of Pardon: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Song: He Who is Mighty by Sovereign Grace (click HERE)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:20-23
Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-14
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (click HERE)
Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled” Joyful, all ye nations rise Join the triumph of the skies With the angelic host proclaim: "Christ is born in Bethlehem.” Hark! The herald angels sing, ”Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ by highest heav'n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come; Offspring of a Virgin's womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell; Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings! Mild He lays His glory by. Born that man no more may die! Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth! Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!"
Have each person in your family pray for one another. Maybe ask, “Based on the Christmas story we just read and sung about, what are some things we can pray about as a family?” or simply put, “How can we be praying for each other this Christmas morning?”
God of all grace, you who have sent your Son to be our Redeemer, to give light in our darkness, pardon for our sins, and hope in our turmoil. We thank for your Word. We have met our Savior here; we know your promises are true, and our hearts have been nourished. Send us forth to live obediently until we gather again in his name. Amen.