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Glory to God in the Highest - Christmas 2019

xmas 2019

Heng Wen Xiu recounts for us the message of Christmas @ GBC with “Angels We Have Heard on High”, a Christmas carol that we sang with much enthusiasm on Christmas Day. 

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly, sweetly through the night
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brief delight
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Families and friends packed the sanctuary on Christmas morning, and Pastor Ian started the service with Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1:67-79: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” (Luke 1:68-69) Then, the song leaders led the congregation in praise and worship through songs. The children in our midst were invited onstage to demonstrate to the congregation the signing of “Gloria, in excelsis Deo”, which is the chorus of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

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Following that, the choir conducted by Esther Wong presented a beautiful rendition of Child of the Promise, echoing our earlier praises of “Glory to God in the Highest”, which is the English translation of “Gloria in excelsis Deo”.

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(In confusion)
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

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Jon Wee and Gideon Yap read for us Luke 2:1-21 in preparation for the sermon and asked, “What does God do with this broken world?” Pastor Eugene preached from the passage to answer their question. He first pointed out God’s surprising plan (Luke 2:1-7). In the first century, the reigning Caesar Augustus ordered a census that required everyone to return to his hometown. This involved moving a heavily pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It was there that Jesus was born, and it was a lowly birth – Saviour King Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

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Pastor Eugene then talked about our Saviour’s surprising birth (Luke 2:8-11). An angel appeared to shepherds nearby to bring them the good news of the birth of Christ the Lord! But why was this good news? Why did the angels praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest?”

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(Excitedly)
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

Pastor Eugene preached from the remaining passage (Luke 2:12-21). The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus, and told everyone about the angel’s message. The people were surprised! As for the shepherds, they continued to glorify and praise God for all that they had heard and seen, even when they returned. We pause here with a question for ourselves: Is our wonder temporary, or do we continue to celebrate the gospel?

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(Quietly excited – “don’t wake the baby!”)
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly, sweetly through the night
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brief delight
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

What about Mary? We see in Luke 2:19 that “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” She treasured and she pondered the good news. What about us? What is our response? Jesus our Saviour was born, and we are invited to go to Him in this broken world. Therefore, Pastor Eugene exhorted the congregation to trust this Christmas baby.

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Finally, the song leaders led us in songs to respond to the message that Pastor Eugene preached. We were reminded to come to Jesus in faith because God’s love for us is like a flood, so there is much joy brought to our broken world.

Glory to God in the highest!
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