Jesus Is . . .

A Service of Lessons and Carols

This service of lessons and carols was written to name ways to read the Jesus story through the Old Testament narrative. Originally, I had hoped to use a structure similar to that of the Jesse Tree (see RW 29), but the brevity of a single service limited me to the identities of Christ. I chose both less familiar ones (Jesus is the New Noah) and more familiar ones (Jesus is the Good Shepherd). This service had multiple readers from several generations. We used the New Living Translation of the Bible for this service because it is more easily understood and is meant for reading aloud.

Choral Introit: “People, Look East” arr. Martin Shaw



Prayer of Invocation

Faithful Jesus, we wait for you to come again.

We know that you will because you already have.

You have come to show us how to be truly human.

You have come to bring living water.

You have come to reign over the whole cosmos.

You have come to gather your people as a shepherd gathers his flock.

You have come to save us from sin and death.

Prepare us for your coming so that we may rejoice with all the saints on that day.

We pray in the name of the one who came and who is to come, Jesus Christ.

—Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

Hymn:O Promised One of IsraelThe Covenant Hymnal 124

Choral Anthem: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (with “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”) arr. John Purifoy

Jesus is the New Adam (Confession and Assurance)

Spoken Introduction: Remember this story from the book of Genesis—the beginning.

Scripture: Genesis 2:4–9, Colossians 1:15–20

Spoken Introduction: Remember these words written to the church of Colossi in the first century.

Scripture: Colossians 1:15–20

Congregational Hymn: Of the Father’s Love Begotten LUYH 78, PH 309, PsH 342, TH 162, WR 181, GtG 108, The Covenant Hymnal 174

Prayer of Confession:

Almighty God,

You who shaped out of nothing all that is,

Forgive us for returning empty-handed.

You who called forth light,

Forgive our preference for the dark.

You who sent Jesus, the firstborn of all creation,

Forgive us when we ignore him.

Re-make us in the image of your Son, Jesus Christ,

So that the light of Christ may shine in and through us.

In your Son’s name, Amen.

—from Reformed Worship 33, p. 10

Assurance of Pardon:

Through the work of Jesus, God has reconciled us to himself, and we rejoice with the angels proclaiming:

Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth. God and sinners reconciled. Jesus was born so that we no longer die, and so that we may be born again. Amen! Thanks be to God!

Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (with choral descant) LUYH 80, PH 31/32, PsH 345, TH 203, WR 185, GtG 119, The Covenant Hymnal 157

Jesus is the New Noah (Remembrance of Baptism)

Spoken Introduction: Remember this story of God’s friend Noah from the book of Genesis.

Scripture: Genesis 7:1–5

Spoken Introduction: Remember these words by the apostle Peter from the book of 1 Peter.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:18–21

Remembrance of Baptism (pouring or sprinkling water)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank you, God, for the promises we received through baptism.

Help those of us who are young in faith to go from the milk to the meat of the Word and no longer be as babies in Christ, but strong in faith, hope, and love.

Help those who are mature to continue to grow in Christ-likeness,

to be steadfast, and to be fruitful with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

—The Worship Sourcebook. C. John Weborg. adapt. Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence. Used by permission.

Hymn: Good Christian Friends, RejoiceLUYH 98, PH 28, PsH 355, TH 207, WR 198, GtG 132, The Covenant Hymnal 173

Jesus is the Davidic King (Thanksgiving for God’s Covenants)

Spoken Introduction: In 2 Samuel 7, God made this promise to King David:

Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:11–14, 16

Spoken Introduction: In Luke we read of the fulfillment of that promise.

Scripture: Luke 1:30–33

Congregational Hymn:Mary Had a BabySNC 107, SWM 98, WR 220, The Covenant Hymnal 178

Spoken Introduction: The story in Luke’s gospel continues:

Scripture: Luke 2:4–7

Prayer of Praise:

Heavenly Father, in the days of Noah, you placed a rainbow in the sky as the sign of your covenant with us and the animals, that you will never again destroy the earth with water. You keep your promises, God. We praise you.

In the days of Moses, you wrote your word on tablets of stone, a sign of the covenant with the children of Israel, to direct your people toward you, and to bless them with a flourishing society. You keep your promises, God. We praise you.

In the days of David, you promised to raise up one of his descendants to a kingship that would never end. You gave us your son, Jesus, also a son of David, who rules not as a dictator, but as a servant-king. You keep your promises, God. We praise you. Amen.

—Seekers Church, © Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike, Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence adapt. 2017

Hymn: Joy to the World!LUYH 92, PFAS 618, PH 40, PsH 337, SWM 94, TH 195, WR 179, GtG 134/266, The Covenant Hymnal 146

Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Meditation on Christ’s Care for Us)

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd.

He takes care of all my needs.

The Lord is my shepherd.

He takes care of all my needs.

The Lord watches over me. He takes care of all my needs.

He gives me a home to live in. He gives me water to drink.

He gives meaning to my life.

The Lord is my shepherd.

He takes care of all my needs.

He guides me along the right way.

Even when I’m walking by myself into a strange place,

I don’t feel scared because I know that the Lord is with me

to help me and give me courage.

The Lord is my shepherd.

He takes care of all my needs.

He gives me food to eat. I always have enough to drink.

He has blessed me with many things.

I will never be able to repay him for his kindness.

The Lord is my shepherd.

He takes care of all my needs.

—A Children’s Lectionary: Cycle A. John Behnke. © 1974, Paulist Press, Inc. Used with permission.

Spoken Introduction: Remember these words of Jesus from the gospel of John.

Scripture Reading: John 10:11–17

Silent Reflection: Jesus invites us to listen for his voice in this time of silence. Please reflect on how Jesus has cared for you.

Hymn: Angels, from the Realms of GloryLUYH 81, PH 22, PsH 354, TH 218, WR 189, GtG 143, The Covenant Hymnal 159

Choir with Children: “Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain” Carolyn Jennings

Jesus is the Savior (Praise for Jesus’s Saving Acts)

Hymn: Long Ago, Prophets KnewWR 167, The Covenant Hymnal 134

Scripture: Luke 2:25–32

Solo:Sweet Little Jesus BoyRobert MacGimsey

Choir with Children: “Gesù Bambino (The Infant Jesus)” Pietro A. Yon

Hymn:O Come, All Ye FaithfulLUYH 76, PH 41/42, PsH 340, SWM 102, TH 208, WR 182, GtG 133, The Covenant Hymnal 147


Now, Master, you are letting your servants go in peace as you promised;

For our eyes have seen the salvation that you have made ready in the sight of the nations;

A light of revelation for the Gentiles

And glory for your people Israel.

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

—The Worship Sourcebook, 9.1.36, p. 363

Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence lives with her husband and two children in the western suburbs of Chicago. She serves as the associate pastor for spiritual formation at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale, Illinois, where she preaches and leads formation and discipleship programming for children and adults. Joy holds a M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary and MCS from Regent College (Vancouver). She’s always on the lookout for new and old ways to tell God’s story as well as wild foods she can feed her family and friends. She has written for many organizations, including Christianity Today International.

Reformed Worship 125 © September 2017, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.