Advent 2018 - Joy

Reader 1:In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and He said it was good. He formed the tallest of mountains, with lofty grandeur, and it was good. He scooped out the depths of the oceans and filled them with creatures wondrous to behold, and it was good. He flung out the sun and stars into the heavens, set them burning in blazing majesty, and it was good. He painted the clouds into the sky and filled them with the flashes of lightning and booming of thunder, and it was good.

Reader 2:He planted the tallest tree and seeded the tiniest flower, He brought to life the mightiest of animals and set in motion the smallest of insects, and it was good. He formed mankind in His own image, knitting together every muscle and bone, forming miraculous organs like eyes and brains, starting the beating heart and sustaining every breath with His love. He gave us companionship, forming man and woman out of dust and bone, giving friendship and love to His creation.

And… It … Was … Very … Good!

Reader 1: See how beautiful are the works of God, and the goodness of all He has created!

Reader 2: God chose to reveal Himself through a family, a people whom He had chosen out of the evil that mankind had become. He promised to be their God if only they would be His people.

Reader 1:He gave them purpose and life, blessed them with children, wealth, and long life. He led them through famine, war, slavery, despair, and finally desert, staying faithful to fulfill every promise He had made. He gave them land, a home, a place flowing with milk and honey, and the promise of security and wealth if only they would follow His law. God was faithful, and His steadfast love endures forever!

Reader 2:See how wonderful are the promises of God and how glorious is His love from everlasting to everlasting!

Reader 1: Through the faithlessness and greed of His chosen people God continuously forgave, sending the message after message, warning after warning, promise after promise. 

Reader 2:The people would sin and run after other gods, but God would forgive. They would sin and seek after the lusts of the flesh, but God would forgive. They would sin and disobey His commands, but God would forgive.

Reader 1:See how awesome is the longsuffering forgiveness of God, and how faithful He is to save us from ourselves!

Reader 2:Throughout it all, God continued to promise that He would not forsake His people, but would send them salvation.

Reader 1:Salvation that was to come through one who would be born a human, fully man, suffering all of the cares and woes that we face, but would never falter. One who would be fully God, all-powerful and able to heal the sick and forgive the sinner. One who would go willingly to suffer and die in our place, but who would not stay dead. One who would rise again from death and take back His people, providing salvation and adoption to those whom He chose to be in His family. He is the Bread of Life, Son of God and Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, the King of Kings, the Lion and the Lamb, the Redeemer, the Prince of Peace, the Word, and the Mighty Victorious Risen Savior.

Reader 2:See how magnificent is Jesus our King! Hear Colossians 1: 15-20 and worship our Savior, Jesus Christ!

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] 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.