Getting Ready for Sunday December 20th at The Crossing

Prepare

Keith Simon preaches an Advent sermon this week, taking a break from our series in the Gospel of John. The sermon is “Christmas: A Clash of Kings and Kingdoms” from Matthew 2:1–12. The Scripture reads,

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

We often make Christmas cuddly, a sentimental time with Precious Moments Nativity sets and the little Lord Jesus, “no crying he makes.” But the actual Christmas story is a clash. It’s about a king being born in a kingdom whose violent, vengeful king doesn’t want him. And that clash of kings—and their kingdoms, what they stand for and what they want—isn’t just back then. It’s real for us today. Join us on Sunday for a look at Christmas that calls us to submit to God’s king and find real life in his kingdom.

We will take communion together this Sunday. God gives us communion to feed our faith, to help us trust in Christ’s death on our behalf. That means we have to reflect on why Christ died for us. We have to look again at ourselves and recognize our sin and ask God for forgiveness. A great way to get ready for communion, therefore, is to take some time this weekend to ask God to show you if there’s any sin in your life that you’re not seeing. Ask him for forgiveness. And if there are things you need to put right, in keeping with repentance, take the time today or this weekend to do that (e.g., Matt 5:23–24).

Here’s our song list for this Sunday (with links to lyrics and music)

Infortuna Minor [listen] – Crossing Music

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed [lyrics and listen] – words by James Montgomery; music by Vito Aiuto; arranged by Crossing Music

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name [lyrics and listen] – words by Edward Perronet (v.4 by John Ripon); music by Oliver Holden; chorus by Judah Groveman

Joy to the World [lyrics; Citizens and Saints version] – words by Isaac Watts; music by Lowell Mason; additonal chorus by Zach Bolen and Brian Eichelberger

All Glory be to Christ [lyrics and listen] – Dustin Kensrue

O Come, All Ye Faithful [lyrics; Chris Tomlin version] – John Francis Wade; translated by Frederick Oakeley and William Brooke

See you on Sunday!

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