Christmas Unexpected

Worship Service for December 20, 2020

WELCOME

Good morning. Welcome to CrossPointe Community Church’s online video presentation. I thank God for all of you and for the opportunity to spend these moments with you. If you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at randykmeyer@hotmail.com.

As I mentioned last Sunday, someone once said, “Tis the season to be jolly!”

Are you ready for a few more of the 40 Jolly Christmas Puns That Will Make You Fa-La-La-Laugh Out Loud; THESE FUNNY CHRISTMAS PUNS WILL SLEIGH YOU!

  1. What do you call a party for snowmen? A snowball.
  2. Why did Santa put a clock in his sleigh? He wanted to see time fly!
  3. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!
  4. Reindeer don’t go to school—they’re elf taught.
  5. What do you call an elf who runs away from Santa’s Workshop?
    A rebel without a Claus!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

I will be at the church today until 12 noon for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box that is located in the lobby. If you prefer to send your offering in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Thanks for responding to our Adopt-a-Family program. I will be at the church from 10 to noon today for you to drop items off. Thank you for your generosity.

There will be a complete Christmas Eve worship service available on our website Thursday that you can tune into anytime over the holiday.

CALL TO WORSHIP

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord our God, we join the angel choir to sing Your praises and glorify Your name for the birth of Your Son. Grant us, we ask, that as we sing these beloved Christmas carols, You would fill our hearts with joy and peace in knowing how so very much You love us. For the sake of the One who lay in a manger, amen.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS

Angels We Have Heard on High

Chadwick, James/Barnes, Edward Shippen

Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o’er the plains;
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be;
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see,
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!

See within a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heav’n and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior’s birth.

Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis, Deo!

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

O Come All Ye Faithful

Wade, John Francis/Oakeley, Frederick

O come all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of angels.

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
O sing all ye citizens
Of heaven above.
Glory to God,
All glory in the highest.

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord we greet Thee,
Born on Christmas morning;
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n.
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing.

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Let’s Worship and Adore Him

arranged by Tom Fettke

Let’s worship and adore Him,
Let’s worship and adore Him,
Let’s worship and adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

For He alone is worthy,
For He alone is worthy,
For He alone is worthy,
Christ the Lord.

We’ll give Him all the glory,
We’ll give Him all the glory,
We’ll give Him all the glory,
Christ the Lord.

Arr.©1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music and Word Music (a div. of Word Music)
CCLI License No. 1843349

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

PRAYER SONG

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Sears, Edmund H./Willis, Richard S.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old;
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold.
‘Peace on the earth good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King!’
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low;
Who toil along the climbing way,
With painful steps and slow.
Look now! For glad and golden hours,
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing.

For lo, the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old.
When with the ever circling years,
Shall come the time foretold.
When peace shall over all the earth,
Its ancient splendors fling;
And the whole world send back the song,
Which now the angels sing.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Brad Winter

Dear Heavenly Father

Thank you for this beautiful day! And the Christmas song we just enjoyed. It contains a message of hope and peace.

Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Your son Jesus was born to take on the sins of this world….He was crucified and rose again 3-day later. The biggest and best gift that anyone could ever receive is everlasting life….paid for on the cross and received by believing in you asking for forgiveness and letting you into our hearts. During this time of year, we celebrate the birth of your Son, but the ultimate celebration is knowing you and receiving your gift of everlasting life…

Lord, 2020 has been a tough year. There has been so much hate, pain, and suffering….

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;

And man, at war with man, hears not
the love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

Right now and always please help us to quiet our hearts, unite as Christians, forgive those who have wronged us, love each other, and guide us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,

Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

Lord, we know ‘Glad and golden hours’ of JOY are just a prayer away. Thank You for blessing us with peace, hope, love, and joy! Help us to become quiet and give us rest so that we can hear the angels sing.

May we all enjoy this Christmas season and be grateful for the most wonderful gift of eternal life. Please keep us safe!

In Jesus’ name…..Amen

SCRIPTURE

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary with the Angel, courtesy of www.LumoProject.com

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God.

What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped His servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Luke 1:26-56

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Christmas Unexpected

Speaking of an unexpected surprise, a Russian couple was walking down a street in St. Petersburg when the man felt a drop hit his nose. “It’s going to start raining,” he said to his wife.
“No, that felt more like snow to me,” she replied.
“No, I’m sure it was just rain,” he insisted.
Well, as these things go, they were about to have a major argument. Just then they saw a minor communist party official walking toward them.
“Let’s not fight,” he said, “here comes Comrade Rudolph, let’s ask him.
“Tell us, Comrade Rudolph, is it officially raining or snowing?”
“It’s raining, of course,” he answered and continued on.
But the wife insisted: “I’m telling you, that was snow!”
To which the man quietly replied: “Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!” 1

Everything having to do with the first Christmas came as an unexpected surprise. God’s people, the Jews, were expecting Him to come as a Warrior King who would rally together a huge army of zealous Israelites, who would descend upon the Romans in a slaughtering fury, sending the dogs who survived the onslaught back to Rome with their tails tucked between their legs!

But it didn’t happen that way.

He came as a completely defenseless, helpless, dependent, weak, naked newborn. In other words He came wrapped in vulnerability. What a surprise!

The whole thing was a surprise! God surprised everybody that first Christmas with one unexpected event after another. Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t expect to have a baby in their old age. The shepherds didn’t expect the angel’s greeting. People didn’t expect the Son of God to be born in the hick town of Bethlehem. Joseph didn’t expect his bride to be with child.

Finally, Mary, who is the focus of this message, didn’t expect to be the mother of God. Talk about unexpected of all unexpected surprises!

She was young; no doubt just a blushing adolescent.

She was probably doing what other girls her age did as they grew up; daydreaming about the man she hoped to marry. The dream began to become reality when she met a man named Joseph. That’s when things really started to get exciting as she thought about life: a wedding, a marriage, a home and at some point later, children.

A life like you and I once dreamed about.

And then the unexpected surprise; an angel who brings a life-changing message from God:

“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28) “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” (Luke 1:30, 31).

How can this be since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The equivalent to “Excuse me Gabe, but you’re out of your mind!”

Luke records she was “troubled at his saying” (Luke 1:29). You better believe it! Who ever heard of a virgin pregnant?

Can you imagine the fear that began to churn inside her? Fear of what people would think, fear of not being able to care for her child, and perhaps the most gripping fear of all, fear that her man would turn his back on her. Bye-bye life as she envisioned it.

Truly, Mary found herself in an unbelievable situation. I mean if ever something was impossible, this was it.

Indeed, “How can this be?”

How many “How can this be?” episodes have we experienced in this life?

I just lost my job, but I’ve been the model employee; how can this be?

I was hoping to retire soon, but suddenly I have these unexpected expenses; how can this be?

My teenager just ran away from home, but I did the best I could; how can this be?

Or my 30-something just moved back in, but I did the best I could; how can this be?

I just fell down and broke my leg, but I am the most careful person I know; how can this be?

I just caused an accident but I have always taken pride in being a safe driver; how can this be?

Doc, you say it’s serious, but I’ve been the picture of perfect health; how can this be?

I was looking forward to really getting to know my mom or my dad and now suddenly they are gone; how can this be?

Some folks have recently expressed that last one because our nation, check that, the whole world seems to be at the mercy of an invisible virus; how can this be?

If we’re not careful, I predict some of us will be saying on December 26, I had hoped that Christmas was going to pull me out of my despair, but it’s only made it worse; how can this be?

So we can identify with how Mary must have felt. There she was; pregnant through no fault of her own. She had an embarrassing situation imposed upon her by none other than God.

God isn’t supposed to put us in a bind. He is supposed to get us out of trouble!

BUT WAIT A MINUTE, who are we to say that Mary was in a bad situation?

After all, the first words out of Gabriel’s mouth when he greeted her were “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women!”

Christmas unexpected is coming in a remarkable way. No wonder she sings about the wonderful turn-about in her life: “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49). And goes on to say, in this famous song of praise, (Magnificat) that God “scatters the proud, brings down princes, exalts the humble, fills the hungry with good things, and sends the rich away with empty hands” (Luke 1:51-53). In other words, God is a God of unexpected surprises.

As God’s messenger, Gabriel spoke God’s message, and God’s message to Mary was essentially, “You are one terrific young lady and I have a very special purpose for your life. You are going to get to do something that will change the world something no one else on earth will ever again have the privilege of doing.”

And then, the promise that enabled Mary, indeed enables all of us to endure
even the most difficult, most desperate circumstances: “The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

Isn’t it true that the assurance of God’s presence always makes us stronger? Isn’t it true that when we can say, “the Lord is with me” confidence begins to bubble up inside of us, and even seemingly bad situations take on a higher purpose and become clothed in grace.

In Robert Brown’s autobiography, The Movement of Grace, he writes that, “the greatest things that happened to me were the things I never expected, things I didn’t plan for, things that didn’t seem like blessings at the time.” 2

To speak of grace is to say that the things most worth expecting are the unexpected surprises.

For several months, the Krainert family had been living at the Stanford Medical Center waiting for their son, Daniel to have a heart transplant, but to no avail. On December 22, 1980, their doctor entered Daniel’s room to tell him and his parents they might just as well go home for Christmas. For a moment they smiled at one another, as if this were good news, but they all knew that it wasn’t. Dan’s mom went to the phone to call her mother who was holding down the fort. “We’re bringing Dan home; let’s make this Christmas extra special.”

Daniel wished it wasn’t Christmas for he knew what they all knew. What was the point in celebrating Christmas? He thought to himself.

The view out the car window was welcome; the colors, the sounds; so different from the sterile sights and sounds of the hospital. As the trip stretched on, he tried to concentrate on his blessings; his doctor had got him into the transplant program at Stanford, and his hometown had pitched in to help raise funds his family didn’t have. But it all seemed so futile now and he felt so sad for all those who tried to help.

Then, an unexpected surprise. As his dad pulled into the driveway, grandma came running out screaming, “Go back, go back! They found a heart but they only have until 4:30pm to transplant it.”

“But it’s already 3:25 and it’s an hour and half drive back.”

“Don’t worry,” grandma said, “We’ve chartered a plane.” A State Patrol car pulled in to escort them to the Napa Airport. They pulled into the hospital ER at 4:26 pm.

Immediately, they began to prep Dan for the procedure. As they were wheeling him away, Dan’s father said, “I’d give anything to take your place son.”

On Christmas Day, Dan was awake enough to understand that everything went well. He was surrounded by family; his father read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Dan began to read from a huge stack of cards from well-wishers, but choked up as he began to read from one in particular:

“Dear Dan, even though we do not know you, my husband and I feel close to you. Our only son, Lloyd, was your donor. Knowing that you have his heart has made our loss so much easier to bear. With all of our love, Paul and Barb Chambers.”

“Suddenly I knew more clearly than ever the reason for celebrating Christmas. In dying, the Chamber’s son had given me life. In dying, God’s son had given us life, eternal life.” 3

Talk about Christmas unexpected!

I don’t know what you are facing this Christmas;

I’m not sure what is causing you to ask, “How can this be?”

But I want to say to you that if you will give yourself to God, God will give Himself to you.

I want to say to you that God has a plan for your life. And in His plan, there are all sorts of little pieces, situations, experiences, challenges, and lessons that somehow fit together to make one beautiful picture called your life.

I want to say to you that if you have yet to receive it, God wants to put the most important piece of the puzzle of your life in place. Once this piece is in place, everything else in life begins to take on a new, wonderful, and proper perspective. That most important piece of the puzzle for any life is contained in John 1:12:

But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

I want to say to you that once you have received the Christmas gift of Christ in your hearts by faith and you begin to commit your life to Him, He will begin to reveal His unexpected surprises of joy and peace to you.

Then when impossibilities line up in front of us like a firing squad, we by His grace, will be enabled to hear Him whisper as He did to Mary, “I think you are terrific and I am right here with you.”

Then when life falls apart and so does the refrigerator, when the car doesn’t start and the children won’t behave, when all you can see is a disease or a disaster or despair, you will make it through, because you know His joy and peace.

I want to say to you what the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, for God is with you.” Those were the words that brought Mary to the turning point. Her pure heart was able to believe them. Fear fled, questioning ceased and confidence bubbled up within. “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

Amen? Amen!

PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led)

CLOSING SONG

Joy to the World

Watts, Isaac/Handel, George Frederick

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ.
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace.
And makes the nations prove.
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

II Corinthians 13:11

1 http://www.ahajokes.com/redn.html

2 Robert McAfee Brown, Creative Dislocation; the Movement of Grace. [Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, © 1980]. Page 89.

3 Guideposts for the Spirit, Christmas Stories of Faith. Edited by Julie K. Hogan. [Nashville, Tennessee, Ideals Publications, a Division of Guideposts, © 2001]. Pages 21-25.

Randy K'Meyer

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