Saturday, December 24th

Longing:  An Advent Devotional

Overland Park Church of the Nazarene

Advent 2016

Saturday, December 24th

 

CONNECT

As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:

 

Opening Prayer 

    Shepherd of Israel, may Jesus, Emmanuel and son of Mary, be more than just a dream in our hearts. With the apostles, prophets, and saints, save us, restore us, and lead us in the way of grace and peace, that we may bear your promise into the world. Amen.

 

Devotional Hymn:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

(#163 in Sing to the Lord)

 

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

 

 

GROW: Matthew 1:18-25

    It’s Christmas Eve. Our Advent journey is nearly complete, but it is not over until tonight. Resist the temptation to rush ahead and, instead, let your anticipation for Christmas remind you of how much you need Christ. Think of the names given for Christ in our passage today. The angel tells Joseph to call the child’s name “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew reminds us of another name given by Isaiah: “‘Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’” This is who we have been waiting for: God is coming to save us.

    In the years following Jesus’ death, Jews worked hard to root out the “heretics” who continued to preach about Jesus of Nazareth. Acts tells us that Paul—then known as Saul—gladly participated in these efforts. Jews like Saul insisted that Jesus could not be the promised Messiah they were waiting for. As we read on Tuesday, Matthew provides evidence that Christ was the fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel. This Jesus was a descendant of David born in Bethlehem. More than that though, Jesus Christ is God born as a baby for the salvation of the world. The angel’s words to Joseph in our passage do not just give hope for Israel, but for all people everywhere!

Sadly, our culture today rarely recognizes its need for hope. To many, Christmas is more about gifts and parties than about a little baby who lived, died, and was raised so that they might have hope and life. You and I are called to bear witness to that new life offered in Christ. We are to live as examples who wait upon the hope of a little baby who saved the world. May we be faithful like Mary and Joseph; may we speak truth like Matthew. May our hope always rest in Christ, our Lord, and may others see Christ’s light in us.

SERVE

    Tonight, we together proclaim Christ’s coming at our Christmas Eve service from 6:30-7:30pm. As an act of service, invite someone to join you who normally would not be going to church this evening. Invite them to join you in singing about the savior of the world, born as a baby. If you are traveling or otherwise away from Overland Park, try to find some way that you can participate in the proclamation of Christ this evening. 

— Pastor Travis Caldeira