12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 12

Praise Through Song

A Chronological Reading of the Christmas Story

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14  “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29  “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30  For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32  a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

The Visit of the Magi

Matthew 2:1 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 in the east 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 Christ 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 be the shepherd of 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 make a careful search 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 in the east 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 and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 11

Praise Through Reading the Word:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:15-20

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • What are some of Jesus’ aspects that these passages magnify?
  • These passages were sung as hymns in the early Church. What are some songs that we sing that magnify Jesus similarly?
  • We often talk about peace at Christmas. How is the way that Colossians 1:20 talks about peace different from the peace that people usually talk about?
  • Ask God to set your mind to be more like Jesus’.
  • Look back at today’s Scripture passages and specifically praise Jesus for who He is.
  • Thank God for reconciling us to Him and giving us His Life.
    • Pray specifically for someone who needs to receive Christ as Savior and Lord.
    • Ask God for opportunity to share Him with them today.
  • Pray specifically for families who are struggling during this Christmas season:
    • some who are separated because of sickness
    • some who have lost loved ones
    • some who have situations only known by God

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 10

Praise Through Reading the Word:

46 And Mary said,

     “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47      and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48   for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49   for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50   And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51   He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52   he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53   he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54   He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55   as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Luke 1:46-56

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • Think about what it must have felt like for Mary.
  • Look back at Mary’s song (the Magnificat) and pray it to God yourself.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 9

Praise Through Reading the Word:

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

   He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
   By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
   And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10   Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11   Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12   Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:4-12

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • What are some things that “dismay” you in your life right now?
  • What does it mean that He was “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities”?
  • Thank God for being your Savior.
  • Look back over today’s Scripture reading, and praise God for specific things that He promised in this prophecy and fulfilled with His Life.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 8

Praise Through Reading the Word:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 1:8-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • How, specifically, is Jesus our “blessed hope”?
  • Thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit.
    • Ask Him for opportunity to “not [be] ashamed” of Him and His gospel this week.
  • Pray and ask for strength in specific situations.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 7

Praise Through Reading the Word:

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Luke 2:13-14

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Revelation 5:5-14

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • Think/talk about the songs that the angels were singing in today’s passages.
  • What songs do we sing today that are similar?
  • Look again at the angels’ songs in today’s passages and pray these to God.
  • Ask God for the opportunity to be a “herald” for Him this week.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 6

Praise Through Reading the Word:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:34-40

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • What does it mean to “love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”?
  • What does it mean to “love your neighbor as yourself”?
  • Tell God you love Him.
    • Be specific about your feelings toward Him.
  • Ask God to give you opportunity to love your neighbor this week.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 5

Praise Through Reading the Word:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
—————-
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5; 9-14

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • What does “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men” mean?
  • What does “all who did receive Him, who believed in His name” mean?
  • Talk about how special it is that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.
  • Thank God for the truth of His Word.
  • Specifically praise God for truths about Him that we see in today’s Scripture reading.
  • Thank God for the gift of Life. 

Songs for Sunday — December 20, 2020

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:10

Jesus is absolutely the reason for the Christmas season, yet He is often overlooked. People are always asking others what Christmas is all about. The answer is simple: love.

God loved the world in this way, that He gave His one and only Son – the only begotten of the Father – to die as a substitute for sinners such as us. This portion of Advent magnifies how deep the Father’s love for us is!

Here are our songs:

  • O Holy Night —
  • 1 John 3:16-18 —

16 By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

  • 1 John 4:7-12 —

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.

  • Midnight Clear (Love Song) —
  • You’re Here —
  • Galatians 4:4-5 —

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

  • Noel —
  • (inv) Make Room —

*Note*

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

If gathering in person, please remember that masks are recommended and that we need to remain vigilant in our social distancing measures. Continue to pray for those who are sick – not just our members but all those around the world.

12 Days of Christmas — Reading Guide, Day 4

Praise Through the Reading of the Word:

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10   For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12   I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13   For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Psalm 86:8-13

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:15-17

Praise Through Song:

Meditation & Prayer:

  • Why is God’s love described as “steadfast”?
  • What are some things that make our God unique?
  • Sing today’s hymn and think of three things you are thankful for.
  • Tell God why you adore Him, and thank Him for your three things above.