by Zach Boltjes
Liturgy For the Opening of Christmas Presents
As Christmas Day has dawned, we all, family and friends, gather once more to open the gifts that we have given to one another. We know that the wrapping paper, latest trinkets, toys, and tools are not the reason why we celebrate this day. We do not give these gifts out of a desire to get something back. We certainly do not give gifts because it is something that we have always done. For mindless tradition is a pointless endeavor.
We use Christmas gifts and the Christmas tree as simple symbols to remind us of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem. We sit now and give these gifts to one another because God the Father gave His Son as the greatest gift on Christmas day. We give these gifts to one another, wrapped in bright paper, because God the Father wrapped His best Christmas gift in swaddling clothes. We now give things that cost us because the wise men who visited Jesus as a child gave Him something costly. We give out of dutiful love towards another, for it was Christ who became a baby to die for our sins out of dutiful love towards us.
We set up the Christmas tree because, unlike other trees, it never loses its color or leaves and never fades away. In the same way Christ is life and gives eternal life. We hang lights on the tree and around our house because Christ is the light of the world that shines in our hearts and melts away the darkness of sin that once held us captive.
So now as we open these gifts, whether they be the latest gadget, a well knit sweater, or a random object that you never had any desire for, we do it out of thankfulness towards the Lord Jesus Christ for giving Himself as a gift to us. We celebrate with these simple, material gifts in our hands because Jesus became a man in a material world, and we look forward to a time when we will look upon the face and sit around the table of the baby who grew to be the God-man who died for our sins.
Liturgy for The Person Preparing The Christmas Feast
Another year of Christmas baking, cooking, recipes, oven pre-heats, and dirty mixing bowls.
As comes the anticipation of Christmas dinner, so come the anxieties. Will the turkey be dry? Will everybody get here when the food is hot? Will I be able to make food just like my mom used to make? Or will my mom be making comments about how the food isn’t like how she used to make it?
As guests and family cross the threshold of the house with expectations, they step into my expectations of what this feast should be like. Though my expectations for myself are high, it will not be my expectations, met or unmet, that will reign this Christmas. I will set my mind on the greatest host, The Lord who, as the Prophet Isaiah said, “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, even a feast of fined wines, and of fat things full of marrow, of wines fined and purified.” (Isaiah 25:6). It is the Lord who will be King at this table and not my insecurities or expectations.
So as the Lord prepares a table of fat things out of love for His people I will now prepare a table full of tasty things for those whom He has given to me. Whether it’s a recipe of my own or one I found online, I will prepare this feast with joy because The King of life became a baby so that He could one day give to me and others the greatest feast. Whether everyone can walk into a clean kitchen with carols playing in the background or dishes in the sink and flour on the counter, I will ponder the joys of the Christmas story in my heart as Mary pondered the wise men’s gifts and their worship of her son.
So now may the feast of Christmas begin. May the flavors remind us that the grace of God is full and sweet. May we feast with joy because joy has come to the world as a baby in a manger. I will herald with mirth that “Dinner is ready” because the herald angels have sung that the King is born.
Liturgy For Christmas Eve (Responsive Reading) Leader
On the Eve of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ we are reminded of the darkness that once was, before He came into the world. The Prophets had been silent for 400 years. The people of God had gone their own way. The great dragon ruled as he so desired–ruled in darkness and sin.
Lo, the night was long
Lo, has the light of God departed from earth?
Lo, the dragon rules, tears asunder, and destroys
Take courage ye people of God. For as the Apostle Paul spoke, when the fulness of time had come our great God executed His plan of redemption that had long been prophesied. Look ye saints of God, at dawn of the morrow the long night shall be over. For Immanuel is born. All the prophecies came to fruition in the arms of Mary and Joseph. The light of the World entered at night and shone as the light of life. Never again shall we fear the night.
Praise the Lord who established the right time to end the long night, Praise the Father who sent the light into the darkness
Praise the Son who was born to die for our sins
Though the terrible dragon raged, he could not devour the babe. Though the night was dark, it was lit by the host of heaven. Though there was no room for Mary and Joseph, the baby was still born. Though all hope seemed lost, every promise of God found its fullness in the baby of Bethlehem. We now thank you Father for the gift of Christmas. The long night is over. Winter’s cold is melted away. The curse no longer binds to the heart. For Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Praise the Lord, the long night is over,
Praise the Lord, Christ is born, let us celebrate Him and his birth as we wake on the morrow, Amen.