Advent_165

Lessons & Carols: Prologue

Andy Ott (Director of Communications & Technology)

Some Comments Before We Begin:

Our approach to the Christmas season this year has been a little different. We wanted to take time this Advent season to provide you with some additional resources to help you prepare your heart for Christmas. This year, those resources came in the form of devotional blog posts. We hope you’ve had (and have taken) the opportunity to engage those posts. (If not, you can scroll to the bottom of this post and see the list of Titles that have been published as part of our Advent 2015 series.) We hope that these posts have challenged you to slow down and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.

As we looked forward to Christmas Eve services at RADIUS Church this year, we began to look back at some more traditional variations of how to approach the service. Our staff team comes from a wide variety of church backgrounds – from completely unchurched to a more formal, liturgical background. A common theme came from our conversation – we remembered most fondly the traditional services we participated in. Our fond memories were for a variety of reasons, but most were rooted in the easily sung, traditional carols and the readily accessible, easy to understand narrative portions of God’s Redemption story. It is out of those fond memories that we decided to reach back to a very traditional format for this year’s “Traditional Christmas”: Lessons & Carols. While we took a few liberties in the number of lessons included, we wanted to stay true to the format and flow. (The traditional Lessons & Carols service includes nine lessons and nine carols. We will be covering only four with a prologue.)

As you join us over the next few days leading up to Christmas Eve, we wanted to share some devotional thoughts on the passages that we’ll be reflecting on during our Christmas Eve service. Over the following days we’ll share those readings and their corresponding carols. Take some time to read the passages, listen to the carols and prepare your heart for the Coming King.

Thanks for joining us on this journey through Advent. Our staff team has enjoyed the opportunity to slow down and reflectively enter this season – even as we continue to seek to make Jesus famous in our community.

The Lessons & Carols Christmas Eve service has its beginnings at King’s College at Cambridge. “Once In Royal David’s City” is the traditional opening hymn.

Prologue:

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

“Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”

Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this, you are cursed

    more than all animals, domestic and wild.

You will crawl on your belly,

    groveling in the dust as long as you live.

And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,

    and between your offspring and her offspring.

He will strike your head,

    and you will strike his heel.”

And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree

    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,

the ground is cursed because of you.

    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.

It will grow thorns and thistles for you,

    though you will eat of its grains.

By the sweat of your brow

    will you have food to eat

until you return to the ground

    from which you were made.

For you were made from dust,

    and to dust you will return.”

-Genesis 3:8-15; 17-19

Mike did a great job last Monday walking through this passage, so my commentary here will be brief. Two things stick out to me as we approach Christmas.

First, God is walking about in the garden – seeking Adam and Eve. God desires relationship with mankind. In this moment, we see that God is walking on the Earth – searching out His creation for relationship. He would do this again at the first Christmas – this time as fully-man / fully-God in Jesus.

Second, God has no equal and will not tolerate a rival. Of all the characters in the story, all of them, except for God Himself, are created, subordinate beings. God prescribes a curse for the serpent and then later for the man and the woman. His judgments are true and right. He alone can prescribe them and He alone can make them come about. As we read the remainder of the biblical narrative, we watch them play out. They are most pronounced though during the life of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1-13; et. al) and again at His return (Revelation 19-21). In the end, only the Author could be the Hero that was able to undo the curses because only He is capable.

As we approach Christmas and celebrate the coming of our King, take time to reflect on these truths: God desires relationship with us and He alone is worthy of our worship. He is Good, Right and True.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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