A Savior Made Known

A Sermon Series on the Messianic Prophecies with Poetry for Advent Candle Lighting

Our Advent sermon series last year was themed “A Savior Made Known,” exploring the many different prophecies about our Lord Jesus Christ that are fulfilled in the Christmas story as told in the gospel of Luke. For each service I created short poems written from the perspective of one receiving the prophecy. I asked high schoolers and young adults to give the readings and worked with them before the service so they would read it with rhythm and animation.

First Sunday in Advent

Text
Luke 1:26–38

Sermon Title
“Gabriel Announces”

Theme
The long-awaited Davidic King is coming. God is sending his promised Savior, “for no word from God will ever fail!”

Advent Reading
From the perspective of Israel waiting for its King.

“O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.”
We wait for you, O King of Kings,
The one of whom the prophets sing,

To rescue us from Rome’s strong hand.
Restore to us this promised land,
Usher us to the Lord’s delight,
And lead us in the way of light.

A King forever on the throne
who’ll never leave us on our own.
He will be great, called the most high,
we wait his coming to be nigh.

But who is this, a virgin child
So poor and humble, meek and mild?
A mother for our Savior, she,
not married yet, how can this be?

Help us, our God, help us to see
How this young child will the King be!
“Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to us, O Israel.”
—Kevin Kruizenga, with some phrases from the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, LUYH 61, GtG 88, SSS 73. Free to use and adapt for congregational use.

On this first Sunday in Advent we celebrate Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah. We light this first candle of Advent to recognize that the light of the world is coming.

Song Suggestion
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, LUYH 61, GtG 88, SSS 73

Second Sunday in Advent

Text
Luke 1:46–55

Sermon Title
“Mary Sings”

Theme
The kind of king that is coming in Jesus: humble and merciful, performing great deeds and taking up the cause of the oppressed.

Advent Reading
From the perspective of God’s living church as we wait for our King to return.

People are taken, trafficked, enslaved;
Unborn killed, humanity depraved;
Discord causes families to part;
Oh Lord, we ask, how did this all start?

Orphan and widow are neglected,
The homeless ignored and rejected,
Children dying, no water or bread,
Oh Lord, we pray, when will it all end?

Church in disunity, infected;
The chosen don’t do what’s expected.
We are in need of a Savior now;
Justice and love on this world to endow.

Where is this Savior promised to us?
It was Jesus Christ who bore the cross,
Who loved sinners, their scorn to endure,
Giving us hope, for Christ is the cure.

God’s Spirit empowers me and you
To be God’s light, not sit in a pew.
So go to the world and give it aid!
God works through us; for this we were made.
—Kevin Kruizenga. Free to use and adapt for congregational use.

On this second Sunday in Advent we celebrate with Mary, for our Savior comes with justice for the world. We light the first and second candles of Advent to recognize that Jesus came to free us from darkness.

Song Suggestion
“My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout” Cooney, LUYH 69, GtG 100, SSS 68

Third Sunday in Advent

Text
Luke 1:67–79

Sermon Title
“Zechariah Speaks”

Theme
Prepare the way of the Lord, who saves Israel from its enemies and fulfills God’s covenant with Abraham.

Advent Reading
From the perspective of Zechariah when he can finally share: the King is coming!

For long had I been silent, like the prophets from of old—
Not a simple utterance, no words from God unfold.
Yet upon the birth of John, did my loosened tongue employ—
The Spirit gave me back my voice and filled my heart with joy!

And then released from my mouth came words and anthems of praise,
It seemed to me that they’d go on for many, many days!
At last the Son of David was coming for all to save,
To free us from our enemies, those wanting to enslave.

My child, blessed to be the one who for Christ prepared the way,
Calling all: “Repent! Believe! Turn to God and obey!”
Baptizing those who believe and look upon our God’s face
To those who live in darkness showing the light of God’s grace.

Go to those who are afar, and to those so very near—
Tell the news to everyone, that the Lord will soon appear!
The Lord is coming, and you’ll see how all I’ve said is true,
To dwell with us, abide with us, yes, with both me and you!
—Kevin Kruizenga. Free to use and adapt for congregational use.

On this third Sunday in Advent we prepare the way of the Lord. We light the first, second, and third candles of Advent to recognize our role in sharing Christ’s light with the world.

Song Suggestion
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Robinson, LUYH 521, GtG 475, SSS 394

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Text
Luke 2:8–14

Sermon Title
“Angels Proclaim”

Theme
A Savior is born! Go and see! The coming of Christ is reason to celebrate!

Advent Reading
From the perspective of a shepherd as the angels proclaim that the King is near!

Long was the night as I sat on that hill
Watching in darkness and filled with a chill.
Young as I was, feeling very alone,
I dozed a moment, then woke with a groan,

For to my surprise, up there in the sky
A bright light was glowing, hurting my eyes.
The light spoke to me with thundering voice;
It said, “Do no fear, but rather rejoice!”

For unto us a Savior was just born;
In swaddling clothes this young king was adorned.
He is David’s son, Messiah and Lord!
Such news was impossible to ignore!

At once the world filled with music ringing
From a heavenly choir who were singing,
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace
To the whole world, from the great to the least!”

Then gone in an instant, as if a dream
Till I saw of whom the angels did sing,
For there in a manger, a baby lay—
Our Savior, God’s gift that first Christmas Day.
—Kevin Kruizenga. Free to use and adapt for congregational use.

On this fourth Sunday in Advent we fear not, for there is good news of great joy. We light the first, second, third, and fourth candles of Advent as we prepare our hearts to receive Christ.

Song Suggestion
“Angels We Have Heard on High” French, LUYH 82, GtG 113, SSS 93

Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning

Text
Luke 2:25–35

Sermon Title
“Simeon Blesses”

Theme
The light has come. Jesus is a light to the Gentiles.

Advent Reading
From the perspective of Simeon as he finally beholds the long-awaited Christ!

Thousands of years we have waited, and should I be so blessed
To see my Savior, Messiah, before in death I rest?
Led by the Spirit’s prompting, I rose, went up to that place,
The temple, where all the Lord’s people came to God for grace.

Long I stood there waiting in hope for the child to appear,
Looking all about me until I began to fear:
Had I been too slow coming, had I missed His sacred face?
For I longed to see Him there, Lord and Savior of our race.

And then at last a couple, a baby in their arms,
Appeared within the temple, made my worried spirit calm.
Leaping and bounding for joy, we met right there in that space.
I desired nothing more than to feel His warm embrace!

The couple, quite astounded, as I gasped and gave these words:
“He’s a light for the Gentiles, and the Savior of the world!”
I took the child in my arms, and praised the Lord God of grace,
For I had met my Savior—yes, I had beheld His face!

“Behold this child appointed, though a stumbling block for some,
Will be for all a Savior so to God the world might come.
And a sword will pierce your heart, for in time you’ll come to see
This child we behold today will die to save you and me.”
—Kevin Kruizenga. Free to use and adapt for congregational use.

On this Christmas morning, we rejoice because our eyes have seen the light of salvation. We light all of the candles as we celebrate that the Light has come.

Song Suggestion
“Joy to the World” Watts, LUYH 92, GtG 134, SSS 95

Kevin Kruizenga is director of music and worship arts at Overisel Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.