Christmas Communion

This year has been interesting as far as our church goes. Our ministries are on pause again as our area is affected by an apparent plague. The elders gave me permission to serve communion in the parking lot during this shut down as they did during the last shut down. Because of the close proximity to Christmas, I wrote and hosted this Christmas Communion devotion. We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing and What Child Is This? as part of the devotion. So here it is for you.

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 new-born King”

Christ by highest heaven 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 as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King”

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen 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 new-born King”

Many times we put Christmas and Communion in two different categories. We put Christmas with the birth of Christ and we put Communion with the death of Christ. But as you just heard in this classic Christmas carol, the story of Christ is one story. The first verse has the line “Glory to the newborn King”, but it also has “God and sinners reconciled”. The entire reason why Christ was born was not so that we would adore this little Baby in a manger, but because God through His Son Jesus Christ would bring sinners like us into fellowship with Him. This is what it’s all about.

Think about the second verse. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” To think that all of God was dwelling in a baby, this Son of Mary, you can hardly understand it. Can you imagine looking on this little child and thinking, “It’s by His power that every single molecule in the entire universe holds together”? And here He is lying in a feeding trough for animals. Think about this line, “Pleased as man with men to dwell.” Imagine yourself in heaven with God in the perfect place. Now imagine God says, I want you to leave this perfect place and go down where people are hating, cursing, lying, killing each other. There are diseases, storms, famines, terrible heartache. How excited would you be to obey God? The Bible says that there was joy for Jesus Christ even in enduring the cross. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross,” Hebrews 12:2. Pleased as man with men to dwell. Jesus wanted to come down here and be born into this sinful world. He was pleased to come and walk among us, and even to give His life for us.

In the third verse there are these lines, “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.” He left His splendor, His all-powerful seat in heaven, just so that you and I could be welcomed into God’s presence. The entire reason why Jesus was born was so that He would die and be raised from the dead. His entire life was humble. His birth was humble, giving up His throne of glory for a manger. His life was humble, He did not live with the rich and constantly blessed the poor. His death was humble, the most humiliating thing that someone could go through. He was completely innocent, but He was treated as the worst criminal, even by His own Father. God the Father turned His back on His own Son while He was on the cross. Here we have just sung about “Glory to the newborn King!” But the entire reason why the original herald angels were proclaiming the message was because, like the angel told Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” If Jesus had not gone to the cross, we would not be singing today.

Christmas and Communion are two parts of the same story. We celebrate the Child being born, but this was for Him to take on flesh. You probably remember John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But also remember John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” It was actually the body of Jesus which was standing in the way of our fellowship with God. Remember how the veil, or the curtain of the temple was torn in two when Christ died. Hebrews 10:20 says that the veil was the flesh of Christ. Jesus Himself stood in the way, symbolizing the holiness of God. The Word became flesh and God ripped the body of Jesus apart so that sinful people could enter into His presence. Those nails pierced His flesh. And that’s why Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Before we partake, let’s bow our heads and confess our sins to God.

Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.

When the blood of Jesus was shed, it was the blood of an innocent Man. He was paying the price for our sins. He was establishing the New Covenant in His blood. The terms of the New Covenant are that those who were far off now have access to God by the blood of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:13.

Jesus said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

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 Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
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!
Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! Joy! For Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Notice the original second verse. The author tells us the reason why Jesus was lying in such a “mean estate” as the feeding trough. The silent word that was pleading was the humility that Christ would endure, not just in birth, but in death. The Word was made flesh so that He could be pierced with nails and spear. When you see a manger scene, think about the humility of Christ the King, lying in a manger. That humility followed Him all the way to the cross and to heaven, because Christ is still humble. He does not force Himself into your life, you must choose to follow Him.

Let’s close by reciting one of the early creeds found in the Bible. It seems that I Timothy 3:16 contains one of the essential confessions of the faith. Let’s recite this together and note how Christ being manifested in the flesh is one of the essential beliefs of Christianity.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

May God bless you this Christmas as we remember the birth of the Savior.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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