In our country, perhaps in the western world as a whole, preparing to celebrate the incarnation has been overshadowed by making sure that we’ve managed to buy gifts for family and friends.
Now I am not suggesting that Christians refrain from buying gifts for others. In fact, giving is an expression of those who have received. But, I am suggesting that we remember what we have received and give in response to God’s grace as a demonstration of having received His mercy.
As a child I remember that Christmas wasn’t fully realized until our whole family went to church on Christmas Eve. It has been our church family’s practice to celebrate Christmas Eve with a traditional worship service called, “Lessons and Carols.” We seek to involve our children in the service both for their worship and education. The service of “Lessons and Carols” was first used in 1918 at the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.
This 20th century worship service’s purpose is to worship God by rehearsing God’s plan of redemptive history. We read nine scripture lessons beginning in Genesis and ending with John’s gospel. As we hear from God, we respond in song with familiar Christmas carols.
Our aim is to turn our minds to God’s grace in saving His people. As God’s word is read, we are reminded that God established His plan of redemption in eternity. The Father and the Son made a covenant. The Son agreed to give His life to redeem those whom the Father chose before the world began.
If you have not thought of preparing to celebrate Christmas in this way, I would encourage you to begin. Celebrate the incarnation by attending corporate worship on each Lord’s Day, especially if your church is gathering on Christmas Eve.