here’s a song as we light the prophet’s candle and then the Bethlehem candle.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
(prophets words are fufilled)
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
(prepare your hearts because the Messiah is born in Bethlehem)
“Abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!” The God of all creation stepped aside from the glories of heaven and came to live among us. Emmanuel means God with us.
we tend to think of church as the building. when we picture the temple we think of the one Solomon built. when i envision a tabernacle i see a tent that encompassed the ark of the covenant in the desert among the Israelites. But that’s not it. the word “tabernacle” in Hebrew means residence or dwelling place. Literally the tabernacle, temple, church, is where God dwells. He walked among Adam and Eve. He visited Abraham. He led the Israelites with His presence. He spoke to the kings through prophets. And, He came to earth as a man. He dwelt among us. John told us in his gospel that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. “Where is the church? the temple? the tabernacle? for this season of the year, think of a dirty feeding trough for the animals. that’s where our Temple is. Lying in a manger. Come Lord Jesus, and abide in me, my Lord, Emmanuel.
Its time to prepare our hearts and celebrate Jesus’ birthday. The best birthday present to Him is your heart. Ask Him to be born in you today.
I have a bible in chronological order. The traditional bibles break up the old testament into History, Law, Songs and Poetry, Major prophets, Minor prophets. When I read through chronologically I was able to see how those things mingled. I followed the trek of the Israelites through Judges and kings. I found out how prophets spoke with the kings, and how the kings sang songs of rejoicing or ballads of despair. I witnessed the rise of a kingdom, the sin that split it in half, and then i wept as Jerusalem fell to her enemies. When I read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew I noticed the names were people I knew. I had met them through their words. I guess that’s the appeal of the Jesse tree to me. It follows along with the lineage of Jesus and the history of God’s people.( I better get with it though, im way behind here.)
Joseph has the coat of many colors– Jacob had 12 sons. Joseph was the son born to his favorite wife Rachel. Joseph was the favorite of his brothers, and he knew it. his was given a coat of many colors signifying the favoritism. His brothers burned with jealousy and sold him into slavery. After many years, God had elevated Joseph to a place where he was able to save his father and brothers during a severe famine. Jesus likewise was sold out by one of His disciples, and yet in the end He is the One who can save the world from sin. Joseph helped save his family, but Judah was the brother God chose for Jesus lineage to go through. Jesus is the lion of Judah. (more about that later)
Passover- Lamb– Exodus 7-12 describe the Israelites being saved or freed from their slave owners. God sent plagues to show Himself to be the one true God. The final plague was tragic. Every first born son in Egypt died under the wrath of God. But, God saved His people. He was very diligent in preparing the Israelites to cover their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. Exodus 12 says “ I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the Lord, and I will punish the gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
How amazing is it when we realize that Jesus is our passover Lamb. John the baptist “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” When God sees Jesus standing before you He sees you as righteous. His wrath passes over you because Jesus has already taken it.
*talk to your kids about all the first born sons you know of. who would fall under that plague’s judgement? now discuss what it means to have the blood of the Lamb over the doors of our hearts. to me this is a time for anointing. use oil (christian stores have labeled anointing oils, or there are aroma therapy oils, or you can use baby oil- i have found that the importance has nothing to do with the kind of oil but the symbol of anointing you use it as)
pray for your child that they will be covered with the Lamb of Christ and therefore be presented as holy and righteous before GOd. use the oil to made a small mark on their forehead, maybe in a line or in the shape of a cross. explain that this is a physical symbol of Jesus’s blood saving us. speak the following verse to them :
“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”