Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hanging of the Green

A Celebration of the Presence of the Lord

Compiled by: Philip Hudson

 

Introduction: (Pastor)

In ancient Israel many symbols were used in their worship service to celebrate the very presence of God. Today, in this Christmas season, in this service, we too will use symbols. Some have pagan origins that we as believers have redeemed and given new meaning. Other symbols are historical and have been adopted. All reveal God and His presence, and help us to begin this season of Advent, this time of celebration of the coming of our Savior.

Scripture Reference: (Pastor)

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,

and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 HSCB

Worship: (Randy) 

The Symbol of the Evergreen: (Brenda)

Have you ever wondered why we talk about the “hanging of the green?” Or why an evergreen is called an evergreen? And why Christmas greens are traditionally used to emphasize the nativity? Green represents renewal, new life, freshness, and rebirth. Plants such as pine, fir, holly, ivy, and mistletoe are called evergreens because they do not die; through the seasons of the year, they remain evergreen. Ever alive. It is no wonder then that we deck our auditorium and homes with evergreens. Let us place the evergreen in our Worship center to celebrate God’s gift of Everlasting Life through his son, Jesus Christ.

Scripture: (Brenda)

“Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.”

Luke 2:11 HCSB

Hanging of the Evergreen Wreaths:

Worship: (Randy)

The Symbol of the Christmas Tree: (Pastor)

The story is told that on one Christmas Eve, Martin Luther wandered outdoors and became enraptured with the beauty of the starry sky. Its brilliance and loveliness led him to reflect on the story of the glory of the first Christmas Eve as seen in Bethlehem’s radiant skies. Wishing to share with his wife and children the enchantment he felt, he cut from the forest an evergreen tree, glistening with snow, and he took it home. He placed candles to represent the glories in the heaven he had seen. The story is concluded that Martin Luther topped his tree with a star to represent the star that was seen on that Bethlehem night. So, light the tree to celebrate the glorious birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the greatest meaning of the Christmas tree is as we look past its branches, into its heart, we see another tree, maybe, the tree of Calvary where this child as a man died for our sin so we could be His very own child.

Scripture: (Pastor)

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.

1 Peter 2:24 HCSB

Turning on the Christmas Tree Lights:

Worship: (Randy)

The Symbol of the Poinsettia: (Brenda)

In the past two hundred years, a new element has found its place in our Christmas celebration. It is from the Christian practices and symbols in Mexico that we have adopted this tradition. In the very early part of the 19th century, an American who served the United States as an ambassador, spent a tour of duty in Mexico. He admired the dramatic beauty of the bright red poinsettia that grew rooftop high and bloomed profusely at Christmas. He was awed when Mexican Christians told him why the bright red poinsettias were a part of their celebration of the birth and life of Christ. In Mexico, the story goes like this: The Bethlehem star shone over the manger where Jesus was born. Its light so bright, the earth responded, reflecting that starlight, receiving that starlight, and mirroring that starlight with a beautiful flower. Star shaped, radiant shaped, pure white petals, golden star centers. In Mexican lore, it was always the Flower of the Holy Night. It grew on earth as a creation to glorify and commemorate that Holy Night “For the stars shout forth the glory of God.”

Scripture: (Brenda)

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.

Matthew 2:10 HCSB

Displaying the Poinsettias:

Worship: (Randy)

The Story of the Candy Cane: (Pastor)

One of the most popular items we see at Christmas is a candy cane. Candy canes certainly taste good, but did you know that the candy can have a special meaning to us?

There are many stories about how the candy cane came to be, but the most popular legend tells the story of a candy maker from Indiana. He wanted to make a candy that can help people remember the story of Jesus.

J is for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day. (Turn it upright) What does it remind you of? Who was the first to find out about Jesus’ birth? (After hearing their answers) The shepherds in the field watching their flocks at night were the first to hear the angels. This represents the shepherd’s crook that they used to herd sheep.

Do you see the red stripe? Red reminds us how much He loves us. Jesus shed His blood for you and me. His blood was red!

See the white stripe? The white is there because we often do bad things leaving us “dirty” inside. Christians believe when Jesus came, He took on Himself the punishment for our bad things. This leaves us “clean”, white inside. He washes our sins as white as snow.

So when you eat your candy canes this Christmas remember J is for Jesus.

Scripture: (Pastor)

She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21 HCSB

Hanging the Candy Canes on the Tree:

Worship: (Randy)

Pastor’s Closing Comments:

Closing Prayer: